Audrey Chan sings “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free,” by Nina Simone

Audrey Chan sings “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free,” by Nina Simone

  • Source: Audrey Chan
  • Year: 2011
  • Submitted by: Elana Mann


Audrey Chan performs Nina Simone’s 1967 recording of “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free” for Elana Mann’s 323 projects exhibition entitled “For more than one voice” (2011). The song was a gospel song written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas, and Simone recorded her version of it in the 1960s in relation to the civil rights movement occurring at that time in the United States. The song explores the trials of being a person whom does not have the agency to fully express oneself by paying with the grammar of empowerment; the difference between “can,” “could,” and “should” are explored thoroughly in the song. Chan comments that the song is timeless in an unfortunate way: the human condition is one that is perpetually struggling for freedom and the destruction of oppression.

Resonate-Reverberate-Roar (Re-Re-Roar) is a growing archive of original sounds that express an experimental, independent, and socially progressive spirit.  The sounds on Re-Re-Roar include field recordings, interviews, songs, speeches, experimental music, and more. Re-Re-Roar is a site for activ[ist] listening, with the purpose of distributing sounds of resistance to eager ears around the globe. Visitors are encouraged to add their own sounds of resistance to the archive through the website's submit function.

Re-Re-Roar originated from artist Elana Mann’s collection of sounds of resistance, which she began during the Iraq war in 2007 by recording commuters in Los Angeles and Iraq. The website was incubated during Mann's time as the 2013 Amy M. Sears artist-in-resident at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, amongst a group of peace activists from the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet & Consociates. Re-Re-Roar was designed by Roman Jaster and Nicole Jaffe, with production assistance from Reilo Dahl. For more about Elana Mann visit: