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Review of Libba: The Magnificent Musical 

Life of Elizabeth Cotten

Libba: The Magnificent Musical 

Lifetime of Elizabeth Cotten
by Laura Veirs; 

illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
Major    Chronicle    48 pp.
1/18    978-1-4521-4857-1    $17.99

On this picture-book biography of 
people musician Elizabeth Cotten (1893–1987), a simple narrative describes her modest upbringing in rural North Carolina, the place “Libba” taught herself to play her brother’s right-handed guitar regardless of having no musical coaching and being herself left-handed. Regardless of: “She turned the guitar the wrong way up and performed it backwards…No person else performed that approach, nevertheless it was the best way that felt proper to Libba.” The backwards fingerpicking would grow to be her trademark, however not till a lot, a lot later, as in her teenagers “time swept Libba up, and he or she stopped taking part in guitar.” From there the e-book jumps to Cotten’s late maturity when, as a grandmother, she’s serendipitously employed as a housekeeper by the Seegers (sure, these Seegers), who would rediscover her expertise and assist Cotten deliver her music to the world. Fazlalizadeh’s 
artwork, rendered in graphite with feathery digital coloring, enhances Veirs’s unpretentious prose exquisitely, and the interaction between the 2 is seamless. Regardless of having written what would grow to be her most well-known music, “Freight Practice,” at age eleven, Cotten’s expertise was sidetracked by her circumstances — she was an African American within the segregated South, a girl, and poor — till she was in her late fifties. That’s, certainly, a “story value telling” (as Veirs, herself a people musician, places it in her appended writer’s be aware), and this biography ought to encourage younger readers beginning to pursue their very own inventive 
skills. Additionally appended with an inventory of works cited (web sites, movies, interviews, recordings, liner notes).

From the Might/June 2018 situation of The Horn E-book Journal: Particular Subject: Making a Distinction.

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