I’ve been hearing all my life that I’m a late bloomer, and this weekend I finally accepted that fact. That’s because I was scrolling through my Roku line up and found a mesmerizing documentary about the legendary Nina Simone.

I was blown over. I had always heard of Nina Simone, but since I've never been a big fan of television I'd never seen her perform or even heard any of her music. Through that documentary, called “What Happened, Miss Simone?: How Nina Simone's Activism Defined the Civil-Rights Era, I learned about Nina’s achingly beautiful vocals, her courage of spirit, and her unrelenting loneliness in a world that just barely understands musical genius.

Anyway, I won’t attempt to tell her entire story here. I’ll just write that she was born February 21, 1933 and died April 21, 2003. Between those dates, she “earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment.” (Courtesy of

The song featured in this post is called Little Liza Jane. It was supposedly created in 1910's, but there are also accounts that it was sung by Louisiana slaves before the Civil War began. It has been recorded by a host of performers, but I must admit, after hearing Nina Simone's version, I have no desire to see what anyone else did with the song.

Here are some links to more details about Nina's life:

Nina Simone -
Nina Simone -
Ebony Magazine -

Best wishes and happy dancing,
Rita Lorraine

This video originally posted on


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