Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens is an unique folk / gospel / blues singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist and actress from North Carolina, USA (borned 1977). Her band Carolina Chocolate Drops won Grammy Awards for best traditional folk album “Genuine Negro Jig” in 2011 (Rhiannon sings and plays on banjo, fiddle/violin, kazoo/percussion). Rhiannon Giddens has white father and black mother. She is photogenic so she performed in few films as a pretty actress, amongst others in fifth and sixth season of American musical drama “Nashville”.

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Kazoo, they call it a percussion kind of instrument:

“There is No Other” is the newest longplay (released 03.05.2019) featuring Rhiannon Giddens in cooperation with Francesco Turrisi from Turin, Italy.

We can read on Francesco’s official website: “A thrilling jazz improviser and early music adept, pianist/multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi is a highly versatile musician. The music on his four CDs as leader and two as co-leader isn’t easy to define – drawing from early music counterpoint and bass ostinatos, evocative Mediterranean modal melodies and jazz improvisation. His ability to rework ancient melodies and rhythms through a contemporary jazz prism marks him out as one of the most striking voices to have emerged on the European jazz scene in the past decade – Ian Patterson.” http://www.francescoturrisi.com/

This is not a typical sound for Musictivity 😉 but Rhiannon Giddens makes not typical music anyway. Before writing this article, I made some research about upcoming concerts of different artists and fragments of her musical output made the best impression on me, so then I listened to entire “There is No Other” on Spotify and decided to share it with you.

source: Rhiannon Giddens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4Xlyi8Is98

You can listen more Rhiannon Giddens here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t7zowxgO5A&list=PLprjJ3QSla0iRqLIcPYZXTQBGL_NNPy7l

Upcoming Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi concerts (apparently this duet is so good that oftentimes they need to perform twice in the same place in following days; in San Francisco even four times!)

27.09.2019 McCarter Theater, Princeton, New Jersey

28.09.2019 Grand Opera House, Wilmington, Delaware

29.09.2019 Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, Vermont

01.10.2019 Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield, Maine

02.10.2019 The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Maine

03.10.2019 Sanders Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts

04.10.2019 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

05.10.2019 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

19.10.2019 The Pico Union Project, Los Angeles, California

20.10.2019 The Pico Union Project, Los Angeles, California

23.10.2019 The Kent Stage, Kent, Ohio

24.10.2019 The Royal Conservatory, Tornoto, Canada

25.10.2019 The Ark, Ann Arbor, Michigan

26.10.2019 City Winery, Chicago, Illionois

27.10.2019 City Winery, Chicago, Illinois

29.10.2019 Buskirk – Chumley Theatre, Bloomington, Indiana

30.10.2019 The Englert Theatre, Iowa City, Iowa

31.10.2019 The Dakota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

01.11.2019 The Dakota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

02.11.2019 Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton, Wisconsin

03.11.2019 Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton, Wisconscin

22.11.2019 EFG London Jazz Festival, London, England

23.11.2019 St George’s Church, Brighton, England

24.11.2019 The Anvil, Basingstoke, England

26.11.2019 Forum, Bath, England

27.11.2019 Opera House, Buxton, England

28.11.2019 Grand Central, Liverpool, England

29.11.2019 The Sage, Gateshead, England

01.12.2019 Usher Hall,m Edinburgh, Scotland

03.12.2019 Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht, Nederland

04.12.2019 Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany

05.12.2019 Centralstation, Darmstadt, Germany

07.12.2019 Kulturkirche, Cologne, Germany

08.12.2019 Het Depot, Leuven, Belgium

09.12.2019 Café de la Danse, Paris, France

10.12.2019 De Duif, Amsterdam, Nederland

17.01.2020 Torino Folk Club, Turin, Italy

18.01.2020 Torino Folk Club, Turin, Italy

07.02.2020 Bing Concert Hall, Stanford, California

13.02.2020 Miner Auditorium, San Francisco, California

14.02.2020 Miner Auditorium, San Francisco, California

15.02.2020 Miner Auditorium, San Francisco, California

16.02.2020 Miner Auditorium, San Francisco, California

06-09.03.2020 Port Fairy Folk Festival, Geelong, Australia

13.11.2020 Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, Greensboro, North Carolina

15.11.2020 Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, Greensboro, North Carloina

The main concept behind lyrics are stories about secluded people. Although Rhiannon used to explain directly in interviews that she thought about slaves, I would place her lyrics in broader context of current state of human race. Why?

