Two-time Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize winning American singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens will be headlining on Saturday.
“Without doubt one of the most important roots artists of her generation and the most significant booking we’ve ever made” said Festival director Mike Kirrage “An absolute coup for us.”
Rhiannon is at the peak of her powers right now, a singer, fiddler and banjo player with a career that's included being a founding member of the country blues and old-time music band The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Their 2010 album ‘Genuine Negro Jig’ won her first Grammy, and her second came last year for her own album, ‘They’re Calling Me Home’.
Giddens is a MacArthur “Genius” recipient, a composer for opera ballet and film, and she's worked with a wide range of famous artists including Elvis Costello, Paul Simon and Tom Jones plus Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Alison Russell on their acclaimed ‘Songs Of Our Native Daughters’ album in 2018. Her ‘Forever Young’ collaboration with Iron & Wine for the USA TV series Parenthood has been streamed over 40 million times on Spotify. Her 2023, third solo album, ‘You’re The One’, has already been highly acclaimed in country, blues, folk, cajun, gospel and jazz circles, confirming her eclecticism and refusal to be pigeonholed in one musical genre. We certainly love it!
Her work celebrates her multi-racial heritage (European father and African American/Native American mother) and the influential magazine American Songwriter has called her “one of the most important musical minds walking the planet”. Jake Blount, who played here last year says “Like many other black people, I’ve always felt an instinctive connection to American folk music, and like so many others, I ignored that connection because it didn’t make sense to me...it never would have occurred to me that there was a black influence in the music, because I had never heard of a black person listening to it — much less playing it. Rhiannon’s presence alone served as both a vindication and an inspiration for me. The knowledge she has imparted to me has changed my understanding of history and my approach to performance...Rhiannon’s incredible success has made her a beacon in that storm for other black people who feel drawn to this music.”
She’ll bring with her an all-star six piece band starring her partner, the acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and jazz musician Francesco Turrisi, and also the legendary four- times Grammy award-winning fiddler and banjo player Dirk Powell, who’s worked with everybody from Joan Baez to Eric Clapton.
“I saw Rhiannon ten years ago at Shrewsbury Folk Festival when she was part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops” recalls Mike Kirrage, “The band were brilliant, but Rhiannon stood out and was clearly destined for great things. The most versatile performer I’ve ever seen, exemplary skills on banjo and fiddle, a voice to die for and a fantastic stage presence that oozed class. Not to mention her barefoot flatfooting that had the audience in raptures.”
(It's possible we'll have day tickets available in the weeks running up to the festival, but these will be subject to availability, so may not be issued, depending on how many weekend tickets are sold.)