Cultural Percussionist

Joni Mitchell Day

Roberta Joan Mitchell, CC (née Anderson; born November 7, 1943), professionally known as Joni Mitchell, is a Canadian singer-songwriter.Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell’s songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy. She has received many accolades, including nine Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone called her “one of the greatest songwriters ever”, and AllMusic has stated, “When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century”.

Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and throughout western Canada, before busking in the streets and nightclubs of Toronto, Ontario. In 1965, she moved to the United States and began touring. Some of her original songs (“Urge for Going”, “Chelsea Morning“, “Both Sides, Now“, “The Circle Game”) were covered by other folk singers, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her debut album in 1968. Settling in Southern California, Mitchell, with popular songs like “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Woodstock“, helped define an era and a generation. Her 1971 album Blue is often cited as one of the best albums of all time; it was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stones list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“, the highest entry by a female artist. In 2000, The New York Times chose Blue as one of the 25 albums that represented “turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music”. In 2017, NPR ranked Blue Number 1 on a list of Greatest Albums Made By Women.

Mitchell’s fifth album, For the Roses, was released in 1972. She then switched labels and began exploring more jazz-influenced melodic ideas, by way of lush pop textures, on 1974’s Court and Spark, which featured the radio hits “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris and became her best-selling album.

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