What's on Human Mind?

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  • Topic: Joni Mitchell, New Democratic Party, Both Sides Now
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Joni Mitchell

Submitted to:

Dr. Remedios Biavati

Submitted by:

Jacqueline T. Sangalang

2P4

LIT101A

Joni Mitchell

Born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943 is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter.

Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter ("Urge for Going", "Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides Now", "Woodstock") and then as a singer in her own right. Finally settling in Southern California, Mitchell played a key part in the folk rock movement then sweeping the musical landscape. Blue, her starkly personal 1971 album, is regarded as one of the strongest and most influential records of the time. Mitchell also had pop hits such as "Big Yellow Taxi", "Free Man in Paris", and "Help Me", the last two from 1974's best-selling Court and Spark.

Mitchell's soprano vocals, distinctive harmonic guitar style, and piano arrangements all grew more complex through the 1970s as she was deeply influenced by jazz, melding it with pop, folk and rock on experimental albums like 1976's Hejira. She worked closely with jazz greats including Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, and on a 1979 record released after his death, Charles Mingus. From the 1980s on, Mitchell reduced her recording and touring schedule but turned again toward pop, making greater use of synthesizers and direct political protest in her lyrics, which often tackled social and environmental themes alongside romantic and emotional ones.

Mitchell's work is highly respected both by critics and fellow musicians. Rolling Stone magazine called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever," while All music said, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century." By the end of the century, Mitchell had a profound influence on artists in genres ranging from R&B to alternative rock to jazz. Mitchell is also a visual artist. She made the artwork for each of her albums, and in 2000 described herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance." A blunt critic of the music industry, Mitchell had stopped recording over the last several years, focusing more attention on painting, but in 2007 she released Shine, her first album of new songs in nine years.

Cultural Background

Western Canada

Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada generally including all parts of Canada west of the province of Ontario. The West is considered by many to be a cultural region with an identity separate from that of the rest of Canada. The special cultural, political and economic characteristics of "the West" are, however, not universally agreed upon, nor are its geographical limits and stereotypes of the West mask the cultural, physical and historical differences within this vast and varied region.

In Canadian politics, the term "the West" is used misleadingly in Canadian media style guides as shorthand for the Conservative leanings of Western Canadians, as contrasted with the greater likelihood for candidates from either the Liberal Party of Canada or the New Democratic Party (NDP) to be elected in Central Canada (although the NDP's roots are in Saskatchewan and British Columbia). Exceptions exist, particularly in British Columbia, as well as in the prairie cities of Winnipeg and Regina, where the Liberal Party currently hold seats, as well as in other major urban centers such as Edmonton where Liberal and NDP candidates have been elected in recent history. The social democratic NDP had its origins on the Canadian Prairies and in the mining and pulp mill towns and railway camps of British Columbia, and has a history of support in...
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