The Pace Report

Season 2011 Episode 07.13.11

The Pace Report: "Lifiting Every Voice and Still Swinging" The Rene Marie Interview

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If I were to describe vocalist Rene Marie, it would be she’s a constant work in the making. Her latest disc “Voice of My Beautiful Country” reflects both her depth and interpretation of music she performs. Also, how she doesn't like to be categorized in a box musically. She eloquently performs music ranging from Dave Brubeck’s “Strange Meadow Lark” to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” to The Temptation’s “Just My Imagination.” In what would be her seventh recording project, and her first on the Motema Record label, Rene was bold and courageous to record a suite that would be hailed as both controversial and artistically innovative. The “Voice of My Beautiful Country Suite” is her rendition and take on four major American anthems and reworked to a new and modern form of American music. Rene performs “American the Beautiful,” “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and closes with “American The Beautiful.” She’s performed the suite for well over three years but recorded it late in 2010. Being a person of color, Rene has always questioned the lyrics to country’s national anthem “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Her being raised in during Jim Crow and segregated Virginia, she took James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” very serious. So, during the suite, Rene performs it while the band plays the instrumental of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The Denver, Colorado resident performed this version for the Mayor’s “City to City Address” and was criticized by many members of city council and other fellow Denver residents. To this day she continues to perform it this way and defends her actions for doing so. “Justice and equality haven’t been served well to people of color here in the United States. James Weldon Johnson’s poemmoreless

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