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03.01.2018

Rhiannon Giddens: Keynote Address at Big Ears

“The ability of musicians and artists to cross artificially-created boundaries and mix and mingle and become something new is exemplified in American string band music, the music that gave birth to the Grand Ole Opry; the music without which bluegrass wouldn’t exist.”

It is with great pleasure that we announce the masterful singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens will deliver a keynote address at the historic Tennessee Theatre on Saturday, March 24. The Grammy Award winner and newly-minted MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient has continually captivated us as a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and through her prodigious solo career, expertly integrating elements of gospel, folk, country, and beyond for a breathtaking sound that’s all her own.

On the heels of Giddens’ 2013 T Bone Burnett-curated Another Day, Another Time, The New York Times declared she embodies “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues.” She worked with Burnett once again for her solo debut, 2015’s critically-acclaimed Tomorrow Is My Turn, and has since dazzled us with last year’s Freedom Highway — a centuries-spanning narrative on the horrific yet resilient African American experience. To witness Giddens speaking her truth in “the South’s most beautiful theater” is a rare experience that we cannot wait to share with you during the festival weekend.

In the coming days and weeks, we will reveal the full lineup of fascinating panels, discussions, and workshops at this year’s festival. We invite you to bring an open mind and let your curiosity run wild during this four-day weekend sprinkled with thought-provoking educational and literary events such as these. Stay tuned…