Almanac Music: Rhiannon Giddens – a music superstar

 

In recent years Rhiannon Giddens has become a firm musical favourite of mine.

 

Her rootsy, acoustic country style Americana music is very appealing and it does not take long for one to appreciate what a gifted artist she is.

 

The following press release from her record company provides an overview of her career.

 

 

Rhiannon Giddens is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal truths about our present. A MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ recipient, Giddens has been Grammy-nominated six times, and won once, for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group she co-founded. She was nominated this year for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (Nonesuch / 2019), an album that is at once a condemnation of ‘othering’ and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House and acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville. Giddens has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among other outlets. She is featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS last fall. In 2019, Giddens also formed the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players and contributed to and produced their album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork has said of her “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”    

 

To get a feel for the music of Rhiannon Giddens check out the following song ‘I’m On My Way’ from her recent album ‘There is No Other’.

 

Rhiannon Giddens, with Francesco Turrisi, in concert at The Met  October 2019

 

For further information about Rhiannon check out her  website HERE.

 

 

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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.

Comments

  1. Keiran Croker says

    Thanks Col.
    Rhiannon is just brilliant. Love everything she does. Was blown away when I was first turned on to Carolina Chocolate Drops about 10 years ago. She is a fabulous live performer. I had the pleasure of seeing her at New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2016. And with Francesco she was the last big act I saw last March at Melbourne Recital Centre before lockdown. She is an important voice in modern America.

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    I saw Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi at WOMAD in early March last year. The Melbourne show must have been just before or just after Keiran. I’d not heard of her beforehand, but a friend at the cricket club recommended her and she did not disappoint. The show had a bit more of a jazz feel than the two links provided. Turrisi on the Tambourine, live, was mind boggling. Such a talent. The bass player was brilliant as well. That old African banjo Rhiannon Giddens plays has a sound of its own. The interesting thing is that she popped up as an interviewee in two documentaries I recently saw on SBS since WOMAD. Funny how that happens. One was one of the later episodes of the History of Country Music and the other was a doco on the influence of the American Indian on music over the years. Great viewing.

  3. Andrew Gaylard says

    I’m envious of those who have seen Rhiannon Giddens live, because things being as they are my own opportunity may have passed. Coincidentally, I only recently became more than faintly aware of her when I came across the ‘Bob Dylan Covered’ monster playlist on Spotify. Her version, in company with Iron and Wine, of ‘Forever Young’, a favourite of mine, is the very first track. We can’t know how much of the arrangement was down to Giddens, but the meditative and melodic result is a winner.

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