According to “Anne Frank House Annual Report 2017” 1,2 million people visit this museum in Amsterdam each year. I’ve been there. Shock! Not because of Anne Frank’s story from one hundred years ago, but because I realized that she had better living conditions than me in the same city in 2016. Anne Frank was secluded but she was able to survive without working and she appears on photographies clean, neat and with well maintained hairstyle. Me, I needed to pay 400 euros each month for incomparably smaller room, with permanently covered window so nobody could see that anybody live in my house. My salary was 9 euro for one hour but I had some odd hard physical job only from time to time, so my income was far below official minimal month salary in the Netherlands. I had proper documents, Schengen nationality,University graduation diploma (Bachelor of Science in Mathematics), hard working attitude. But earth is overpopulated so capitalists don’t need. If nobody allow me to make any work, I wouldn’t pay for room, I would die. No access to public shelter without five years history of living in the Netherlands. Police intervened immediately when I tried to sleep one time outside in Tilburg (North Brabant, the Netherlands), they told me that I must disappear because otherwise they will deport me to Belgium. How long people can survive without sleeping? Three nights without sleeping mean no chance to work in fast pace environment. Few weeks without sleeping mean death.

My father had worked in army so he was eligible to get a home from government. It would be a small, 1 bedroom home, but he got 1 extra room when I was born and 1 extra room when my brother was born (we are twins). It means that first thing which I’ve ever made in my life was that I increased size of my father’s home by giving him one additional room.

Few years later my parents divorced and my father had came suddenly to this home with his colleagues from army with will to throw away me, my brother and my mother to the street (not Netherlands but another country where police don’t disturb people sleeping outside).

I was good in Mathematics during my school years so finally I’ve graduated Mathematics from the University. I’ve passed all of my exams in time and I’ve became Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. After that I’ve made one year of Mathematics program on master level in another University (albeit hadn’t graduate). But I wasn’t able to find my future on job market, I didn’t understand capitalism. So I signed up to Academy of Business and I’ve made one year of Management on master level. Still no place for me in this world. Academy of Business created more questions in my head than answers. I’d worked actually in three big financial institutions in meantime as an operational risk manager, but organizational structure in this companies was so weird that it didn’t make sense for me. I’ve got fired from each of these three companies. I’ve left my country, crossed all of my past and moved to the Netherlands for a few years of swinging between unemployment and few hours of odd job on call. Finally I’ve transfered all of my remaining money to an uknown nice lady from Facebook who promised me a place in attic without shower (but swimming pool nearby had an access to shower) on an island in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. I’ve found here a permanent job in slaughterhouse where I’m working hard in the river of blood since now. I can not complain as it’s a stable work with high monthly salary. It turned out to be too difficult for me to learn local language so I’ve created my private world around music and travel. Now I share this passion with you, here on Musictivity.

Eventually I’ve met a very special person in my life. You know, my salary in slaughterhouse is high enough so I’ve visited a group of people in the Philippines. I’ve spent two weeks with them in Philippines and even took my love to Thailand for holidays. Later on, they became my family, I’ve married my love and now we live happily more than one year in the island somewhere between Europe and America. I’m glad that I’ve been able to open the doors for future of somebody else.

We are listening together to Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi today 🙂 As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Francesco comes from Turin. It can be interesting to know that Turin (not Rome neither Milan) was the first capital of Italy throughout centuries. I have never been there yet so let me introduce this city for you using professional video made by another traveling enthusiast:

source: blainenp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syOJw3jYxQs

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author: Sam O’Black