Connecting the past and present through music

Black History Month

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – John Eze Uzodinma loves to perform. Recently, he performed at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. He’s been playing the violin since he was a young boy.

“I just remember I was infatuated with the sound of it because i love to sing. So, the violin to me is the closet instrument to the human voice,” explained Uzodinma.

The piece he played is all about the human voice. “Lift up Your Voice and Sing” was written at a pivotal time. Jim Crow was replacing slavery and African Americans were searching for an identity.

“So when I play that piece I try to think about the, conjure up those emotions that the different Civil Rights leaders must have felt,” said Uzodinma. “I feel like they paved the way for me to get a chance to perform as a musician and they really laid the foundation for me to get a chance to study music.”

He played the piece in front of a quilt that was made by the late Gwen Magee. The quilt is titled “Our New Day Begun.” Uzodinma said it was a highlight of his career.

“I’m so honored. I’m truly humbled by the experience, and I’ve never imagined that I would get to perform next to the quilt that is so beautiful and conveys the message of the song itself.”

The 100-year-old song is about the past, but also about the hope for the future. And the future is wide open for Uzodinma.

“I want to play in Carnegie Hall, I want to play in London, I want to play in Paris. So, I’m crossing my fingers and hopefully I’ll get there one day.”

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