Today is my niece’s birthday. She is six years old! Sunday will be her big party bash, replete with schoolmates, games, music, singing, and probably a fattening cake.
Since Olivia’s parents – my brother and sister-in-law – are both musicians, she is being raised with a deep appreciation of music of all genres. My brother Chris especially has impeccable taste in music. He’s selective in his preferences, but for good reason.
One of Olivia’s favorite songs is “Over the Rainbow” which, on top of its immense popularity, is really a beautifully constructed song that communicates tender, optimistic sentiments. Hopeful feelings of dreams that might come true and a better world within reach. There is nothing corny or schmaltzy about that concept. If anything, we need more of it, as a bulwark against negativity and cynicism.
I am a huge fan of the late singer Eva Cassidy. For those of you who are not familiar with her, you will be now. Eva sang blues, jazz, folk, gospel, all with exquisite technique, brilliant phrasing, authenticity, and originality. And the quality of her voice is clear, sensitive, and expressive. In 1996, Eva Cassidy’s singing career was tragically cut short when she died from an aggressive form of melanoma. She was just 33 years old.
For my niece, this is Eva Cassidy’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow”. With all due respect to the great Judy Garland, this version might be the most haunting and stirring five and a half minutes of vocals I’ve ever heard.
Happy Birthday Olivia, sweetie! See you soon.
Auntie Claudie 🙂