Rhiannon Giddens's album there is no Other, recorded with the multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, was produced by Joe Henry and tracked over five days in Dublin. The album is at once a condemnation of "othering" and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity and shared experience. "This is acoustic roots music at its most glorious," exclaims Uncut, "and Giddens is fast becoming the genre's brightest star in the firmament."
Tracing the overlooked movement of sounds from Africa and the Arabic world and their influence on European and American music, there is no Other illuminates the universality of music and the commonality of the human experience. It primarily features only Giddens and Turrisi playing one or two instruments together. The album comprises a mix of original songs penned by Giddens and a diverse set of interpretations ranging from Ola Belle Reed's "Gonna Write Me A Letter" and Oscar Brown, Jr.'s "Brown Baby" to the Italian traditional "Pizzica di San Vito" to the aria "Black Swan" by Gian-Carlo Menotti.
there is no Other was recorded with little editing and overdubbing. Giddens sings and plays minstrel banjo, octave violin and viola. Turrisi plays piano, accordion, frame drum, tamburello, lute, cello banjo, daf and colascione. They are joined on four songs by Kate Ellis on cello. The array of instruments reveal the sonic ties that bind between African, Arabic, European and American cultures.
The double-vinyl edition includes four additional tracks, expanded liner notes, and photos from the recording session.
Rhiannon Giddens is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal bold and candid truths about our present. A MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient, her acclaimed solo albums, Tomorrow Is My Turn (along with the EP Factory Girl, produced by T Bone Burnett) and Freedom Highway, received three Grammy Award nominations; her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops (which she co-founded) received a Grammy in 2010. Giddens is also featured in Ken Burns's Country Music series on PBS. Songs of Our Native Daughters, a collaborative album featuring Giddens that tells the stories of historic black womanhood and survival, was released on Smithsonian Folkways last month to rave reviews.
Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi defies easy categorization. Called "a musical alchemist" by the Irish Times, Turrisi is a Turin-born musician whose Dublin base reflects his global sensibilities. With his unique ability to fold early music, pan-Mediterranean modal melodies, and European flavored jazz into a single repertoire, Turrisi has developed a musical style that crisscrosses cultures and forges musical alliances that are, at once, old and familiar and startlingly brand new. He has performed and recorded with Bobby McFerrin, jazz icon Dave Liebman, early music group l'Arpeggiata, contemporary ensemble Bang on a Can, Irish sean-nós singer Roisin El Safty, and tarantella specialist Lucilla Galeazzi.
She can summon the power of a field holler, Celtic quavers, girlish innocence, bluesy sensuality, gospel exaltation or the pain of slavery. She can sing velvety, long-breathed phrases or rasp and yip like a singer from the backwoods long ago. For all her technical control, her voice is a perpetually soulful marvel.
A a significant talent whose voice and distinctive approach communicate the simmering emotion at the core of the songs...she may prove indispensable.
The singer-cum-musicologist who is happy to be described as 'Beyoncé for nerds' is surely one of America's treasures.
- Double LP
- 4 Additional Tracks
- Expanded liner notes
- Photos from the recording session
|Rhiannon Giddens||vocals, minstrel banjo, octave violin, viola|
|Francesco Turrisi||piano, accordion, frame drum, tamburello, lute, cello banjo, daf, colascione|
- Ten Thousand Voices
- Gonna Write Me A Letter
- Wayfaring Stranger
- there is no Other
- Trees On The Mountains
- Pizzica di San Vito
- Brown Baby
- Briggs' Forró
- Little Margaret
- Black Swan
- I'm On My Way
- He Will See You Through
- Hard Times/Camptown Hornpipe
- Beth Cohen's Set
- As You Wish