Rhiannon Giddens

Monday, July 20, 7:30PM

“Rhiannon is a show-stopper — not only for her glorious voice but also for her incredible versatility. She ranges across many styles and genres, and is equally at ease singing opera, blues, gospel and Gaelic or whatever the moment takes. A rare talent!” – Margaret Bennett (author, folklorist and singer)


Rhiannon Giddens, founding member of the supergroup The New Basement Tapes and the Carolina Chocolate Drops is an artist with an unforgettable voice who culls the music of our collective past to point the way to the future.

Rhiannon’s journey began in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, where she was raised—an area with a rich legacy of old-time music, black and white, that Giddens would explore in depth after college. She met her original CCDs band-mates at 2005’s Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, NC, and got schooled in the Piedmont’s traditional music by Joe Thompson, an elderly African-American fiddle player who passed on to Giddens and her cohorts many of the songs that would comprise their early repertoire.

Reviving, interpreting, and recasting traditional material from a variety of sources has been central to Rhiannon Giddens’ career, especially in her groundbreaking work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops (CCDs). With their two Nonesuch albums, the CCDs have investigated and promoted the foundational role African-American performers and songwriters have played in folk-music history, while making recordings that are vital, contemporary and exuberant.

With her new solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn (Nonesuch Records), Giddens embarks on a more personal sort of journey, but with a nod towards history as well. Working with acclaimed producer T-Bone Burnett, Giddens has chosen from a broad array of songs associated with the female artists who are her musical and spiritual forebears, and fashioned an album that serves both as patchwork autobiography and as a subtle tribute to these artists and their often hard-won legacies. The album incorporates gospel, jazz, blues and country in its fresh treatment of songs made famous by Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Odetta and Nina Simone, adding in a hint of proto-rock and roll. Throughout, she displays an emotional range to match her dazzling vocal prowess.

Giddens is an American original—an artist with an unforgettable voice who culls the music of our collective past to point the way to the future, one in which her name will surely be well-known from the moment she steps on a stage.

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Last Kind Words - Rhiannon Giddens - 2/14/2015

Rhiannon Giddens - "Black Is The Color" (Live at WFUV)