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JPR Live Session: Rhiannon Giddens

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Rhiannon Giddens
Claire Harbage
Rhiannon Giddens

The Grammy winner and McArthur 'Genius' award-winner joined us from her home in Ireland to play a few songs from the new album she recorded with her partner Francesco Turrisi called They're Calling Me Home.

Inspired by the emotional environment of a global pandemic, They're Calling Me Home offers up a collection of songs that touch on the themes of home and death. Pairing her background in traditional American folk (and European opera, incidentally), and her partner Francesco Turrisi's background as an evocative jazz performer, the album somehow seamlessly blends their two disparate styles into a comfortable whole.

Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and she has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator, including her previous album (also with Turrisi) called there is no Other.

During the session, Giddens talked about life in Ireland and her realization that she's become a permanent resident there, and not just a regular visitor. She also discussed the role of "minstrel music" in American folk music, and the particular style of banjo she plays most regularly.

As FM Network Program Director and Music Director, Eric oversees many aspects of JPR's broadcast day. He still hosts the occasional Open Air or classical music shift, and is the driving force behind JPR Live Sessions - our popular series of live in-studio music performances and conversations.