Rhiannon Giddens’ tremendous 2022 continues today with the release of her book debut - Build A House - illustrated by Monica Mikai and published by Candlewick Press. The picture book was inspired by and features the lyrics of, a song that Giddens wrote and recorded with Yo-Yo Ma to commemorate Juneteenth in 2020. A newly recorded version of “Build A House” has been released today on Nonesuch, listen here: https://rhiannongiddens.lnk.to/buildahouse
Build A House is a moving picture book that tells the story of an enslaved family that will not be moved, and the music that sustains them. In a starred pre-publication review, Kirkus wrote of the book: “Giddens’ powerful, spare poetry, spanning centuries of American history, is breathtaking. Readers who discover her music through this book and the online recording (included as a QR code) will be forever glad they picked up this book. . . . A stunning, honest, yet age-appropriate depiction of historical injustice.” Giddens will be reading the book and performing this month: a community outreach book reading at The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles on October 22, and at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum on October 13.
In addition to the book release, Giddens’ fall includes key concerts as a Carnegie Hall Perspectives Artist for the ‘22-23 season including a duo performance with Francesco Turrisi on October 15 in Weill Recital Hall and with Our Native Daughters on November 4 in Stern Auditorium. This is the only performance of 2022 for Our Native Daughters, a supergroup of Black female banjo players featuring Giddens with Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah and Leyla McCalla.
Her appearances continue at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles November 12 as part of the Rock My Soul festival; and the LA Opera debut of Omar October 22. Omar was created by Giddens with Michael Abels (Get Out). It was inspired by the autobiographical writings of Omar Ibn-Said (1770-1864), a Muslim scholar forcibly taken from his native Senegal and enslaved in North and South Carolina. Omar will be performed by five more top opera companies in the U.S. over the next two years. Watch this CBS Sunday Morning interview and read rave reviews in NY Times, NPR Morning Edition, and WSJ.
Giddens has also scored music for Questlove’s new film Descendents coming out this month. She performed with Paul Simon at Newport Folk Festival, and at the GRAMMY Salute To The Songs of Paul Simon, which was taped earlier this year and will air on CBS this fall. Black Lucy & The Bard, the Nashville Ballet production scored by Giddens, recently aired on PBS’ Great Performances and was deemed “marvelous television” by the Wall Street Journal. Giddens was also named the Artistic Director of the Silkroad Ensemble and spoke about her work with PBS Newshour, and is the Music Director for the 2023 Ojai Music Festival.