Rachel Libeskind’s practice is wholly interdisciplinary—a 2017 project, The Day The Father Died, included a live element in which a performer splashed ink on a wall of portraits of Joseph Stalin, all to violin accompaniment. (Her next solo show opens at the end of September at 14a in Hamburg, Germany.) So it’s little surprise that her studio playlist is rather eclectic.
“I had a hard time choosing a single album,” she admitted, noting that other contenders included MF Doom’s Operation: Doomsday; Odetta’s Odetta Sings Dylan; and Mozart’s Requiem. But Simone’s To Love Somebody “makes me dance, cry, laugh, focus—sometimes all at once,” she said. “It makes me think.”
Libeskind is especially fond of the cover versions on the album, with Simone lending her voice to songs by the Byrds, Bob Dylan, the Bee Gees, and others. But Simone’s original contributions are just as strong. “This album encapsulates the power of the female voice, the power of the feminine, and the mystique of her narrative quality of music,” Libeskind added. “The lyrics to every single song are powerful calls to action and are deeply political. It is truly an inspiring collection that, as a whole, will lift you up: not full of empty air, but authentic energy.”