The acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and she has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. She was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019). Giddens’s forthcoming album, They’re Calling Me Home, is a twelve-track album, recorded with Turrisi in Ireland during the recent lockdown; it speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis.
Giddens’s lifelong mission is to lift up people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been erased, and to work toward a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins. Pitchfork has said of her work, “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.”
Among her many diverse career highlights, Giddens has performed for the Obamas at the White House, served as a Carnegie Hall Perspectives curator, and received an inaugural Legacy of Americana Award from Nashville’s National Museum of African American History in partnership with the Americana Music Association. Her critical acclaim includes in-depth profiles by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among many others.
As an actor, Giddens had a featured role on the television series Nashville.
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“The most distilled and sui generis display of the unique artistry that defines (Rhiannon Giddens’) still-blossoming career.”— Rolling Stone
“For an album recorded in only five days, it wallops with impact. Giddens is going supernova, and it’s a blistering thing.”— The Guardian
“This is acoustic roots music at its most glorious, and Giddens is fast becoming the genre’s brightest star in the firmament.” — Uncut
“Timeless and utterly of this time. Filigree and ferocious in equal measure.”— Irish Times
“Is there anything Rhiannon Giddens can’t sing?…[she] sings with inflections that bridge mountains and deserts.”— The New York Times
“The electrifying singer and banjo player gives fresh voice to old American traditions.”— Smithsonian Magazine
“For nearly a decade, Giddens has been heralded as a luminary in the world of Americana, and for some time, she was one of the few African-American faces represented.”
— American Songwriter