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XPN Fest Recap: Rhiannon Giddens’ commanding set radiates strength and hope

Rihannon Giddens | photo by Wendy McCardle for WXPN

At first listen, Rhiannon Giddens‘ music seems like an amalgamation of completely separate genres. Elements of blues and folk music fuse with banjo-filled bluegrass on her latest album, Freedom Highway, for an eclectic blend of backgrounds. But in reality, these genres are all connected through its African roots.

It’s a connection that’s not very prominent, as folk and bluegrass is commonly associated with America –particularly white America –so hearing Giddens weave a different kind of narrative, which blends these sounds and stories together to reclaim its true roots is truly an amazing and powerful thing. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mirah at Boot & Saddle, Sea Offs at The Barbary, Rhiannon Giddens at World Cafe Live

mirah
Mirah | photo courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia-born musician Mirah returns to her hometown for a show at Boot & Saddle tonight. She brings with her a catalog of effervescent pop jems, like those found on 2014’s Changing Light – her most recent release. Watch “No Direction Home” from that LP below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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Rhiannon Giddens delivers a stunning set at The Grand

Rihannon Giddens | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com
Rihannon Giddens | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com

Historian. Feminist. Folklorist. Re-appropriator. Carolina Chocolate Drop. These are some of Rhiannon Giddens’ attributes. They certainly do not even begin to tell the story of her musicianship and towering live presence, let alone her ability to lead a brilliant backing band. On Friday at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House, Giddens delivered a live show not soon to be forgotten. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Gathering feat. Rhiannon Giddens at Sellersville Theatre, Young Statues with Heartwell at the Barbary, Slingshot Dakota at The Fire, John Fullbright at the Tin Angel, Antibalas at Union Transfer

XPN Welcomes a Holiday Concert with The Gathering featuring Rhiannon Giddens at Sellersville tonight. The string band’s enchanting harmonies weave a different set of carols to celebrate the yuletide. The Gathering, which is Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Laurelyn Dossett, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry, and Jason Sypher, started playing together in 2011 as a seasonal project of the North Carolina Symphony. Their reputation escalated and they were soon being commissioned for more performances, finding their own among the embrace of holiday tours. Tickets for tonight’s all-ages performances can be found here; below, watch the band perform “Breaking Up Christmas.”

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