Hendryx Lives

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  • Lady Gaga, Madonna, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae and Rihanna all owe a debut to Nona Hendryx. The groundbreaking former member of Labelle was making avant-garde music and wearing outrageous costumes before they were born. The 67-year-old isn’t letting age slow her down. She’s just released a new album “Mutatis Mutandis” and is preparing to head out to promote it. You don’t know what “Mutatis Mutandis” mean? Well, neither does anyone who isn’t fluent in Latin. It’s Latin for “Changing things that need to be changed” and on this CD, Hendryx has no problem identifying what those things are. She does a cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” the famous song about lynching, she takes on Rush Limbaugh in “Ballad of Rush Limbaugh” and the massive environmental devastation of oil spills in “Oil in the Water.”

    A member of both Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles as well as it’s funkier offshoot Labelle, Trenton, N.J. native Hendryx is a significant part of musical history. With Sarah Dash and Patti Labelle, the trio was part of the glam rock era from their outlandish space age costumes and songs like their biggest hit “Lady Marmalade” and the sultry ballad “You Turn Me On” from their classic 1974 release “Nightbirds.” Hendryx was one of the group’s main songwriters and she was the creative force behind the edgy music that they were best known for. Once Patti left to go solo, Hendryx enjoyed her own flourishing career as a solo artist, influencing scores of young female artists who weren’t interested in the typical pop or R&B diva box. She’s worked with everyone from Prince to Esperanza Spalding and has taught a course on Stage Craft at NYU.

    Hendryx will perform in support of “Mutatis Mutandis” on “The Women’s Bill of Rights Tour” this summer, which has already kicked off on the East Coast. Through Pledge Music, which helps connect artists to fans that want to support them, you can help her tour as well as buy the music. Proceeds will also benefit Little Black Pearl, an alternative school in Chicago that services young people 12-17.

    Here are the remaining dates:
    July 20 – New Haven, CT – Café Nine
    July 21 – Long Island, NY – Old Mill

    “Mutatis Mutandis” Tracklisting:
    1.     Tea Party
    2.     Temple of Heaven
    3.     Let’s Give Love a Try
    4.     Oil on the Water
    5.     Black Boys
    6.     When Love Goes To War
    7.     The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh
    8.     Black on Black
    9.     Strange Fruit
    10.   Mad as Hell, Pt. 1:
     

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