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India.Arie to Entertain College Community November 11

Authors Explore Feminism November 9

King Discusses Brunelleschi and His Dome

Learning about Leadership from the Leader's Mouth: Forum Set for November 10

Faculty Dance Performance November 8-10

Bruce Campbell: Confessions of a B-Movie Idol

Front-Page News

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Nota Bene

This Week at MHC

November 2 , 2001

India.Arie to Entertain College Community November 11

The words of self-empowerment appearing with singer/songwriter India.Arie’s photo (right) are the chorus of “Video,” the debut single by this new kid on the neo-soul block. On Sunday, November 11, at 8 pm, Arie will bring her distinctive folk/soul style to Chapin Auditorium, in a concert sponsored by President Joanne V. Creighton and The Network. A limited number of free tickets has been made available to MHC students. The concert is the second in a series celebrating the College’s construction and renovation projects, including the campus master plan and the “green” science building. Dar Williams played at Chapin in May.

Arie’s debut album, Acoustic Soul, has made fans of John Mellencamp, with whom she recorded a duet, and Stevie Wonder, who calls the performer “very gifted.” Music critics have given her a warm welcome as well. Vibe magazine calls Acoustic Soul “a remarkably funky and ambitious song-set that attempts to foster self-love, spirituality, and romance through music.” People magazine adds, “Mixing classic rock, folk and jazz elements, Arie forgoes the oversaturated, studio-enhanced production of much of today’s R&B. This stripped-down approach allows the focus to remain on her keen melodic sense, knack for storytelling, and rich, smoky alto.” Says Billboard magazine, “A mixture of emotional lyrics and beautiful sounds, Acoustic Soul—and its early acceptance at radio and video outlets—should bode well for Arie’s undeniably promising future.”

Fresh from touring with Sade, Arie is one of the headliners of the Sisters for Hop-Hop & Soul Tour, set to kick off November 8 in Philadelphia. Twelve dates have been announced so far for the tour, which also includes Mystic and DJ Jazzy Joyce. The MHC date is not part of that tour, but comes between tour stops in Washington, D.C., and Boston. Two weeks ago, she was one of several performers who helped raise a record $5.1 million for City of Hope, an organization that sponsors AIDS research and cancer care.

Arie grew up in an affluent neighborhood in Denver, the daughter of former Denver Nuggets star Ralph Simpson and clothing designer Joyce Simpson. She began playing coffeehouses in Savannah, Georgia, cofounding an Atlanta artists’ collective, Groovement/Earthseed. Soon she graduated to a stint on the Lilith Fair and a record deal with Motown. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Today Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The View, and Soul Train.

She told Vibe that the inspiration for “Video” was her family’s move from Denver to Atlanta, and her efforts to fit into that fast-paced city. “I can write about this because people used to make fun of me every day,” she says. “I wish a song like ‘Video’ had been in existence when I was twelve.”

“Songwriting has had an effect on me that I would never have predicted,” Arie says in her Motown biography. “In ‘Back to the Middle’ (a song from Acoustic Soul), the girl who was ‘afraid to speak her mind’ is me. I was in a shell. When I tapped into my own sensitivity, I started to understand people better—understand a person’s motives, see on a person’s face when they’re not feeling good, or when a person is touched. This deeper understanding of myself and others was a direct result of writing songs.”

Kedar Massenberg, president of Motown, said he signed the twenty-six-year-old artist because of the way her lyrics seek to inspire others. “Her songs give women pride and a higher purpose,” he told Vibe.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for students at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts. Tickets can be purchased at the Northampton Box Office in Thornes Marketplace, Northampton (1-800-THE-TICK), B-Side Records in Northampton (586-9556), For the Record in Amherst (256-6134), the Blanchard Campus Center information desk (538-2045), and Tix Unlimited at UMass (545-0412).

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Copyright © 2001 Mount Holyoke College. This page created by Don St. John and maintained by Jennifer Adams. Last modified on November 8, 2001.

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