I recently met with Drea D’Nur to chat about her upcoming concert – ‘The Spirit of Nina Simone’ – taking place on February 24, 2017 at Kleinhans Music Hall. “I’m doing a whole Nina Simone week,” says Drea. “I’ve had this vision for about two years. I’ve just been afraid to move on it.” Drea was so energized by the developments, she shared it with me before we even sat down.
The vision behind “Nina” includes original art exhibitions in coordination with the Buffalo Public Schools, and a collaboration with the Ujima Theatre for this exciting project. The entire process in under development as we speak.
Kleinhans approached her about partnering up to do a ‘Nina night’. Originally thought to be performed in the Mary Seaton Room. It turns out that Drea felt the vision was intended to happen in the main hall. When they initially met, they sat in the seats in the main hall, visualized where everything would go, and the vision took a big leap forward. The Spirit of Nina Simone was born…
The performance will feature Buffalo based talent, including percussion, horn and string sections. BAVPA high school chorus will also join, under the direction of Ms. Karen Saxon. Drea has been assembling some of the finest vocalists, musicians, and dancers that Buffalo has to offer – a roster will be announced soon. “We are not modernizing any of the original works by Nina,” Drea mentioned. She also tells me that there will be visuals, and a tribute to the late Emile Latimer (learn more). “You can’t talk about Nina Simone in Buffalo without including Emile Latimer.”
Drea was featured previously on Buffalo Rising. You can read about it here. Since we last spoke, Drea has performed around the world, including gigs in Montreal, Brussels, Antwerp, Genk, Amsterdam, Dordrecht. She has proven to have the drive to succeed in the entertainment industry, and willingness to dive in head first to make it happen. This mother of five is no stranger to nurturing her babies, and make no mistake, this is her baby. “The way it’s coming together, it’s pretty magical.”
The Spirit of Nina Simone
Kleinhans Music Hall | 3 Symphony Circle | Buffalo, NY 14201
Friday February 24, 2017
Available at Kleinhans Box Office and Doris Records