Courtesy of Darren Hamm
Acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens, OC ’00 stopped by the Oberlin Center for the Arts’ Community Center to play a private show for local high school students last Wednesday. Giddens has an astounding resumé — as an activist, a historian, a Grammy-award winning artist, and an Oberlin alumna.
The event was hosted by the Oberlin Center for the Arts. Female and non-binary high school students from the area were invited to attend the concert and engage with Giddens’ three-piece band.
Director of the Oberlin Center for the Arts Darren Hamm commented on the success of the performance.
“We see Rhiannon Giddens as a messenger for traditions in music, and an ambassador of history and culture,” Hamm wrote in an email to the Review. “We’re proud to provide an opportunity to highlight her work and create a space whereby others can be inspired to pursue leadership roles and to follow in her path.”
Giddens’ work highlights race and gender in the United States. Folk music is a white-dominated genre, and Giddens uses her platform to highlight Black folk narratives.
Brittany Lovett commented on the powerful performance.
“Being in a room full [of] youth from throughout Northeast Ohio that are passionate about music and art, and to watch them learn about who Rhiannon Giddens is and what she represents was magical,” Lovett wrote in an email to the Review. “As a Black Woman, being able to watch another Black Woman teach the next generation about the lost art form of the banjo and early African-American history was fulfilling.”