Once referred to as a ‘performing historian’ Rhiannon Giddens is a musician from Greensboro, North Carolina whose career has ranged from folk to country, blues to gospel, opera to R&B. Her old-time string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops have received 6 Grammy nominations, winning in 2010 for their album Genuine Negro Jig. In 2017 Rhiannon received a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant for ‘reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present’. At Ireland’s Edge, she speaks to music journalist Jim Carroll about race, the influence and appropriation of African-American music, and cross-cultural collaboration, all through the story of the banjo in the United States. You can listen to Rhiannon + Jim's discussion in podcast format on the brand new Ireland's Edge - The Podcast series: https://shows.acast.com/irelands-edge Ireland's Edge Available Light/Solas was possible thanks to the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Kerry County Council, Intel Ireland, IMRO, Jones Engineering Group and the Skelling Hotel, Dingle.
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. In April 2022 she was awarded a Grammy 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.”