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Elizabeth Cotten (1893-1987)

Born 5 January 1893
Carrboro, North Carolina
Died 29 June, 1987
Syracuse, New York
Nationality American
Genres Folk/Blues

Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten was an American blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter.

A self-taught left-handed guitarist, Cotten developed her own original style. She played a guitar strung for a right-handed player, but played it upside down, as she was left-handed.  This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. Her signature alternating bass style has become known as “Cotten picking.”

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“She was a maid at 9, wrote a hit song at 11 — and won a Grammy at 93”
by Nina Renata Aron

North Carolina Highway Marker for Elizabeth Cotten