Friends and fans bade farewell to Nina Simone, the “high priestess of soul,” in the southern French town of Carry-le-Rouet on Friday at a funeral haunted by her mournful version of Jacques Brel’s “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (Don’t Leave Me).
A civil rights activist as well as jazz diva, Simone died Monday at her home there. She was 70.
South African singer Miriam Makeba, a longtime friend and fellow activist, was among the hundreds who packed the local Catholic church. “This was not just an artist but a fighter for freedom,” she said of Simone.
Simone’s only child, Lisa Celeste Stroud, currently starring on Broadway in the Disney production of “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida” under her stage name Simone, led the mourners and sang a short gospel song in her mother’s honor.