Formidable singer, musician, and storyteller Rhiannon Giddens performs with collaborator Francesco Turrisi
They won the 2022 Grammy for Best Folk Album for their stirring work, “They’re Calling Me Home;” now music maven Rhiannon Giddens and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi come to the Moss Arts Center to share the exultant sounds from the ballads, folk songs, and lullabies of their native and adoptive countries of America, Italy, and Ireland.
The duo takes the stage of the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m.
Co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops and MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient, Giddens creates music that excavates the past and reveals bold truths about the present. She and Turrisi recorded “They’re Calling Me Home” during the COVID-19 lockdown in Ireland, where they both live when not on tour. The two expats found themselves exploring the emotions brought up by the moment and decamped to a small studio on a working farm outside of Dublin to record the 12-track album over six days.
“They’re Calling Me Home” speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the tragic realities for so many during the COVID-19 crisis. The album is the follow-up to Giddens’ 2019 work with Turrisi, “there is no Other,” which earned the duo a Grammy nomination.
Giddens’ lifelong mission is to lift up people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been erased and to work toward a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins. Among her many diverse career highlights, Giddens has performed for the Obamas at the White House, served as a Carnegie Hall Perspectives curator, and received an inaugural Legacy of Americana Award from Nashville’s National Museum of African American History in partnership with the Americana Music Association. Her critical acclaim includes in-depth profiles by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” among many others.
Giddens is featured in Ken Burns’ “Country Music” series, which aired on PBS in 2019, discussing the African American origins of country music. She is also a member of the band Our Native Daughters with three other Black female banjo players, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah. (The Moss presented concerts by McCalla and Kiah in its 2020-21 season.)
Named artistic director of Silkroad in 2020, Giddens is developing new programs for the organization, including one inspired by the history of the American transcontinental railroad and the cultures and music of its builders. She recently wrote the music to an original ballet for Nashville Ballet, “Lucy Negro Redux” (premiered in 2019), and the libretto and music for an original opera, “Omar,” based on the autobiography of the enslaved man Omar ibn Said, which premiered at the Spoleto USA Festival in June.
Currently performing on piano, accordion, harpsichord, organ, various lutes, cello banjo, and frame and goblet drums, Turrisi is equally at home playing jazz as he is Irish traditional songs and Italian tarantella.
Turrisi has released five critically acclaimed albums as a leader and two as co-leader — “Tarab,” a cross- boundary innovative ensemble that blends Irish and Mediterranean traditional music and “Zahr,” a project that looks at connections between southern Italian traditional music and Arabic music. His latest piano solo album, “Northern Migrations,” features original solo piano compositions and improvisations exploring the 10-year journey of an Italian pianist from the heart of the Mediterranean to the North of Europe.
Turrisi has toured with Bobby McFerrin, interpreted the music of Steve Reich with Bang on a Can All-Stars, and accompanied flamenco star Pepe El Habichuela and Greek singer Savina Yannatou.
This performance is supported in part by gifts from Laurence W. Carstensen and Patricia Hart Carstensen and Dr. E. Fred Carlisle and Mrs. Elizabeth A. Obenshain.
Tickets for the performance are $20-$45 for the general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
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If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org during regular business hours.