E. Shawn Qaissaunee is a performer at the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, musician, composer and music educator, as well as this week’s #PeopleofWilmDE! Read his story below:
“I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and traveled to the USA as a young child, living in Ohio, Virginia and eventually Dover, DE. I became passionate about music and studied intensively in my teenage years. After a year of touring New England in a 10-piece dance band I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. After college I returned to Dover and gradually moved closer to Wilmington, first living in Newark and then settling in Wilmington in 2007.
Wilmington is a wonderful place to live. The creative and greater community are very supportive and it is a great place to learn and grow. I love that it’s a great “pivot” location to access many gig opportunities in a relatively small (2 hours or less) radius (NYC, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, etc.)
It has been easy to make friends and musical collaborators and to develop a roster of students and recording studio clients. I am hopeful that there will be more opportunities for creative people of all ages and backgrounds and much more support for our young people that do not have many opportunities.
I am active in music education at Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency. I have also been involved in community outreach at Grace Church working with Delaware Food Bank, helping to serve underserved and at-risk communities in Wilmington. I just hope to continue to be a positive force in the community and continue to foster a diverse and inclusive space for all people to become the best they can be.
Because Wilmington is such a small city I am always thrilled when I find a common connection between people that I have been working with and find such a strong respect and admiration shared. Don’t live in a bubble. Talk to your neighbors. Go to concerts big AND small. Go to theater performances. Support local restaurants and retailers. Do anything you can to make Wilmington a better place to live, work and play.
Some of my proudest moments have been teaching at Boysie Lowery Jazz Camp and performing the main stage at Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Some of my favorite memories are the Bob Marley Birthday Party with reggae band Spokey Speaky at The Queen Theater (Feb. 2020), just prior to the “stay at home” order.
Here is a list of some of my favorite upcoming events in Wilmington:
Wilmington has been a wonderful place to live, work and play. I love all my “people” and I am meeting new friends all the time. Wilmington has so much to offer to the greater Mid-Atlantic area and I am honored and excited to continue to be an advocate for the city of Wilmington wherever I travel in the world.”