Keynotes and General Sessions

Keynote Address: Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens

Award Winning Musician, Singer-songwriter,
Historian, Playwright, and Podcaster

Rhiannon Giddens is a GRAMMY winning founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, GRAMMY nominated Songs of Our Native Daughters, and a class of 2017 MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant recipient. Recently Rhiannon has composed the music for the Nashville Ballet’s Lucy Negro Redux and has been commissioned by the Spoleto Festival to create a new opera based on the autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim-African man who was enslaved in 1807.

Rhiannon’s most recent solo album there is no Other is a collaboration with Francesco Turrisi on Nonesuch Records, blending Arabic, European, and African American musical influences. Songs of Our Native Daughters is a collaboration on Smithsonian Records featuring Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell, that addresses issues of slavery, misogyny, and racism.

“Rhiannon’s album Freedom Highway, included songs she wrote based on slave narratives. That album from 2017 also included a song called “Better Get It Right The First Time,” which sadly couldn’t be more timely, (written) in response to police shootings of young black men who weren’t committing crimes.”—NPR interview with Terry Gross

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