Laura Nyro and a moving coincidence

IMG_1527sketch by keith fitton

I was listening to Laura Nyro the other evening thinking about how late I had come to this blessed singer/songwriter. Possessing the most sonorous and powerful soulful voice, raised in the Bronx, hailed by many of the songwriters of our generation including Bob Dylan, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Rickie Lee Jones and Todd Rungren, she broke the mould of traditional songcraft and created a world where the artist could run free. Her beautiful  arrangements harked back to the world of harmony groups and do-wop bands she listened to as a kid hanging out and singing on street corners for dimes. Her songs have been recorded by the great and the good, yet she remains relatively unknown. And there is something about her that I didn’t know until very recently. She died of ovarian cancer in 1997 at the age of 49, from the same disease, and at exactly the same age as her mother. And herein lies the coincidence, joining lines with my own family history. My beautiful sister, Valerie died from ovarian cancer at the age of 49 in the very same year as Laura, 1997. But that’s not all. My beautiful mother, Mavis also died of ovarian cancer, also at the age of 49. The BRCA1 gene mutation affects my family – and no doubt, Laura’s too. Its all a little too much.

Her music somehow now means even more to me.

Check out this lovely and moving short home movie from 1995, shot before she knew.


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Left with the use of my left arm/hand only, after a serious motor cycle accident in 2005, I am learning to adapt to life with a brachial plexus injury and have developed a style of playing guitar using open tunings. I love drawing, painting and generally messing around in a fairly loose fashion. Can't describe myself as an artist, but perhaps a doodler with intent.

One thought on “Laura Nyro and a moving coincidence”

  1. So sorry to hear about your Mom, and Sister. I lost a Sister, and a Niece to cancer(not ovarian, but the resulting Heartbreak is the same)
    I discovered Laura Nyro a few years ago. I grew up on the covers of her songs that were played on the radio, but I never knew how truly AMAZING those songs really are, until I heard Laura herself sing them. I became an instant Super Fan of her’s, and when I read about her, and her Mom, I just broke down, and cried like a Baby for hours. I Love Laura, I listen to her every day, and I always light a special Candle for her on October 18th, and April 8th.

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