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Alberta-born songwriter Joni Mitchell led a procession of music greats past and present Wednesday at a gala ceremony for her latest lifetime achievement: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
A roster of artists including Marcus Mumford, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper and Brandi Carlile lit up the stage to pay tribute to Mitchell at DAR Constitution Hall, a historic venue down the street from the White House.
Michelle, 79, is the first Canadian and only the third woman to receive the prestigious accolade since it was established in 2007.
The stage was decorated with 12 giant paintings framed by spotlights, some of them self-portraits of Mitchell.
Mitchell sat front row in a gold beret and sunglasses, her hair in a ponytail.
Mumford kerryfrom the original 1971 album BlueA fixture on best-album lists all over the world for a long time.
“Tonight it’s all about Johnny,” Mumford said by way of introduction. “Johnny, playing in your band, playing songs at your house has been one of the great privileges of my life. I love you so much.”
Mitchell beams the lyrics with Mumford in full kerry,
re-emerging after health issues
Lennox took over both sides Nowfrom the second attempt in 1969 the clouds, Her version brought home a standing ovation. Even the musicians appreciated him.
A handler helped Michelle to her feet to join in the applause.
Angelique Kidjo, a four-time Grammy winner from the West African country of Benin, then delivered her own version. help me,
In the middle of the set came a musical highlight: Carlile, Kidjo, Lauper and Lennox teamed up with New Orleans jazz singer Ledisi and indie popster Lucious for the iconic Mitchell song. big yellow cab,
During the song, the crowd jumped to their feet and sang along, including Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the US, one of countless dignitaries and US lawmakers in the audience.
It ended with a climax: all six singers went down to serenade Mitchell in the front row, with Carlile handing over his mic to let the guest deliver the last of his signature line: “He made heaven / A parking lot built
To close the night, Mitchell was carried onstage and leaned over a piano.
Mitchell said, “It has been such a gift and so exciting to watch all these musicians perform their songs that I admire.”
“I wanted to express my gratitude by singing a Gershwin song.”
With it, she performed the Gershwin classic summerHis voice strong and pitch perfect.
It’s just the latest star turn for the resurgent singer-songwriter, who wowed fans with a surprise set with Carlile at the Newport Folk Festival last summer, her first full-length public performance in more than 20 years.
That appearance rekindled his love for playing live music, the culmination of plans for a sequel of sorts — Carlile has billed it as “Jonnie Jam 2” — two hours earlier this June from Seattle. at an outdoor location.
He also attended DC in person in December 2021 as he was publicly honored at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Michelle, who splits her time between Acres in B.C. and her home in Los Angeles, is slowly recovering from a ruptured brain aneurysm she suffered in 2015.
‘A National Treasure’
Other stars on Wednesday’s bill included two of Mitchell’s ex-boyfriends, James Taylor and Graham Nash, as well as fellow Canadian Diana Krall and famed jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.
“He’s a national treasure,” Taylor said.
Before the show, Nash was asked which was his favorite Mitchell song: “The One I’m Performing,” he said matter-of-factly. Nash will perform a case of you From Blue,
look | Joni Mitchell performing and talking on CBC’s Take 30 in 1967:
As a Gershwin Award winner, Mitchell joined a select group of renowned singer-songwriters including Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder and Carole King.
The honors are selected by the Library of Congress in consultation with past recipients as well as outside experts, with artistic merit, achievements, musical impact and impact on audiences as main criteria.
On Thursday, in keeping with a long-standing tradition, Mitchell will sit down for an hour-long conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the Library’s cavernous Great Hall inside the Thomas Jefferson Building.