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Songs of Experience: A Conversation with Rhiannon Giddens
June 19, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 10:30 amFree
The singer, composer and Greensboro native talks with Curator of Exhibits Robert Harris about bringing African American history to life through music, storytelling and performance.
Topics include Giddens’s ongoing composition focused on the Wilmington coup and massacre of 1898 and her opera Omar, about the Islamic scholar enslaved in North Carolina in the early 1800s, premiering at the 2021 Spoleto Festival.
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 (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.”
Photo: Ebru Yildiz