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Our Native Daughters tackle “harrowing” tales of American racism on debut LP ‘Songs of Our Native Daughters,’ Out Today

February 23, 2019

Today, Our Native Daughters — the collaboration of Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell and Amythyst Kiah — deliver ‘Songs of Our Native Daughters’ via Smithsonian Folkways. This 13-track collection is heartbreaking, groundbreaking and simultaneously gutting and hopeful, while confronting the tribulations of African American women with authority and pride. 

In bringing to light the specific experience of black women through the beautiful music and writing of contemporary black female musicians, the album finds new touchstones in the story of American racism. Collectively, the sonic vulnerability and resilience is “harrowing” (NPR).

Here’s what critics are saying:

“an artistic mission to supplant the portrayals of slavery as an abstract, ancient sin with the imaginative, immersive contemplation of its individual human impact and aftermath” – NPR

“their music is an act of reclamation… [offering] a glimpse of the strength and solidarity necessary in dark times” – TIME

“devastating beauty from banjo supergroup… what Giddens and her cohorts have managed to create is a record of great importance and exceptional beauty, its darker moments countered by points of bright wonder” – The Guardian (5 star review) 

“speaks truth to false narratives about racism and slavery” – Garden & Gun 

“It’s exciting to find a project like this that puts a spotlight on the often overlooked history of Black women in America” – Refinery29

“[an album] we so desperately need” – No Depression 

“the album’s slow-burning standout… a hymn of lament and veneration to an ancestor” – Rolling Stone (on “Quesheba, Quesheba”)

“the simmering defiance of self-respect in the face of racism” – NPR (on “Black Myself”)

Songs of Our Native Daughters Track List: 
1. Black Myself (feat. Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla & Allison Russell)
2. Moon Meets the Sun (feat. Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah & Allison Russell)
3. Barbados (feat. Rhiannon Giddens)
4. Quasheba, Quasheba (feat. Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla & Allison Russell)
5. I Knew I Could Fly (feat. Leyla McCalla & Allison Russell)
6. Polly Ann’s Hammer (feat. Rhiannon Giddens & Amythyst Kiah)
7. Mama’s Cryin’ Long (feat. Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla & Allison Russell)
8. Slave Driver (feat. Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla & Allison Russell)
9. Better Git Yer Learnin’ (feat. Rhiannon Giddens)
10. Lavi Difisil (feat. Leyla McCalla)
11. Blood and Bones (feat. Rhiannon Giddens & Amythyst Kiah)
12. Music and Joy (feat. Rhiannon Giddens)
13. You’re Not Alone (feat. Rhiannon Giddens & Allison Russell)

Rhiannon Giddens, who co-produced the album with Dirk Powell, has a number of other projects slated for 2019 including the Nashville Ballet’s production of ‘Lucy Negro Redux,’ which Rhiannon scored the music for and just premiered in Nashville. She will be performing at the Big Ears Festival (where the ballet will also be performed), is featured in Ken Burns’ Country Music series coming to PBS this fall, with more to be announced.

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