OVER THE RAINBOW · 6/3/2009

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OVER THE RAINBOW

When I was a little girl, my favorite movie was 'The Wizard Of Oz'. It remains one of my all time favorite movies, even into my adulthood. It is a rather enchanting movie that has delighted people of all ages for decades and will probably continue to do so.

While viewing this movie, we too journey with Dorothy in the land of Oz to a magical place somewhere over the rainbow, way up high…where the sky is blue and where troubles melt like lemon drops. A place where we are introduced to colorful characters who charm our hearts and where dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

However, this writing is not about the movie, but rather about a songbird named Eva Cassidy who takes her listening audience to somewhere over the rainbow just by the sound of her enchanting voice, the voice of an angel. A songbird who became internationally known and an European sensation by singing her rendition of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow.'

I accidentally found Eva Cassidy the other day on myspace when I was doing a search for the song 'Songbird' by Fleetwood Mac. By just the sound of her vocals, she stole my heart away. She sang one of Fleetwood's signature songs better than Stevie Nicks. I just had to know who this singer was, so I researched her. Much to my astonishment and surprise, she died of skin cancer in 1996 at the young age of 33. When she passed away, as a singing artist, she died virtually unknown outside of Washington DC area.

Four years after her death, Cassidy's music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her version of "Over the Rainbow" was played by a dj on a BBC radio station. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of "Over the Rainbow", taken at the Blues Alley, was shown on BBC Two's Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom led to increased recognition worldwide; as of 2008 her posthumously released recordings, including three UK #1s, have sold around eight million copies. Her music has also charted top 10 positions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.

When I read that she died as an unknown artist, who didn't become known anywhere until four after her death, my first thought was, “how can this be?!” Why oh why oh why?! I ponder to myself if we would have ever known or heard her beautiful voice if the Brits and the Europeans didn't embrace our native songbird.

Thank you Eva for leaving us with your beautiful music, for transporting us to somewhere over the rainbow just by listening to the sound of your hauntingly enchanting voice.

There is a lesson in all of this my dear friends. Please support and continue to support the arts and musicians. Their talent and music is the vehicle that transports or teleports us all to somewhere over the rainbow…way up high…where the sky is blue and where troubles melt like lemon drops. Where oh where would our world be without their gift and talents? They color our world and our lives with joy, peace, and happiness.

With gratitude and love,
Vivian

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