Celebrating Eva: A Musical Tribute to Eva Cassidy

Eva Cassidy, who gained a worldwide following after her death, is being paid tribute at Strathmore.
Eva Cassidy. Photograph courtesy of Strathmore.
Eva Cassidy. Photograph courtesy of Strathmore.

When singer Eva Cassidy died of cancer in 1996
at age 33, she was a fixture on the local music scene but little known
outside Washington—she’d released only two albums, The Other Side, a
collection of duets with go-go pioneer Chuck Brown, and
Live at Blues Alley. The posthumous compilation Songbird changed all that,
selling more than a million copies and reaching number one in the United
States and the UK. August 16 at Strathmore, a roster of mostly local
musicians present a Tribute to Eva Cassidy, which also
honors Brown, who died this year.

“Eva Cassidy is this mythic figure in Washington music
history,” says Strathmore artistic director Shelley Brown, who first saw
her performing with Chuck Brown in the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer. “She
was a small person and very unassuming, but when she took the stage it was
like a bright light. Her voice filled that room.”

The Strathmore concert features singers Trelawny Rose
and Amikaeyla, who together recently recorded a
tribute album, To Eva, With Love, as well as Strathmore
artists-in-residence Mary Alouette and Jay
Hayden.
“Eva was a bridge between different communities and
genres,” says Amikaeyla. “She’s my inspiration to stay true to the essence
of music.”

Shelley Brown hopes the concert will remind local music fans of
the wealth of talent that surrounds them: “Maybe this will make people
want to attend local performances and perhaps see another star on the
rise.”

August 16. Tickets ($25) at 301-581-5100 or strathmore.org.

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