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.