Mar 10 2021

Minerva Scientifica Birthday Celebration

10th March 2021Amanda Ira Aldridge
Singer  Composer  Teacher
BORN 10th March 1866 Upper Norwood London

A photo of the composer

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“Azalea” (Dark Eyed Soldier), for voice and piano is performed by Frances M Lynch. The original song “Azalea” was published in the early 1900’s under the pseudonym Montague Ring. Amanda Ira Aldridge (1866-1956) may have felt that as a black woman she would have more chance of publication as an unseen man. Indeed, she was right, Montague Ring’s music became very popular across Europe.

The words – originally by Aldridge/Ring – were altered to reflect the story of Aircraft Instrument Engineer LILIAN BADER who was one of the first black women to join the armed forces during WW2. Her “Dark Eyed Soldier” was her husband Ramsay who was one of a small contingent of black soldiers involved in the D Day Landings at Normandy.

Amanda Ira Aldridge was part of a family immersed in the arts, who experienced tragedy in her singing career, became a successful composer under her pseudonym and went on to teach some famous singers and civil rights activists like Paul Robeson, Roland Hayes and Marian Anderson. To find out more about her fascinating life and work please go to her page on the Minerva Scientifica Website 

The song “Dark Eyed Soldier” was recorded at Birnam Studios, London on May 7th 2020 as part of electric voice theatre’s Minerva Scientifica – Connections 2020 project, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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Created by electric voice theatre, Minerva Scientifica is a project that brings together professional performers with community musicians and school children. Together, we raise awareness of the rich heritage and deep connections between music and science, and inspire the next generation of future scientists.

Minerva Scientifica – Connections 2020