Sun. Sep. 26, 2021

Nina Simone vs Lulu Rouge – Black Is The Colour

Lost but not least! Nina Simone vs Lulu Rouge – Black Is The Colour (unreleased)

This so particular remix version of ‘Black Is The Colour’ finds its beginning at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in 2010. Back then, Tom von Rosen and Torsten Bo Jacobsen aka Lulu Rouge got commissioned to play a mix of Electronic Music with Jazz classics of the great Nina Simone. This is one of their mixes which they played live during that memorable Summer evening. And what a rework they did acting like so to say archeologists. Meanwhile bringing this treasure from the past under a fascinating new light.

‘Black Is the Colour (Of My True Love’s Hair)’ is a traditional folk song which was first known in the Appalachian Mountains region of the United States about 1915. However, it may have originally come from Scotland (* Wikipedia). Nina Simone sung it first back in 1959 as a part of her ‘Nina Simone At Town Hall’ live album. And from then on, it would become a part of her standard repertoire, therefore contributing a lot to revitalize its popularity.

Hard not to find some parental link with Grace Jones‘Slave To The Rhythm’ when listening to the first notes of this rework. But also its fluidity, although flirting with Electro/Dub pulsations, therefore giving it a fascinating lazy flow.

Here we have the meeting between the extremes at its very best…

– They most likely have a French sounding name although they hail from Denmark. Lulu Rouge came to light back in 2007. From the reunion between Tom von Rosen (DJ T.O.M.) and Torsten Bo Jacobsen (DJ Buda). Two guys who made themselves quite a reputation in the club and Electronica scene.
T.O.M. has been Trentemøller‘s permanent sidekick for several years. And he’s also the man behind ArtRebels Rec., which is a part of ArtRebels network with a focus on design, art and music. As for Buda, he’s been collaborating with various artists. From Télépopmusik to Phil Mison and Bliss to name a few.

The twosome elaborated a unique sound which fuses Electro, Techno and Dub influences with the gritty melancholy of the Scandinavian Winter. Meanwhile the bass is so deep and heavy that it eventually makes the ground rumblin’. Sounding at times like midway between Trevor Horn and Moritz Von Oswald.

Therefore, no wonder how nor why they came to deliver remixes for countless artists. Beginning with Trentemøller. But also Groove Armada, Moby and Bomb The Bass. Not to mention the infectious GusGus’ ‘Within You’ which they reshaped back in 2011. Or Nina Simone‘s classic ‘Black Is The Colour’ which they specially reworked for the Copenhagen Jazz Festival the year before.

Lulu Rouge have released two albums to date. With ‘Bless You’ back in 2008 featuring its memorable title cut. Then ‘The Song Is In The Dream’ with guest singers such as Asbjørn, Alice Carrerri and Fanny Osk in 2013. Meanwhile they did production work for artists such as Blank & Jones or Fagger Fairys among others.

– So many things have been said about Nina Simone since the release of her first recordings by the end of the 50’s. And yet, feels like the story is still far from being over. As each song of her remains the subject of some new discovery from a listen to another.

Mind you, the lady has managed to turn everything she would sing into pure gold. Exploring the countless facets of (Black) Music. From Blues to Jazz, and Soul. And she has obviously inspired others reputedly miles away from her own spectrum. Just the way she would find some inspiration in the repertoire of artists hailing from other horizons. From Belgian singer Jacques Brel, bringing his 1959 classic ‘Ne me quitte pas’ to new horizons 6 years after, as a part of her ‘I Put A Spell On You’ album. To French Pop-Dsco star Claude François when delivering an incredible rendition of ‘My Way’. Itself adapted from his classic ‘Comme d’habitude’.

From then on, she would unsurpringly generate the same effect. Meanwhile takin on where Randy Newman left with her cover version of ‘Baltimore’. Eventually turnin’ it into a Reggae/Soul gem. And the list goes on with extra classics such as ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ or ‘I Put A Spell On You’.

Influenced by others, Nina Simone also became a source of inspiration for countless faces in the music industry. And this, way beyond her own scope, regardless its incredible width. With the remixes of her songs eventually leadin’ to way diferent results. Such as ‘Black Is The Colour’ which Abicah Soul reworked back in 2008. Meanwhile Danish producers Lulu Rouge would introduce their own rendition of it 2 years later at the Copenhaguen Jazz Festival. Then what about ‘See Line Woman’ which appeared on Ibadan Records, credited to The Songstress. This with remix by the likes of label head Jerome Sydenham and Kerri Chandler. Then its rework by Louie Vega and Kenny Dope 4 years after on Verve?

And how not to think of ‘Feelin’ Good’ and its syncopated remix by the likes of Todd Terry on one hand? And on the other, its smooth jazzy Quiet Storm feel, as retouched by Joe Claussell. These considerations being just a little snippet of Nina Simone‘s legacy. With her extensive bio to be found on Wikipedia.

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the late 80’s, Nina relocated near Aix-en-Provence in southern France in 1993. Suffering from breast cancer for several years, she sadly died in her sleep at her home on Apr. 21, 2003.

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