Joni Mitchell still 'struggling' to walk following 2015 brain aneurysm


A 1996 filepic of Joni Mitchell as she holds two Grammy Awards at 38th Annual Grammy Awards. She is still struggling to walk as she works to recover after a 2015 brain aneurysm that left her temporarily unable to speak. Photo: AFP

Folk legend Joni Mitchell is still struggling to walk as she works to recover after a 2015 brain aneurysm that left her temporarily unable to speak.

In a rare interview the 76-year-old, revered as one of the top songwriters of her generation, told The Guardian her rehabilitation is "inching along."

"I haven't been writing recently," Mitchell said in the interview conducted by film director Cameron Crowe. "I haven't been playing my guitar or the piano or anything."

"No, I'm just concentrating on getting my health back."

She likened recovery to her childhood battle with polio: "You know what? I came back from polio, so here I am again, and struggling back."

"I couldn't walk. I had to learn how again. I couldn't talk. Polio didn't grab me like that, but the aneurysm took away a lot more, really," she continued. "Took away my speech and my ability to walk. And, you know, I got my speech back quickly, but the walking I'm still struggling with."

"But I mean, I'm a fighter. I've got Irish blood!"

In the 2015 the Canadian-born artiste with a distinctive contralto and open-tuned guitar – whose hits include Big Yellow Taxi, Both Sides, Now and A Case of You – was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital.

A member of the Woodstock generation – even though she did not attend the 1969 festival herself, despite penning its definitive anthem Woodstock – Mitchell has been active in political causes including environmentalism and the Native American rights movement.

The influential artiste who inspired everyone from Neil Diamond to Prince is perhaps best known for her intensely personal 1971 album Blue, a deep dive into her emotional heartache. – AFP

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