Rhiannon Giddens named artistic director of Silkroad
July 29, 2020 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Rhiannon Giddens has been named artistic director of Silkroad. Silkroad was founded by Yo-Yo Ma in 1998, and conceived on the question "What happens when strangers meet?". What happened when Rhiannon and Yo-Yo met: They created a piece of music that gives texture to these times.

Rhiannon Giddens performing "there is no Other" at The Met earlier this year. Rhiannon and more performances of "there is no Other", previously.
posted by weft (16 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
OK, so not the darknet location known as silkroad.

I was a bit confused about a blackmarket with an artistic director, though in 2020 who the heck knows.
posted by Canageek at 12:39 PM on July 29 [19 favorites]


I went to see Rhiannon and Francesco Turrisi in February in San Francisco and they were fantastic.
posted by shoesietart at 12:42 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I love both of these people!
posted by amanda at 12:46 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Cripes! What a song.

I, too, love both of these people.
posted by robotmachine at 1:00 PM on July 29


I went to see Rhiannon and Francesco Turrisi in February in San Francisco and they were fantastic.

We got to see them last year in Cambridge, and as amazing as Rhiannon is (which is pretty amazing), Francesco Turrisi was a complete revelation. What a wonderful musician!
posted by briank at 2:33 PM on July 29


I really like Silkroad's version of St James Infirmary Blues featuring both Yo-Yo Ma and Rhiannon Giddens
posted by mbo at 3:08 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


Giddens has done a lot of side projects & collaborations over the years. I made a Spotify playlist of all the one I could find.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:32 PM on July 29 [4 favorites]


She is great. I saw her at the Pritzker Pavilion a couple of years ago; and she brought extra class to an already magnificent outdoor stage.

I was very happy when she was the recipient of a MacArthur Grant. Very, very deserving, IMHO. She also has a podcast on the WNYC umbrella called Aria Code, discussing Arias. She was trained at Oberlin in Opera; so that makes complete sense.

Just a wonderful, wonderful musician. I still am haunted by her performance of a song that was inspired by a Slave Auction advertisement which said that the Woman had a child; and whoever was buying her, the child was "optional". When she introduced the song history before performing it; I was crying.
posted by indianbadger1 at 3:48 PM on July 29 [7 favorites]


I followed Giddens and Turrisi round the south-east of England to see four consecutive gigs on their recent British tour. Every one was stunning, and each had some unique element of its own to set it apart from the others - a change to the set here, a guest trumpeter there. It was a great week, and it breaks my heart to think how long it might be till something like that's possible again.

Oh, and here's the song indianbadger mentioned for anyone who may not have heard it, live form a 2016 gig in Augusta. You can see the ad itself in the song's official video.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:55 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


I sent Build a House to my folks and my uncle partly because the song is beautiful but also in an attempt to repair their YouTube recs. This is one case where just letting YT go on and play after kept getting better. Thanks, weft!
posted by Gotanda at 3:28 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


And here is her recent Tiny Desk Concert from home with Francesco Turrisi.
posted by leslies at 5:46 AM on July 30


Fresh Air had a great interview with Rhinannon Giddens recently.
posted by msbrauer at 9:15 AM on July 30


For anyone interested in learning more about the Silk Road Ensemble and/or Silk Road Project in general, there's a documentary about it: The Music of Strangers. Last I checked, it's available to watch on Amazon Prime in the US.
posted by yasaman at 9:45 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Rhiannon Giddens is better than we even deserve.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:46 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


I followed Giddens and Turrisi round the south-east of England to see four consecutive gigs on their recent British tour. Every one was stunning, and each had some unique element of its own to set it apart from the others - a change to the set here, a guest trumpeter there. It was a great week, and it breaks my heart to think how long it might be till something like that's possible again.

I had the great good fortune to see her twice in the last couple of years here in Toronto (on the Freedom Highway tour and then again with Turrisi). The latter show was at Koerner Hall, which has fantastic acoustics. She went off the set list to sing "Pretty Saro" off mic. The whole show is on Vimeo:

Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi: Originally broadcast on October 24, 2019 at Koerner Hall in Toronto

Her unamplified performance starts around 1 hour, 55 minutes in. It's...wow.

Rhiannon Giddens performing "there is no Other" at The Met earlier this year.

If you don't have the time to watch the whole thing, at least make a point of checking out the first song, "Ten Thousand Voices," in that particular performance, because, well, geez.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:39 PM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Whoa. OMG how did I not know about Rhiannon Giddens?

The St. James Infirmary song reminds me of Danny Elfman. Is that weird? Something about the percussion and the clarinet.

In addition to "At the Purchaser's Option", I recommend Barbados, which connects the way that slavery intertwines with economic decisions with modern times: there's a sense in which we, in our economic decisions -- our "purchaser's options", as it were -- are also supporting slavery. :(
posted by dsquared at 1:44 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


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