PaviElle French reflects on her new symphony, “A Requiem for Zula”, which honors her mother, Zula Young, as well as Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood where she grew up.
“My mother created home by giving me a life surrounded by love, education, music and community. And, so much more.
Albeit, the home where my mother lived, where she cultivated us, where her gardens were, now is a home to another family. The neighborhood is changing and is being gentrified and, it’s hard that not only is she gone, but what I have known my whole life is disappearing. It makes me feel like a nomad, carrying home in my heart. But I am rooted – because I am rooted in the lessons that she and the community instilled in me.
Mama Z was an example (to me) that people can change the world around them and make a life that you want to see. She showed me what love is. She touched, taught and raised up multiple generations of Saint Paul people. I love her for everything she was and wasn’t… I can’t measure how much I respect and appreciate her entire humanity and existence. So, I wrote her this symphony. This is her song.
It has been eight years since I lost both my parents, and I thank the Rondo community for supporting my art and helping me come back to normal and wake up. I would not have been able to heal without this community. I am their child, a child of Rondo.”
Music Credit: Concert Audio courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio. All rights reserved.
Production Team: Kate McDonald, Ryan Klabunde, Brennan Vance, Mark Hentges, Slade Kimmet, Jim Kron, Terry Gray, Joe Demko.
This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.