Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens is coming to the Blue Ridge Music Center on Saturday July 28 at 7 p.m.!

Rhiannon Giddens is an American original, culling the music and lyrics of our nation’s past to point the way to a brighter future, with a voice that is emotionally fearless, unforgettably dexterous, and “a perpetually soulful marvel,” according to The New York Times. Raised amid the rich old-time traditions of North Carolina’s Piedmont region, Giddens pivoted from opera to American roots and rhythm and blues music, first as co-founder of the Grammy winning Carolina Chocolate Drops and now as an acclaimed solo vocalist, banjoist, and fiddler. In 2016, she became the first woman to win the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. She was awarded a Genius Grant by the MacArthur Foundation the following year.

Giddens’ latest album, Freedom Highway, is a sonically diverse, 200-year journey through the power of African-American songcraft. The struggles and successes showcased in this mixture of original and traditional works reverberate across generations. Drawing on slave narratives from the 1800s, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and contemporary African-American experiences, Giddens captures, in her words, “voices demanding to be heard, to impart the hard-earned wisdom of a tangled, difficult, complicated history.”