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Rhiannon Giddens

34 Podcast Episodes

Latest 18 Mar 2023 | Updated Daily

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We celebrate black female folk musicians and the February 21 birthday of Nina Simone and Rhiannon Giddens

Folk Espresso

20 Feb 2023

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The Soul of Music: Rhiannon Giddens excavates the past

Overheard at National Geographic

This episode is part one of The Soul of Music—Overheard’s four-part series focusing on music, exploration, and Black history. Our guest this week is two-time Grammy award winner Rhiannon Giddens, a singer, songwriter, and banjo and fiddle player. A self-described “armchair historian,” Rhiannon chats with Nat Geo Explorer and spoken-word poet Alyea Pierce about the origins of the banjo, her new opera Omar, and how she finds inspiration through history. For more information on this episode, visit natgeo.com/overheard.Want more?Learn more about Rhiannon and her music, opera, and children’s book at her website, rhiannongiddens.com. And you can follow her on Twitter @RhiannonGiddens. You can follow National Geographic Explorer Alyea Pierce at her instagram @alyeaspierce. Also explore: Listen to the National Geographic podcast Into the Depths to hear more of Alyea’s poetry and follow Explorer Tara Roberts on a journey to document sunken slave ships in the Atlantic. Learn about how music is used to heal the sick in Appalachia in this Nat Geo article.If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to natgeo.com/exploremore to subscribe today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


7 Feb 2023

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Rhiannon Giddens's History Lessons

Biscuits & Jam

In this week’s episode, Sid Evans, Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living Magazine, speaks to Grammy award-winning artist, storyteller, and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens. Today, Rhiannon talks about the first time she heard clawhammer style on the banjo, and what she learned from her mentor, Joe Thompson, a North Carolina fiddle player who introduced her to a whole catalog of lost songs. She tells the incredible story behind her latest opera, Omar, about a muslim scholar who was enslaved and brought to Charleston, South Carolina, and who later wrote down his story in a rare and powerful memoir. Plus, she explains how she became obsessed with making the perfect biscuit while spending lockdown in Ireland.For more info visit: southernliving.com/biscuitsandjamBiscuits & Jam is produced by:Sid Evans - Editor-in-Chief, Southern LivingKrissy Tiglias - GM, Southern LivingLottie Leymarie - Executive ProducerJenny Snyder - Audio Engineer/Producer Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


23 Aug 2022

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Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell Explore Reconstruction-Era Music (Archives)


African-American string band tradition meets Cajun/Creole and Appalachian music in a collaboration between singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, actor and MacArthur Fellow Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell, a multi-instrumentalist, singer, arranger, songwriter, and actor himself. Together, with banjos and fiddles, they play each other's original songs, music that takes on the slave condition of pre-Civil War times, and chat about their recent project, songs tied to the Reconstruction era culture of the Wilmington, North Carolina Massacre of 1898. (From the Archives, 2018.) Set list:  I’m Gonna Write Me A Letter Say Old Playmate At the Purchaser’s Option 


20 Jun 2022

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Banjo Player Rhiannon Giddens Sings Slave Narratives

Fresh Air

Giddens' album Freedom Highway is an exploration of Black experiences, accompanied by an instrument with its own uniquely African American story: the banjo. Originally broadcast May 11, 2017.Ken Tucker reviews three new country songs.


20 Jun 2022

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Celebrate Black Music Appreciation Month with singer, composer, and artistic director of Silkroad Rhiannon Giddens

Art Works Podcast

We’re celebrating Black Music Appreciation Month by revisiting my 2021 interview with MacArthur Fellow and artistic director of Silkroad Rhiannon Giddens.  A classically-trained singer,  banjo and fiddle-player, and composer, Rhiannon excavates the past to bring forgotten stories and music, particularly of African-Americans, into the present.  Giddens is a co-founder of the Grammy Award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, which insisted reclaiming for Black musicians  a central and historically-accurate place in old-time music. She then went on to create solo albums of haunting beauty and power born of African-American struggles past and present. Giddens is, first and foremost, an artist determined to be of service which drives her commitment to unearth musical roots and put that knowledge of different musical traditions to good use.  In this podcast, Rhiannon talks about uncovering the Black roots in old-time music, the importance of National Heritage Fellow fiddler Joe Thompson to her musical lineage, the path to creating her opera Omar, the centrality of history on the margins to her music, and her plans to have Silkroad explore the multiplicity of musical worlds within the US.  Keywords: Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Joe Thompson, Omar


14 Jun 2022

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Rhiannon Giddens

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

Grammy Award-winning banjo player Rhiannon Giddens joins Margaret Hoover to discuss her pursuit of the true history of her instrument and why she has set out to change perceptions of the banjo as an icon of white mountain culture. Giddens traces her path from a childhood in a mixed-race family in North Carolina to studying opera at Oberlin to learning the Black string band tradition at the feet of one of its last great practitioners. She has gone on to an acclaimed career, first as a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and later as a solo artist. She recounts how the banjo went from an invention of African Americans to a white cultural stereotype, reflects on the evolving sound of the instrument over time, and explains why her “American music” defies conventional genre classifications. Giddens performs three songs, including a piece from her upcoming opera, “Omar.” She also reflects on cultural appropriation, political division, and the challenges of teaching the true African American experience in classrooms. Support for “Firing Line for Margaret Hoover” is provided by Stephens Inc., Robert Granieri, Charles R. Schwab, The Margaret and Daniel Loeb Foundation, The David Tepper Charitable Foundation Inc., The Fairweather Foundation, The Asness Family Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Craig Newmark Philanthropies, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button and Simmons Family Foundation.


2 Apr 2022

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Rhiannon Giddens - Fiddler, Banjoist, and Singer

Rosin the Bow with Joe McHugh

Grammy and MacArthur award winner Rhiannon Giddens grew up in North Carolina near the city of Greensboro, which is where I interviewed her in 2015 while she was performing at the National Folk Festival. A founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she was trained as an opera singer before her passion for the banjo, fiddle, and folk songs took hold. She has done much to educate the public, as well as fellow musicians, about the contribution African-American musicians have made to the traditional folk music of United States. 


13 Feb 2022

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Going Home With Rhiannon Giddens

World Cafe Words and Music Podcast

In this episode of World Cafe, Rhiannon Giddens discusses the locations that influenced her latest album — They're Calling Me Home — from her hometown of Greensboro, N.C., to her adopted home of Ireland.


23 Jul 2021

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Rhiannon Giddens Comes Home

Broken Record with Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam and Justin Richmond

Rhiannon Giddens is a brilliant fiddle and banjo player who’s one of the few musicians alive today trained in the centuries-old black string band tradition. Giddens is a North Carolina native but now lives in Ireland, not far from her partner Francesco Turrisi. During lockdown, the duo recorded their latest album, They’re Calling Me Home. On today’s episode, Bruce Headlam talks to Giddens about her decision to write from a cultural point of view rather than her own. Giddens also talks about how she has been able to maintain a living connection to the near-extinct black square dance players. And we’ll hear her play a banjo style that originated in West Africa.Subscribe to Broken Record’s YouTube channel to hear all of our interviews:  https://www.youtube.com/brokenrecordpodcast and follow us on Twitter @BrokenRecordYou can also check out past episodes here: https://brokenrecordpodcast.comCheck out a playlist of our favorite Rhiannon Giddens songs HERE. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.


25 May 2021