Congratulations to Rhiannon Giddens on her Grammy Award win for Best Folk Album for They're Calling Me Home. Giddens was also nominated for Best American Roots Song for “Avalon” from They’re Calling Me Home, which she made with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Giddens is now a 2-time winner and an 8-time nominee. On Wednesday, Giddens will also perform at Paul Simon’s tribute concert “Homeward Bound: A Grammy Salute to the Songs of Paul Simon,” alongside Brandi Carlile, Brad Paisley, Billy Porter, Dave Matthews, and Paul Simon himself.
The Grammy award-winning album, released by Nonesuch last April, has been widely celebrated by the NY Times, NPR Music, NPR, Rolling Stone, People, Associated Press and far beyond, with No Depression deeming it “a near perfect album…her finest work to date.” Recorded over six days in the early phase of the pandemic in a small studio outside of Dublin, Ireland - where both Giddens and Turrisi live - They’re Calling Me Home manages to effortlessly blend the music of their native and adoptive countries: America, Italy, and Ireland. The album speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death.
Giddens is in the midst of a tremendous 2022. She recently announced the publication of her first book, Build a House. Written as a song to commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, Build a House is boldly illustrated by painter Monica Mikai, and tells the moving story of a people who would not be moved and the music that sustained them. Steeped in sorrow and joy, resilience and resolve, turmoil and transcendence, this dramatic debut offers a proud view of history and a vital message for readers of all ages: honor your heritage, express your truth, and let your voice soar, even—or perhaps especially—when your heart is heaviest. It will be released this fall.
2022 also includes the long-awaited world premiere of her opera, Omar, and the very first tour of the Lucy Negro Redux ballet which is happening now and which Giddens composed the score for. Omar is based on the life and autobiography of enslaved Muslim American Omar Ibn Said, forcefully brought to Charleston, S.C. from Africa in 1807. Read more about Omar in these pieces in the NY Times and Garden & Gun. Lucy Negro Redux is a ballet based on a book of poetry by Nashville writer Caroline Randall Williams that explores a character referred to as the "Dark Lady" in Shakespeare's sonnets. See below for her upcoming itinerary.