Agent: Chris Colbourn
Originally envisioning a career in opera, Rhiannon Giddens graduated from Oberlin with a degree in vocal performance, but quickly move on to be the singer-songwriter and co-founder of the GRAMMY Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops in which she also plays banjo and fiddle. She quickly gained recognition as a solo artist, stealing the show at the T Bone Burnett-produced concert Another Day, Another Time at NYC’s Town Hall in 2013. Giddens’ elegant bearing, prodigious voice, and fierce spirit is abundantly evident on her critically-acclaimed solo debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn, which masterfully blends American musical genres, showcasing her extraordinary emotional range and dazzling vocal prowess. The life that Giddens explores at the climax of Tomorrow Is My Turn is her own creative one, on the lilting, self-penned ballad “Angel City.” Though she regards herself far more as singer than songwriter, “Angel City,” composed in the course of a single night during the recording of the Burnett-helmed The New Basement Tapes project, fits perfectly at the close of the set, gently paying homage to the elder artists whose work comprise the rest of the album. “It was these women, these artists, who had helped me, who had come with me on this journey, and here are lyrics that represented that.”
Pushing the boundaries between genres has led Ms. Giddens to collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble, the Kronos Quartet, and the North Carolina Symphony. Through thematic programming and passionate research, Ms. Giddens has forged a brilliant career joining historical and contemporary song traditions to all her performances. Rhiannon shared her motivations for programming this concert for Sparks & Wiry Cries: “The Margaret Bonds being spirituals, is obvious – the Black Broadway, excavating and illuminating, which is what I do and who I am, and the Lieder is redemption and acceptance.” Giddens is currently working on her follow up album to be released in 2017 on Nonesuch Records.
Full Orchestra Charts
3 Black Broadway Songs (Aaron Grad)
Moon, moon, moon
3 (Gabe Witcher)
Waterboy – Jacques Wolfe / Odetta arr.
Up Above my Head / Lonesome Road Blues – Trad / Sister Rosetta Tharpe arr.
Tomorrow is My Turn – Charles Azvanour / Nina Simone arr.
Quartet Charts (Gabe Witcher)
Tomorrow is my turn