Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone

Idag skulle pappa ha fyllt åttio år. Därför känns det extra bra just idag att ha gått på en föreställning som inspirerats av en av hans favoritartister: Nina Simone. Det känns också bra att det var en lyckad föreställning.

Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone är en enmansföreställning (plus mycket kompetent musikertrio) där Josette Bushell-Mingo berättar historier från Simones liv uppblandade med egna reflektioner och tankar från sitt eget liv. Det blir en hel del funderingar om det egentligen har hänt något med de svartas villkor de senaste 50 åren, om revolutionen som Simone sjöng om 1969 har blivit av, eller om det, som själva ordets betydelse, har gått runt ett varv och är tillbaka där det började. Skotten i Alabama 1963 och de 16 skott som polisen i Chicago avlossade 2014 kopplas exempelvis samman.

Första halvan av föreställningen är mest en lång, politisk, och rätt obehaglig monolog som är lätt uppblandad med musik, medan den andra halvan är mer av en hyllningskonsert med mellanprat. Det blir sammantaget en mäktig föreställning där det tunga budskapet blandas med ljuv musik och, inte minst, Bushell-Mingos mäktiga röst. Nu känner jag mig inspirerad till att göra musik, och redo att förändra världen. Det sistnämnda måste ju göras.

Föreställningen kom till Kiruna genom Riksteatern.

Global dancefloor

Interrailing is a great experience.
In the summer of 1996, me and a friend were exploring the central areas of Europe by railway. After a minor misunderstanding of the time-tables, and the location of the coach station, we found ourselves stuck in Brno in Moravia (Czech Republic) for a day. Our guide-book exclaimed extend your stay and delve deeper, so that is what we had to do in Brno. In the centre of the city we found a poster that advertised a strange party containing a global dancefloor. These two concepts inspired the creation of two interesting songs.
A strange party sounds like a party that you enjoy when arriving, but after some time you notice that something about the party is slightly off and you start feeling bad about it. I made a song trying to mimic that experience, but it ended up too horrible to be put on the internet.
A global dancefloor is a dance floor encompassing the whole planet, in contrast to the normal, local, variety. You cannot leave and wherever you go, the people around you continue to dance whether they like the music or not. This tune expresses an example of how I believe the non-local dance music should sound.


I have enjoyed folk music for a very long time but there have been some issues that have bothered me.
Since folk music often is defined as traditional music, I could never understand how it was ever possible to compose new folk songs since there is a time element needed inorder to develop a tradition. There also seems to be a requirement that a performer has to identify himself/herself with a certain folk, or to be identified as part of the relevant group of people, but I was never sure how to decide which group I should belong to, or if I would be allowed to play music from other traditions if I start in one.
I really wanted to create folk music, but the buit-in restrictions mentioned above for this kind of music forced me to define that the folk it was connected to would be just me. Furthermore, I had to play my song repeatedly every time I got access to a musical instrument so that it would become a tradition, at least in some sense. It took a year or so until I felt that I could claim my song to be a folk song.
Only after this long process, I squeezed the song into my Amiga and compressed it to become the little tune presented here.

One dodgy hospital

In the middle of the 1990s music sampling was done everywhere, even in my student room.
Since I, for some reason, had become a bit obsessed with the notion of ‘heavy riffs’, I borrowed a sampler from a friend and connected it to my Amiga and to my stereo in order to fetch a riff from which I could make a loop. Logically, the riff to loop should be a riff by the band Loop that I had on CD, from the song Arc-lite to be precise.
It was more difficult than I had expected to use the available tools to work with the sample so that it could actually be used. In addition I realised that looping a riff from a riff-based song would essentially mean copying the song, which was not what I originally intended. Thus, I had to depart from the idea of perpetual looping. Since I was rather exhausted from the work on the first and only sample, I simply added some standard sounds to the mix, and turned my ambitious riff-based song into a simple standard nonsense tune.
This is still my only attempt in sampling and looping.

Spiken i plattan

One of the limitations when making musik on the Amiga was that there were only four channels with which to work. In order to fill out the sound, a dirty trick I thought of was to make sure that each sound sample was so short that the next could follow immediately without cutting off anything from the previous sound. This song was a test if that would work in practice.


How much of the original song has to be retained when making a cover version?
When I made this tune in the mid 1990s, most of the Amiga-based covers were either horribly bland or simply horrible (including my own attempts). Hence I got the idea that a cover would be better as long as the elements from the original song were kept at an absolute minimum. Following this line of thought I started from four bars of “Somewhere over the rainbow” and composed this happy little song, which I believe proved my point.