Elbaum remembered 20 years after her death 

by Virginia Ray


Ashfield- Marking the 20th anniversary of her death in Chechnya, Cynthia Elbaum is being remembered with the new CD of original music in her memory by friend Tony Jillson. 


This December marks  the 20th anniversary of the death of Ashfield native Elbaum. She was a photojournalist on assignment covering the war in Grozny, The capital of the Chechen republic. At about 4 PM on December 22, 1994, while Cynthia was photographing survivors sifting through the rubble of the previous nights been bombardment, Russian Jets attacked again. She was one of the first journalist to be killed in the war in Chechnya.


Two years ago Jillson and was approached by Cynthia's mother Jude to create some original music for a short film about Cynthia that she and videographer Kaitlin O'Shea were making that was to be shown at the Ashfield FilmFest. The film won the grand prize and the music created by Jillson and his wife Martha Lively (sic) was well received. Both had known Elbaum since childhood and had kept in touch with her and were interviewed in the film.


Because of that positive reaction to their music Jillson and Lively (sic) decided to expand on the work and create a full CD replacing the computer-generated parts with real violin, cello, guitar and percussion. It was recorded at his studio in Ashfield during the past two years. He also remodeled his studio to include a dedicated, soundproof vocal booth, because voiceovers, poetry readings, and books on tape are a good portion of the couples studio business.


In addition to Jillson and Lively, the final CD includes Ashfield cellist Daniel Plane and Shelburne Falls native Kelly Halloran on violin and Valley resident Joe Jewett, who took over on some tracks for Halloran when she was touring.


With all the recording accomplished, Jillson in the spring and summer finishing the project. He mixed, mastered, created the artwork and uploaded the project to cdbaby/disc makers. He also contacted Panos Pictures, which holds the rights to the photos of Elbaum in Chechnya – the last photos taken of her. They graciously have allowed me (sic) to use the pictures.


"This collection seeks to honor her memory, while marking a new musical direction for myself," says Jillson, whose work can be heard at birdwaves.com.


The CD “For Cynthia" is available at Elmer’s Store and online through Jillson's website.




*Note- Martha Lively very much supported the making of this album, but does not appear on it. - TJ