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VERTIKAL LIFE Magazine

Kandis Davis Plays Milan on Her Cello

Written by  Patrick A. Howell

Facebook the virtual world that brings countries millions of miles away to your fingertips.  I have met many friends and family and I love becoming a part of their lives and seeing how we have so much in common. My friend Kandis lives in Milan Italy, and we have something in common, Itlay!  I was pretty impressed when she told me she played the cello,  I knew she was a cellist and only recently, was I able to see and hear her play. Let me give you a few facts then I am going to let you enjoy this article by Patrick A. Howell.  She is the first African-American cellist to ever perform with the world-renowned Orchestra of Milan, La Verdi. In performing with La Verdi, she was honored to perform in the first opera Woody Allen ever directed, the famed "Gianni Schicchi" by Giacomo Puccini. An amazing person with an amazing spirit. - Celeste Duckworth 

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Sometimes when I think of a lady, I get the image of Lena Horn's Gilda the Good Witch in the Wiz, an angelic majesty of pure goodness sitting upon her cosmic throne amongst the constellations, her children, spreading the light to all who seek illumination. She is just so sweet. So so sweet.But you know what really blows my mind? There are so many of these ladies doing incredible work in the universe- and if our children, our bright stars, knew... know.... they would know that they can truly do anything they set their minds to. Anything. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow. Period


For sure they would know about the supernova Ms. Kandis Davis who is a professional cellist, chic and cosmopolitan, residing in France and playing at Olympic stadiums, fashion weeks in Milan and global venues in France, Germany and Switzerland - all since the age of 15! The Detroit native studied music at Detroit Country Day, Blue Lake Fine Arts and Interlochen growing up and was, also, an All-American track and field athlete. She completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Canterbury University, The Civic School of Music in Milan, and the Magaloff Academia.


Kandis fondly recalls, "I was 15 years old at the time and turned 16 while on tour in these marvelous European countries from France to Germany to Switzerland and beyond. We, as an orchestra, were hosted by European families of musicians who studied at the counterpart European music institutions, and some families spoke very little English. So many times, my host families and I would "speak" through the music we all knew and after dinner, we would sit around and play pieces of music, (like Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn), that we all knew and this was how we "communicated".

 

African Americans have a proud history of innovation, creating nearly every musical tradition in America – Rock and Roll, Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul and Hip Hop. American history is also rich with the accomplishments of classical artists as Kandis. In 2002, Tage Larsen became the first African-American musician in the history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Then there is pianist Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins (1849-1908) who traveled throughout North America, performing works of Bach, Beethoven, and his own compositions.

Kandis, a classic violon-cellist (as they say in France) continues, "That's when I discovered that music is a language of its own which has no need for words, as it transcends vocabulary and languages spoken by speaking to the soul of each individual listener. That experience in Europe transformed my life as I'd always been told by my parents that "the world is my oyster", but when I saw my music speaking to people to whom I could not, I understood more deeply what they meant."

Kandis' accomplishments are noteworthy, having won titles of Principal Cellist for the International Festival of Orvieto, Italy and in the Symphonic Orchestra of Pavia, Italy. She has sat on the board of directors of the Benvenuto Club of Milan and was awarded Soloist of the Year by the Civic School of Music of Milan for her virtuoso cello repertoire.

Kandis continues, reminiscing eloquently about her childhood and continuing the tradition with a new generation of geniuses "No electronic devices, no toys, no television or phone calls. Just me and my music. This not only helped me to learn discipline and task setting/accomplishing, but it offered me an environment of intense concentration, which I learned early on in life. Knowing how to sit still, concentrate and quietly accomplish a task is a skill that's not only good for kids. It is a skill that helps any adult, as well."     

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Yes, American history is rich with the great accomplishments and good works of classicists as Ms. Kandis Davis. There is French horn player Julius Watkins, opera singer Kathleen Battle, Winston Marcellous (yes, the New Orleans trumpeter of the renowned Jazz family), violinist Regina Carter (another Detroit native), or Sugar Hill pianist Roy Eaton. Our World history, beginning with the 18th Century Afro-Brazilian and Afro-French composers, is even richer with composers, pianists, violinists and opera singers as Guadeloupe-born and Paris-based, Chevalier De Saint-George (1739-1799), dubbed the "Black Mozart".

A rich history deserves to be applauded and celebrated year round. Kandis' accomplishments have won her opportunities to perform on television and be celebrated in leading European magazines. Just this past November Kandis performed with her cello with Picasso Strings and David Guetta and Sam Martin for the grand finale of the X Factor Italia, broadcast live to a national audience in the UK.

"My cello's name is Mischia and that's the name every cello I've ever played on has had since I was 7 years old. Talk about having "an imaginary friend", lol! Mine was made of wood and actually spoke to me and others when I followed my teacher's instructions!"  Yes, all kinds of sweet goodness and greatness. Goodness, gracious. Why don't we, instead of celebrating black history month in February 2015, begin celebrating our rich history 24/7 NOW? The rest of the world already is.  Click Picture to hear Kandis Perform; 

  

   

Patrick A. Howell is a proud MBB contributor. He has also co-coined the idea "Global I AAM" as representative of the Global International African Arts Movement, the one that comes after Hip Hop which came after the Harlem Renaissance which came before the Black Arts Movement. Check him out on, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest or Tweet him at @PatrickAnthony.

 

Author Patrick A. Howell -  Originally printed http://mybrownbaby.com/  Date January 27th, 2015

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Tagged under Cellist    Kandis Davis    Orchestra of Milan    La Verdi    Patrick A Howell    Gianni Schicchi   
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