Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson

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easier for children to grasp languages faster. They did a brilliant job. They directed themselves. They found their own harmony. It was a great experience for me.

EBONY: You recorded a lot of this music in New Orleans, where you gigged early in your career, honing your craft. Why is New Orleans so important? How did the Crescent City help create Cassandra Wilson? 

CW: New Orleans has a very distinctive culture. It’s very unique in the United States. There’s a very great deal of African retention there. When you go there, you get the sense that you’re in another country. And people also say the same thing about Mississippi. They both have strong African retentions that connect directly to the Gold Coast, Yorubaland, and Iboland. There so many rituals and idiosyncrasies that easily recognized as African retentions. That’s why people who are interested in the music and the birth of the music come to Mississippi and New Orleans, because that’s where the music was born.

EBONY: This all ties back into the concept of the CD on many levels: You found yourself in another country, learning to live without your mother. You traveled another country - Italy, and immersed yourself in that ancient, Mediterranean culture. And your artistry was nurtured in New Orleans; another country that is African and American.

CW: Yeah [Laughs]. That was beautifully said. Send that to me!