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Rhiannon Giddens Biography

Rhiannon Giddens is an American singer, violinist and banjo player. She is known for her work as a founding member of the Grammy-awarded country & blues band Carolina Chocolate Drops. As a solo artist, she released 2 albums: Tomorrow Is My Turn (2015) and Freedom Highway (2017). Moreover, she won BBC Radio’s Folk Singer of the Year award. Giddens also received the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. 

Early Career

In 2005, Giddens met Dom Flemons and Sule Greg Wilson and they started to perform together as a “postmodern string band”. Simultaneously, Giddens was part of a Celtic music band – Gaelwynd. In fact, by the end of 2005, both bands released albums.

Solo Career

In 2013, Giddens performed at the Another Day, Another Time concert inspired by the film Inside Llewyn Davis. The event caught the eye of many critics who loved Giddens. After that, she created a track for the activist-related compilationWe Are Not For Sale: Songs of Protest. Consequently, another compilation came in 2014. For Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes Giddens recorded with Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith and Jim James. It is a collection of unreleased lyrics Bob Dylan.

In 2015, Giddens released her debut album, Tomorrow Is My Turn. Wall Street Journal  gave it a highly positive review. They called the artist “a significant talent whose voice and distinctive approach communicate the simmering emotion at the core of the songs”. Additionally, she was featured on Jon Lindsay’s controversial single Ballad of Lennon Lacy. On that year’s Black Friday she ironically released an EP called Factory Girl. 

In 2016 she joined the Transatlantic Sessions, a series of musical productions. The ensemble toured the UK and Ireland. Especially relevant is her performance of the heart-warming tribute to David Bowie, It Ain’t Easy. In 2017, her latest album peaked on several charts from Europe and the US. Above all, it ranked number 8 on Billboard’s US Folk Albums.


Photo credits: Wear Your Voice Magazine