Rhiannon Giddens curates perspectives series @ Carnegie Hall

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens curates a four-concert Perspectives series as part of Carnegie Hall’s 2022–2023 season. Ms. Giddens' spectacular banjo and fiddle playing, passionate vocals, and perceptive songwriting are all wed to a boundless musical curiosity that explores untold stories and reclaims American musical traditions for our time. Recently named artistic director of the Silkroad Ensemble and recipient of a 2017 MacArthur “Genius Grant” for exceptional creativity, her collaborative projects—including the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Our Native Daughters, a string of award-winning solo albums, among other projects—have made Ms. Giddens one the most vibrant musicians of our time.

Throughout her Perspectives series, Ms. Giddens sheds light on the shared history of a variety of musical traditions around the world, the complex history of Black influence in American music, and more. Beginning in October, she is joined by multi-instrumentalist and frequent collaborator Francesco Turrisi for an intimate concert in Weill Recital Hall that draws on diverse musical sources—such as American and Italian folk music, early Baroque songs, classical arrangements of African American spirituals, original songs, and deconstructed arias—to showcase the fluidity between classical and popular music. Next in the series, Ms. Giddens joins three of her kindred banjo players Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell (all leading roots artists themselves) for Songs of Our Native Daughters. Drawing on historic sources and personal narratives, they bring to life stories of struggle, resistance, and hope from a powerful Black female perspective. Ms. Giddens and Mr. Turrisi come together again in January with bassist Jason Sypher, performing songs from their Grammy-winning album They’re Calling Me Home, conceived and recorded in Ireland during the COVID-19 lockdown. Her residency culminates in March with Indigenous Connections, a stunning collaboration of global instrumentation and strings led by Ms. Giddens, featuring women and nonbinary members of the Silkroad Ensemble and Tuscarora/Taino singer-songwriter Pura Fé that connects the music of indigenous North America to the world.

Ms. Giddens is an acclaimed musician who uses her art to excavate the past to reveal bold and candid truths about our present. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House and acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville. Her acclaimed solo albums, Tomorrow Is My Turn (along with the EP Factory Girl, produced by T Bone Burnett) and Freedom Highway, received three Grammy nominations; her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops (which she co-founded) received a Grammy in 2010. Ms. Giddens is also featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series on PBS. Songs of Our Native Daughters, a collaborative album that tells the stories of historic Black womanhood and survival, was released on Smithsonian Folkways in early 2019 to rave reviews. Named artistic director of the Silkroad Ensemble in 2020, Ms. Giddens is developing several new programs for the ensemble, including one inspired by the history of the American transcontinental railroad, and the cultures and music of its builders. She recently wrote the music for an original ballet, Lucy Negro Redux, for Nashville Ballet that premiered in 2019, and the libretto and music for an original opera, Omar, based on the autobiography of the enslaved man Omar Ibn Said for the Spoleto USA Festival, which debuts later this year.

Ms. Giddens, who first performed at Carnegie Hall in 2017 and was first announced as a Perspectives artist in the 2020–2021 season, has also been an active collaborator in education and social impact programs created by the Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI). Her album Freedom Highway launched in 2017 with a concert at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, part of Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program. In spring 2018, she was featured in A Time Like This: Music for Change, a concert presented by WMI during the Hall’s festival The ’60s: The Years that Changed America. Also in 2018, Ms. Giddens was among major artists featured on Hopes & Dreams, an album of lullabies written by New York parents through Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, released by Decca Gold. Virtual performances by Ms. Giddens and guest artists were featured on the Hall’s digital platforms throughout the 2020–2021 season as part of her first Perspectives series.

Saturday, October 15 at 7:30 PM - Weill Recital Hall

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: When I Am Laid in Earth

Rhiannon Giddens: Vocals

Francesco Turrisi: Piano

Friday, November 4 at 8 PM - Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

Rhiannon Giddens: Songs of Our Native Daughters

Rhiannon Giddens, Banjo, Fiddle, and Vocals

Amythyst Kiah, Banjo, Guitar, and Vocals

Leyla McCalla, Banjo, Guitar, Cello, and Vocals

Allison Russell, Banjo, Clarinet, and Vocals

Tuesday, January 24 at 7:30 PM - Zankel Hall Center Stage

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: They’re Calling Me Home

Rhiannon Giddens, Banjo, Fiddle, and Vocals

Francesco Turrisi, Percussion and Piano

Jason Sypher, Bass

Friday March 10 at 7:30 PM - Zankel Hall

Rhiannon Giddens with Members of the Silkroad Ensemble: Indigenous Connections

Rhiannon Giddens, Artistic Director, Banjo, Fiddle, and Vocals

Members of the Silkroad Ensemble

with Special Guest Pura Fé, Lap-Steel Slide Guitar and Vocals.