Rhiannon Giddens Curates Special Program for The North Carolina Folk Festival


Rhiannon Giddens Curates Special Program for The North Carolina Folk Festival

The Program includes music and dance performances, banjo workshop and banjo symposium


07-25-15 Rhiannon Giddens 1_1North Carolina Folk Festival organizers announced the program developed by guest-curator Rhiannon Giddens as part of the 2018 North Carolina Folk Festival. The three-day weekend celebration of America’s roots & heritage will take place in downtown Greensboro September 7 – 9.

To the delight of her many friends and fans, singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens will be returning to her hometown as a performer and guest curator at the 2018 North Carolina Folk Festival. An untiring explorer of, and advocate for traditional music, Giddens achieved national prominence as a founding member of the African American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, whose 2010 album “Genuine Negro Jig” earned the group a Grammy® for Best Traditional Folk Album. Giddens has since gone on to record additional solo albums including “Tomorrow is My Turn”, which was produced by T Bone Burnett and released in 2014. In 2017, Giddens was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in recognition of her ongoing work to reclaim African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present.

The North Carolina Folk Festival invited Giddens to curate several specific programs for the festival. Amy Grossmann, North Carolina Folk Festival Director, says “Rhiannon is an exemplary performer and ambassador for African American string and vocal traditions, with a passion for researching and sharing the complex history of the people who carry on these living traditions. I think she sees her role with the Festival as another artistic opportunity to lend her voice to the story of African American string music while fostering an ongoing appreciation for these traditions. We are thrilled that she accepted our invitation as a guest curator for this year’s festival and we’re incredibly excited about the performers and specialists she is bringing to Greensboro. The program is outstanding.”

Rhiannon Giddens’ program:

Friday, September 7 (Daytime)
Rhiannon Giddens will host a performance and discussion with students at a Guilford County Public School, accompanied by percussionist Francesco Turrisi.

Friday, September 7 (Evening)
Rhiannon Giddens presents an evening of Jazz, Spoken Word, and Tap Dance
Wells Fargo Lawn Stage (Commerce and Bellemeade Streets)
This performance explores the cross-section of jazz and folk music with spoken word and dance. In addition to Giddens, the ensemble will also feature:
·         Francesco Turrisi, percussion and piano
·         Lalenja Harrington, singer, spoken word poet
·         Robyn Watson, tap dancer

Saturday, September 8 (Morning)
Banjo Cultures and Community, Transformations through Time
9am-12pm The Van Dyke (Greensboro Cultural Center), open to the public
This symposium will feature talks and demonstration by leading banjo researchers and scholars, including:
·         Rhiannon Giddens
·         Amythyst Kiah, singer and musician
·         Greg Adams, an assistant archivist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
·         Pete Ross, banjo maker, researcher, and musician
·         Michael Newton, a leading scholar of Scottish Gaelic heritage
·         Kristina Gaddy, author, banjo scholar

·         Dena Jennings, D.O.  an Osteopathic physician of Internal Medicine and builder of banjos and Appalachian instruments


Saturday, September 8 (Afternoon)
Banjo Traditions
Wells Fargo Lawn Stage
This workshop will be facilitated by Greg Adams, an expert of History of Banjo Works at the Library of Congress. Participants are Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Karlie Keepfer (Cabin Creek Boys), Pete Ross, and Kristina Gaddy.

Saturday, September 8 (Late Afternoon)
Roots of American Dance: from Flat Footing to Tap
Wrangler Stage
Expect an exciting, high-energy performance as dancers and musicians collaborate in a workshop that will explore the development and evolution of American dance forms, with a heavy emphasis on flatfooting and percussive dance. Participants include:
·         Rhiannon Giddens (dance, multi-instrumentalist)
·         Matthew Olwell (dance artist)
·         Emily Oleson (dance artist)
·         Robyn Watson (tap dance)
·         Jason Sypher (bass)
·         Eric Robertson (mandolin, multi-instrumentalist)

Saturday, September 8 (Evening)
Rhiannon Giddens
Blue Cross Blue Shield NC City Stage
Rhiannon Giddens and band perform songs from her albums like “Freedom Highway,” “Tomorrow is My Turn,” and more.
·         Francesco Turrisi, percussion and piano
·         Ric Robertson, mandolin, keys, vocals
·         Jason Sypher, bass, vocals
·         Isaac Eady, guitar, vocals

These artists were invited by Rhiannon Giddens and they are performing independently of her on Saturday:
·         Amythyst Kiah, solo
·         Matthew Olwell and Emily Oleson from CyberTrad, fun dance set (Family Stage)
·         Matthew Olwell & CyberTrad, group performance (Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC CityStage)
·         Francesco Turrisi, Hand Drum Master
·         s: World Percussion Traditions workshop with other NC FolkFest percussionists (LeBauer Park Stage)
·         Michael Newton, Gaelic storytelling (Family Stage)
·         Two Community/ Contra Dances with the Hush Puppies (Two sets: Dance Pavilion and at The Van Dyke)

Sunday, September 9 (Afternoon)
Rhiannon Giddens presents Historic Dance Offs: An Improv Interplay between Banjo and Dance
Wells Fargo Lawn Stage
Giddens, accompanied by her bassist and guitar player, will explore the relationship between banjo and dance, including the popularity of dance-offs, a competition between two dancers who must progressively dance better than their opponent.  Other participating artists are:
·         Matthew Olwell and his wife Emily Oleson, with CyberTrad
·         Greg Adams, an assistant archivist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

These artists were invited by Rhiannon Giddens, and they are performing independently of her on Sunday:
·         Amythyst Kiah, solo set (Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC CityStage)
·         Matthew Olwell & CyberTrad (Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC CityStage)

To learn more about these artists and about the N.C. Folk Festival, please visit ncfolkfest.com. The North Carolina Folk Festival will continue to post updates on its Facebook page (facebook.com/NCFolkFestival), Twitter (twitter.com/NCFolkFestival) and Instagram (instagram.com/ncfolkfestival).

About the North Carolina Folk Festival: Produced by ArtsGreensboro with help from the City of Greensboro and many other partners, the North Carolina Folk Festival celebrates its first year in 2018, building on the success of the three-year residency of the National Folk Festival (2015-2017). The FREE admission, three-day weekend is North Carolina’s fastest growing cultural event and will be presented in downtown Greensboro September 7, 8, 9, 2018. ncfolkfestival.com

About ArtsGreensboro: As it has been for more than 50 years, ArtsGreensboro is an arts council and catalyst for connecting the community and building recognition and support for the arts. Through its annual community-wide Campaign for the Arts, it supports more than 50 arts organizations, projects, artists and schools annually. In addition, ArtsGreensboro hosts events and manages facilities – from the North Carolina Folk Festival and Sternberger Artists Center (Summit Avenue), to the collaborative 17DAYS Arts Festival, and the innovative Van Dyke Performance Space. Through all these activities, ArtsGreensboro drives the health and vitality of our community by supporting arts education, celebrating the diversity of Greensboro, and driving economic impact through excellence in arts programming. artsgreensboro.org