Rabun / Simone

Yolanda Rabun stands at an even five feet tall, but you wouldn’t know it by the size of her voice—rich and resonant in its low alto, with a full & bold high belt, a voice as complex and compelling as the story that shapes it.

“Multi-hyphenate” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her bio begins: “Wife, mother, award-winning corporate lawyer, motivational speaker, accomplished music entrepreneur, professional AEA actor, and acclaimed recording-performing artist.” And she truly excels at each, not unlike business woman, classical pianist, civil rights activist, and legendary singer Nina Simone.

“As I began to learn more about Nina’s life in the business, in the civil rights movement, during her exile,” says Yolanda, “I became even more intrigued at her journey and how similar encounters render lessons learned that I can apply to my own life or how things gone unsaid can give me insight to placing a higher value on my artistry and life decisions.”

Originally from Atlanta, Yolanda movie Wake County in 1994, where she’s worked as a corporate counsel for the likes of IBM. Nearly immediately, she took to the various Triangle stages, where she has become a beloved regular—including PlayMakers, where she previously took the stage in Violet.

Since 2012 she’s been working with nearly legendary Triangle playwright Howard L. Craft on a one-woman piece about Nina Simone for UNC’s Stone Center. “It was a blast of a time!” she says, “Now we have teamed up again with an updated script and wisely expanded concept we’re calling No Fear & Blues Long Gone.”

But she hasn’t ignored the High Priestess of Soul since then. The project has lived in her own soul, she says, throughout those seven years. In fact, two of the three albums she’s recorded since have included Nina’s music. Add to that a Nina Simone tribute concert with the Durham Symphony Orchestra in 2016 and last year’s performance on the porch of Nina’s childhood home to celebrate its new national treasure status, and you can see why Yolanda is the perfect person to take up Nina’s mantle.

Don’t miss No Fear & Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone this month. LIMTED RUN OF ONLY 7 PERFORMANCES! Get your tickets today!