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BBC Radio 2 presents 'Girl on Guitar' feature on Joni

June 13, 2014


Joni Mitchell is one of only two women to have made it onto Rolling Stone magazine's '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time'. She's received eight Grammys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award - the citation on which called her "one of the most important female recording artists of the rock era" and "a powerful influence on all artists who embrace diversity, imagination and integrity".

The programme (to be broadcast June 30) includes the music that influenced her, her love of art, and examines how she writes her songs - as well as reflecting on her eclectic and prolific back catalogue.

Joni writes lyrics that speak to the listener and in a career spanning over five decades she's produced folk, jazz and electronic influenced work which is known and loved around the world.

But it's for her guitar playing that many fans love her, and many fellow musicians look up to her. Almost every song Joni has written on the guitar uses non-standard tuning. This and her highly rhythmic strumming style creates a rich and unique guitar sound.

Originally Joni tried to teach herself how to play from a Pete Seeger songbook. She never finished the book - her left hand had been weakened by polio, and some of the fingerings were difficult. Joni didn't give up though - she started to create alternative tunings that allowed her to play each song. The programme features a demonstration of how those tunings were achieved.

Contributors include legendary folk singer Judy Collins who had hits with Joni's 'Both Sides Now' and 'Circle Game', synth-pop producer Thomas Dolby who worked with Joni in the 1980s, musician Max Bennett who worked on her earlier albums and toured with her, TV and Radio Producer Trevor Dann who profiled Joni for the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test, cultural commentator Kate Mossman and musicians Jennifer Crook and Eddi Reader.

More info here.