Rhiannon Giddens to be Keynote Speaker at World of Bluegrass

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced that Rhiannon Giddens will address their 2017 Business Conference as Keynote speaker during their World Of Bluegrass convention. She will speak on the opening day of the September 26-28 conference in Raleigh, NC.

Giddens rose to prominence as a member of The Carolina Chocolate Drops, where her deft banjo and fiddle playing, and ethereal voice, highlighted the band’s mission to reclaim the heritage of southern black musicians in the development of the old time, blues, and folk music of the Appalachian region. She continues that mission now as a solo performer and recording artist, taking a mix of traditional and contemporary original music on to the stage, to schools, and concert halls all over the world.

In 2016, Rhiannon received an unexpected honor when she was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo & Bluegrass Music, given each year to a banjo player recognized as a groundbreaking artist. In addition to the high honor, the prize is accompanied by a $50,000 cash grant.

IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger says that her inclusion will help further the theme of their 2017 conference, held each year as a homecoming for the entire bluegrass industry.

“We are thrilled and honored that Rhiannon Giddens will be this year’s Keynote Speaker to kick off the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. Rhiannon has embodied this year’s Business Conference theme of Community and Connection throughout her life and musical career. Having grown up in a household filled with bluegrass music and then trained in classical voice, she has drawn upon this early foundation to form a creative musical journey. Rhiannon has achieved both critical acclaim and great career success by merging elements of old-time, folk, jazz, country, and bluegrass to reach whole new audiences. Her passion for American roots music, along with her thoughtful and purposeful career, provides each of us a lens through which we can see beyond our own barriers.”

Rhiannon will speak during the banquet on September 26, followed by a number of artist showcases at the Raleigh Convention Center. The three day Business Conference is capped off on the 28th by the International Bluegrass Music Awards, a gala production at the nearby Duke Energy Center for The Performing Arts, and then a weekend of live music at the Wide Open Bluegrass festival at the Red Hat Amphitheater.

Find full details at the World Of Bluegrass site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.