The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Come Hear North Carolina have released a full concert video from Vanessa Ferguson’s recent performance at the childhood home of Nina Simone in Tryon, N.C., which can be viewed above.
The segment shows Ms. Ferguson, the Greensboro artist who gained national fame and fans as a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” performing Nina Simone’s classics in the home where Simone developed her love for the piano and which is now the subject of a major rehabilitation effort led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Nina Simone and her legacy of music and activism inspires artists to harness their voices to make the world a better place,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. “Hearing one of these artists, Vanessa Ferguson, bring Nina’s songs to life in the very place where the ‘High Priestess of Soul’ learned to play the piano was transcendent. Once restored, this historic place will continue to inspire generations of artists and activists.”
The Nina Simone childhood home, which has been vacant for decades, was scheduled for demolition when four New York City based artists purchased it in 2016. In June 2018, the National Trust declared the home a National Treasure and, with support from World Monuments Fund and key state and local partners, is now working to stabilize the home, protect it, and develop future uses for the site that honor the legacy of Nina Simone. The public is invited to participate by joining a crowdfunding campaign now underway which has drawn the support of John Legend and Issa Rae.
“Our collaboration with the National Trust takes our yearlong music celebration to a new level,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Having a talented artist like Vanessa Ferguson performing in Nina Simone’s childhood home is a perfect way to give voice to this important restoration project.”