Made in Germany

“I was made in Germany,” Eva Cassidy used to tell her friends. It was a joke, of course, but any journey to the heart and soul of Eva Cassidy must begin in central Europe for it was there, in the Rhineland, where she was conceived and where her heart started to beat after her mother Barbara became pregnant for the third time.

  Let’s follow the Rhine upstream to the beginnings of this beautiful but tragic story. The German mountains of the Eifel, Westerwald, Hunsrück and Taunus rise majestically on both banks of the river, dotted with forests, small castles, little white churches and quaint brick houses. The great river bends sharply at St Goarshausen, where the mountains reach more than 100 metres high. This narrow part of the Rhine can be dangerous for river traffic; a barge carrying 2,400 tonnes of sulphuric acid capsized here in January 2011. The highest rock on the eastern bank is called the Loreley after the mermaid who lured fishermen to their deaths by singing the most beautiful songs they had ever heard. Can there be any better instance of the mythic power of the female voice?

Bridge houses Bad Kreuznach

Bridge houses Bad Kreuznach

 In Bingen the Rhine branches off into the much smaller Nahe river. A few miles to the west lies Bad Kreuznach, a medium sized spa town with thermal baths and a quaint town square. The main retail street, Wilhelmstrasse, ends at an old bridge across the Nahe which is lined with medieval houses. Faust, the local chemists, is named after Goethe’s famous alchemist who sold his soul to the devil. The German counterpart of blues singer and guitarist Robert Johnson was born in this town. Eva Cassidy’s grandfather and great-grandfather both had furniture workshops in the town centre. The final mile to Ledderhoserweg, the street where Eva’s grandfather Karl built the small cream-coloured house at number 11 on landfill in the thirties, is steep. His wife Wilhelmina gave birth to two daughters in this house: Eva’s mother Barbara in 1939 and Katrin in 1944.

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5 reactie(s)

  1. Name: Matthew Favorite Eva Cassidy Album All Favorite Eva Cassidy Song Time After Time Home town/city and country Minneapolis / MN / USA Sent: 5.01 PM – 2/7 I don’t even know how to go about writing this… I first heard a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that completely blew me away a year ago or so, but never heard who was performing it. I often wondered who it was until just this past Saturday when I was at a local audiophile store auditioning some Sonus Faber speakers. I didn’t have my trusty Patricia Barber CD with me so the salesman offered his choice- Time After Time… he pushed ‘play’ and the magic bloomed from the drivers as song after glorious song rolled out fronted by the most majestic voice I’ve ever heard. I sat there listening to the whole cd waving off the salesman often as he questioned if I’d like to hear a different cd. I found out who was singing at the end and drove over to my local ‘Barnes and Noble’ to see if I could purchase it. They didn’t have the cd, but they did have a few others- including the one with ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. My hair almost stood on end as I saw that song and I knew that it was she that I heard singing the song on the radio in the past. I simply feel in love with her voice and style… then I read of the tragic events of 1996. I felt like one who has just read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for the first time- the story is so good, but you wish beyond all things that you could re-write the ending. I am a musician schooled in Jazz which opens me to her genius, but most of all I have become a fan of her’s regrettably too late to say “Thank You for sharing your gift” in person. I don’t know if they have internet access in Heaven, but if they do and you are reading this Eva- “Thank you for what you have left behind”.

  2. Where is Eva’s home town, Bowie, Maryland? ANSWER: It’s a suburb of Washington, DC, a few miles east of the city. By the way, it is pronounced Bowie like the knife, to rhyme with gooey or Lewie, not Bowie like the singer David Bowie, whose name rhymes with showy or doughy or Joey. Eva was born at Washington Hospital Center in Washington DC and lived in Oxon Hill, Maryland, in her early years.

  3. I don’t know why they left this pleasant town in a wine-growing area near the Rhine River, accepting Tsar Alexander’s invitation to German settlers. Great-great-great-grandfather Philipp Jakob Schott was a tailor, so it wouldn’t seem likely a hunger for more farmland would drive him to take such a journey.

  4. I was just going through some of my old things and refound my grandfathers pictures and a few items that were given to me after he passed away. He passed away while I was young, so I never got the chance to talk to him about the war, but I do have pictures if you are interested in them. According to his DD214, or whatever it was called then, he was part of Hq. Co 324th Infantry Regiment out of Camp Gruber in Oklahoma. He was a truck driver. Just email me if you are interested in the scanned copies I have.

  5. Richard Vollo

    My wife and visited the Rhine last year. Very beautiful region of Germany.