I have been very impressed with NPR 50 Great Voices series. I understand the point of this series. It’s not about “greatest” (whatever that means), but a means to introduce listeners to respected singers who they may not otherwise know.
I was happily astonished that Yossele Rosenblatt made the cut. I was thrilled to see Amalia Rodrigues and Elis Regina there too. There are a a bunch of singers that I never heard but want to get recordings of such as this week’s entry Chavela Vargas. But I do have one complaint. If the purpose is to introduce people to new singers, there should be a certain fame threshold. Ella Fitzgerald is one of the greatest singers ever, but I think she is too famous for this series. As is next week’s entry Billie Holiday (oops, did I spoil it for people? I knew who it was just from listening to the hint on today’s episode. Didn’t even need to hear the voice.) These two women are cornerstones of American song and two of the greatest vocal talents ever. No one could sing a song like Ella and no one could emote like Billie.
Dear NPR, please make this a regular feature. And please use less well known singers. It’s the discovery that makes this series worthwhile.