To mark the release of ‘Nina’, the high profile new Hollywood film, BBC Music sends British soul singer Laura Mvula to New York to explore the musical roots of the legendary American singer in ‘Nina Simone and Me’. Previously broadcast on BBC Four, this is an extended version of the programme exclusively for iPlayer.
The programme follows Laura as she traces the story of Simone’s musical career. From her classical music beginnings, through to her extraordinary rise and notoriety as the ‘High Priestess of Soul’, Laura discovers the story behind one the legendary figures in jazz, blues and soul music. The film explores Nina’s commitment to the cause of black civil rights, and the impact of two of her most powerful songs, ‘Mississippi Goddam’ and ‘Young, Gifted & Black’.
Laura’s journey takes her to Greenwich Village, where she meets Nina’s long-time guitarist, friend and musical director, Al Shackman, and meets soul singer and activist Camille Yarbrough who talks about how she was inspired by Nina and discusses Four Women – Laura’s favourite Nina composition.
As well as featuring Laura performing some of Nina’s songs, such as ‘Little Girl Blue’, ‘Sinnerman’ and ‘Feeling Good’, the film features rare and original 1960s archive footage of some of Simone’s finest recorded performances.