February 2, 2013: Eva Cassidy’s 50th birthday

“She represents all that is good in this world.” This quotation – that Eva added to the bottom of her portrait of Bernice, Chris Biondo’s dog – summarises Eva Cassidy’s own life precisely. Eva loved animals because unlike people they never let her down. In her relationships with others she was always cautious, wary of unpleasantness. The pain of her unhappy adolescence pursued her until her dying day.

But Eva Cassidy found a way of coping with the troubled waters that flowed around her life. From misery she created beautiful things. Art became a way not only of neutralising Eva’s melancholy but it brightened up her existence to the point that she was able to sing “I think to myself, what a wonderful world” and really mean it. At the end of her life she was able to look back on her flawed relationship with her father and forgive him because she knew that Hugh was a victim of his own isolated upbringing.

Eva’s singing brings both hope and comfort. Her music gives listeners the strength to resign themselves to mortality, at least temporarily. The first time Eva experienced this transition was while watching Judy Garland in her dusty Kansas farmyard singing ‘Over The Rainbow’. Years later Eva gave millions of others the same thing, the chance to experience this song imbued with even greater emotional depth.

Art was what made Eva’s life shine. She had no interest in material things. Sixteen years after her death Eva would more than likely feel completely out of place in our mass media technological age: money, power, fame, image – all these were of no importance to Eva. It was almost as if she knew that her life on earth would be short and that it was pointless to surround herself with worldly treasures. She felt humble, like mere stardust.

Bruce Lundvall of Blue Note deeply regretted that he hadn’t signed her to his label, but it was Eva who refused to be pigeonholed. Fame was a terrifying prospect and success at the expense of artistic freedom was anathema to her psyche. Eva shut the door on the vast sums of money that the star who saved Blue Note, Norah Jones, would earn in her place. Eva reached for higher goals, with an innate sense that longing for something was more important than getting it.

(Eva Cassidy February 2 1963 – November 2 1996)

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8 reactie(s)

  1. Welcome to the Eva Cassidy Web Site, a resource for those seeking information about the late singer Eva Cassidy. Beautiful Eva died in 1996, from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Her music was little-known during her 33 years of life, but today her soul-stirring voice is reaching people all over the world.

  2. Eva was admitted to Johns Hopkins hospital. A constant stream of friends kept coming, bringing her fruit and flowers. She felt badly that these were going to waste, so she asked someone to bring in paper and crayons. Often she could not see her visitors because of the regimen she had, so this way she helped her visitors to express themselves to her. When one stepped off the elevator and saw the hallways lined with people sitting on the floor colouring, talking and getting to know each other; it was a wonderful scene to behold. Eva had every picture hung on the big wall at the end of her bed so she could see them.

  3. Until now, except for newspaper articles and websites like this, little has been written about Eva’s life. But now, for the first time, Eva’s story is told by her parents, family and friends.

  4. Until now, except for newspaper articles and websites like this, little has been written about Eva’s life. But now, for the first time, Eva’s story is told by her parents, family and friends.

  5. Welcome to the Eva Cassidy Web Site, a resource for those seeking information about the late singer Eva Cassidy. Beautiful Eva died in 1996, from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Her music was little-known during her 33 years of life, but today her soul-stirring voice is reaching people all over the world.

    • johan

      Thank you Allan!

  6. While doing a genealogy show, “Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” (2010), with Henry Louis Gates , she discovered that she is related to cellist Yo-Yo Ma . It turned out that Eva is 7% Asian and shares a common ancestor with Ma in the last 250 years.

    • johan

      How interesting! I didn´t know that.