Place of Death
New York , New York
Cause of Death
Massive Cerebral Hemorrhage
Profile Bio Text
Valaida Snow was the product of a musical family; her mother, a music teacher, taught Valaida and her sisters to play a wide variety of instruments, among them cello, bass, mandolin, violin, clarinet, saxophone and accordion. The girls also sang and danced, but when Valaida turned professional at the age of 15, she began focusing on vocals and trumpet When she was 22, Snow was headlining Barron Wilkins` Harlem cabaret show, and throughout the remaining years of the 1920s, she toured relentlessly, appearing throughout the U.S. in conjunction with the Will Mastin Trio and performing in London and Paris , pretty soon she won the admiration of Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines and its success helped her. By all rights Snow should have been a major superstar, but as a black performer she was subject to considerable racism; worse still, as a woman, she was an outsider even within the jazz community - her perfect pitch, gifts for arranging and brilliant trumpeting did not help her cause, but only made her that much more of a curiosity. Snow traveled to Europe with her husband Ananais Berry for more shows and eventually she made cameos appearance as herself in Take it from me (1937) and Pi├ęges (1939); however, in 1941, while in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen, she was captured by German forces and interned in a concentration camp in Wester-Faengle. Eighteen months later, she was freed as an exchange prisoner, and allowed to return to New York; tragically, Snow never fully recovered from the ordeal - scarred psychologically as well as physically, she attempted to return to performing, but the spark was clearly gone, so much so that when Hines saw her appear live in 1943 he reportedly did not even recognize her. Following her marriage to manager Earle Edwards, she continued to work in spite of her personal suffering, but after playing the Palace Theater in New York on May 30, 1956, she died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage.
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