Sunday, October 14, 2007

Joni Mitchell Regains Muse To Make Music Again

By CHARLES J. GANS Associated Press October 14, 2007

NEW YORK - A few years ago, Joni Mitchell had rejected her musical muse, refusing to write or even play music as she devoted her life to painting, watching old movies on TV and reconnecting to the daughter she had given up for adoption in 1965.

Now, at 63, newly inspired by family, nature and anger at today's politics, Mitchell is enjoying an outburst of creativity. The iconic Canadian singer-songwriter, whose poetic verses on songs like "Both Sides, Now" have inspired countless musicians from Madonna to Wayne Shorter, has released "Shine," her first album of new songs in nearly a decade.

On Sept. 25, Mitchell returned to the public eye as Starbucks' Hear Music label played her new 10-song album in 6,500 coffee houses. Later that evening, Mitchell found herself at the Manhattan premiere of the film "The Fiddle and the Drum" (scheduled for Oct. 22 broadcast on Bravo), an anti-war ballet based on her songs that she co-created with choreographer Jean Grand-Maitre of the Alberta Ballet.

She then rushed to the gallery opening of an exhibition, titled "Green Flag Song," of her triptychs. Focused on the themes "war, torture, revolution," they were created from ghostly green-and-white negative images photographed off her dying TV set from the History Channel, CNN and Turner Classic Movies.

The next day, an ebullient Mitchell met up with jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, who shares her beliefs in Buddhism and bending music genres, for a free-flowing discussion over lunch with several writers. Hancock had just released "River: The Joni Letters," interpreting her songs through his jazz prism with the help of Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Tina Turner and Mitchell herself.


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