Saturday, November 7, 2020

Quote of the Day (Rhiannon Giddens, on the Early Mix of African- and Irish-American Music)

“Before emancipation, musicians were often the slaves. Because it was seen as a service…and when you think about who was mixing these tunes, it wasn’t just the immigrants…you had all these black musicians who knew Scottish tunes, who knew Irish airs. The story of the black string band is often forgotten…that’s what’s interesting to me as a black American living in Ireland. What is fascinating to me is people who were not considered ‘white’ when they came to the United States, how their music integrated into what became American music. This is what I feel Ireland has a huge piece of.”—American musician Rhiannon Giddens, lead singer, fiddle player, and banjo player in the Carolina Chocolate Drops—and part-time resident of Limerick, Ireland—interviewed by Chris Keenan in “Rhiannon Giddens…Planning for the Future of Irish Culture,” in Irish Music Magazine, September 2019

I first became aware of Rhiannon Giddens, a 2017 recipient of the MacArthur “genius” grant, on a PBS broadcast this past year. The article I quoted from above gives a strong idea of her deep appreciation for the overseas roots of folk and country music.

But to grasp the rapture people feel for her work, it’s best to see or hear her perform live. In this YouTube clip of the Carolina Chocolate Drops at Floydfest 2011, Giddens plays the fiddle sensationally, then lays down her instrument for a minute or so, only to bring the house down dancing.

No comments: