Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Rhiannon Giddens writes Article for the Guardian

Giddens a two time Grammy award winner and former Fiddle Tunes and Voice Works Faculty member, recently wrote an article for The Guardian

Here is a selection of that Article, to read the rest click here.

What is country music? Who is allowed to play it? Whenever a Black artist puts out a country song the judgment, comments, and opinions come thick and fast. “That’s not real country!” “That’s cultural appropriation.” “She needs to stay in her lane.” Or, as Dukes of Hazzard actor John Schneider so charmingly stated in a discussion earlier this month: “You know, every dog has to mark every tree, right?”

All of these comments, which range from simply ignorant to downright misogynoir, presuppose that commercial country music – a music of guitars, banjos, and fiddles; of pick-up trucks, heartbreak and that down-home lonesome sound – is a legacy that belongs only to white, rural southerners. And that supposition is just plain wrong.

Real history is messy and complicated. To get to the truth we need to rewind back to centuries before Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash – to the music created by enslaved people and a recording industry set upon segregation. Enslaved people of the African diaspora created the banjo in the Caribbean in the 1600s. This is historical fact. They also played other stringed instruments (such as the violin) and, whether enslaved or free, Black string bands became the de facto entertainment and dance bands of European societies from Barbados to Monticello to Rhode Island; from balls to banquets to political rallies. These musicians mixed with poor people of all colours and ethnicities who brought their own musical traditions into the mix over generations to create a truly American folk music….


Giddens returning to Centrum this August for the 2024 Gala, will be on tour this April- August. So if you can’t make it back to Fort Worden to hear this this Faculty Alum, you can see where else she’ll be here

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