Rhiannon Giddens and FriendsWednesday, September 8 at 7:30 pm
The acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and she has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. She was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019). Giddens’s latest album, They’re Calling Me Home, is a twelve-track album, recorded with Turrisi in Ireland during the recent lockdown; it speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis.
They’re Calling Me Home features several traditional songs that Giddens hasn’t played for years, including some of the first old-time pieces she ever learned: “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Black As Crow (Dearest Dear)” and “Waterbound.” The album also includes a new song Giddens wrote, “Avalon,” as well as an Italian lullaby, “Nenna Nenna,” that Turrisi used to sing to his infant daughter that took on new resonance during the lockdown.
Giddens says of Alice Gerrard, the folk music pioneer, who wrote “Calling Me Home”: “Some people just know how to tap into a tradition and an emotion so deep that it sounds like a song that has always been around — Alice Gerrard is one of those rarities; ‘Calling Me Home’ struck me forcefully and deeply the first time I heard it, and every time since. This song just wanted to be sung and so I listened.”
They’re Calling Me Home also includes two well-known songs about death: “Amazing Grace” and “O Death.”
The minstrel banjo, accordion and frame drums that have become characteristic of the pair’s sound are well represented on the album, but it’s the viola and cello banjo combination that captures unexpected emotion and intensity. Joining them at key moments are Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu and Irish traditional musician Emer Mayock on flute, whistle, and pipes. Engineer Ben Rawlins was key to the shape and sound of the record while Giddens and Turrisi produced and Kim Rosen mastered.
They’re Calling Me Home is the follow-up to Giddens’ 2019 album with Turrisi, there is no Other (Nonesuch), of which Pitchfork said, “There are few artists so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration.” Giddens earned a GRAMMY nomination (her sixth) for the album, which is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.
In the past two years alone Rhiannon Giddens has been profiled in the New Yorker, featured on multiple magazine covers, and appeared in Ken Burns’ Country Music on PBS and Samuel L. Jackson’s Epix series Enslaved, among other appearances. She received the inaugural Legacy of Americana Award at the Americana Awards & Honors, composed her first opera (with a forthcoming debut at Spoleto Festival USA), shared remote performances for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, and was named Artistic Director of the Silk Road Ensemble.
Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz
Show Date/ Time:
Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 7:30 pm
Doors at 7:00 pm
$34.99-$44.99 (Plus Applicable Fees)
Where/ How Tickets Can be Purchased:
Purchase online using the button on the top right, or you may visit or call our box office at 413-584-9032 ext.105.
Box Office Hours are 3pm - 6pm, Tuesday - Friday. Service fees always apply with purchase.