Gil’s Hootenanny is proud to announce that our 2023 program will include a tribute to Odetta by Ottawa-based singer Ulyn Georgette.
Odetta was a classically trained vocalist and accomplished musician who revolutionized folk music by performing songs with the emotional intensity traditionally found in opera. She researched and performed prison and work songs and songs rooted in slavery from recordings she found through her research in the Library of Congress and other sources. Odetta referred to her music as “liberation songs”.
Odetta’s personal and musical background led to her work with the civil rights movement. As Odetta said “… as far as the human spirit goes, I learned through folk music.” Referred to as the Voice of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Odetta the Queen of American folk music.
According to The New Yorker, Odetta “transformed how people conceived of popular music”. Bob Dylan said that “The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta”. Her arrangements are still performed today by artists such as Rhiannon Giddens.
Ulyn Georgette was born in Trinidad and has been living in Ottawa for most of her adult life. She credits her mother for her passion for music and at age 13, she was introduced to Classical, Jazz and Opera by her adopted-by-love grandmother “Bubbi” Sondra Davis. She has participated in various performances, festivals and recording projects with Opera Lyra, Gospel Ensemble Chosen, the Jazz band, Jazz and Velvet. She currently sings with the vocal ensemble Voices of Praise, No Borders Community Voices and her own jazz ensemble Ulyn & Friends.
Ulyn has a strong love for her community. When not immersed in composing, singing and recording, you can find her planning and hosting events raising awareness about children’s mental health.
Gil’s Hootenanny will take place at 7:00 pm on May Day, Monday, May 1, at 30 Cleary Avenue, the campus of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa. Tickets to the Hootenanny are $20 each.