Rhiannon Giddens – They’re Calling Me Home (with Francesco Turrisi) (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 45:49 minutes | 903 MB | Genre: Folk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Nonesuch
Rhiannon Giddens’ new album They’re Calling Me Home, recorded with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, will be released April 9 on Nonesuch Records. Giddens and Turrisi, who both live in Ireland when they aren’t on tour, have been there since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The two expats found themselves drawn to the music of their native and adoptive countries of America, Italy, and Ireland during lockdown. Exploring the emotions brought up by the moment, Giddens and Turrisi decamped to Hellfire, a small studio on a working farm outside of Dublin, to record these songs over six days. The result is They’re Calling Me Home, a twelve-track album that speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis.
They’re Calling Me Home features several traditional songs that Giddens hasn’t played for years, including some of the first old-time pieces she ever learned: “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Black As Crow (Dearest Dear)” and “Waterbound.” The album also includes a new song Giddens wrote, “Avalon,” as well as an Italian lullaby, “Nenna Nenna,” that Turrisi used to sing to his infant daughter that took on new resonance during the lockdown.Giddens says of Alice Gerrard, the folk music pioneer, who wrote “Calling Me Home”: “Some people just know how to tap into a tradition and an emotion so deep that it sounds like a song that has always been around — Alice Gerrard is one of those rarities; ‘Calling Me Home’ struck me forcefully and deeply the first time I heard it, and every time since. This song just wanted to be sung and so I listened.”They’re Calling Me Home also includes two well known songs about death: “Amazing Grace” and “O Death.”The minstrel banjo, accordion and frame drums that have become characteristic of the pair’s sound are well represented on the album, but it’s the viola and cello banjo combination that captures unexpected emotion and intensity. Joining them at key moments are Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu and Irish traditional musician Emer Mayock on flute, whistle, and pipes. Engineer Ben Rawlins was key to the shape and sound of the record while Giddens and Turrisi produced and Kim Rosen mastered.
It seems a long time ago that Rhiannon Giddens was exploring the history of old-timey black American music with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. With success and the passing of the years, it has in a way freed itself from the history that makes it up, but only in part. We are not going to confuse Rhiannon and Rhianna yet: it is still traditional music that interests her, but no longer only that of the USA. A meeting with Francesco Turrisi, who became her partner, was surely decisive here. Italian living in Ireland, Turrisi is a multi-instrumentalist with a contemporary and panoramic view of traditional music. In 2019, Francesco and Rhiannon released their first album together, There Is No Other. Fast forward to 2021 and they are pleased to announce the birth of the second, They’re Calling Me Home.
Conceived in Ireland during confinement, They’re Calling Me Home is the album of a couple-duet deprived of travels, but not of dreams. The repertoire consists partly of traditional American and Irish songs, polyphonic Italian songs and original compositions. But it is above all Ireland that sings and enchants here. We hear its landscapes and its culture in a flute, a drum, a bagpipe, a violin. Neither Rhiannon Giddens nor Francesco Turrisi are from Irish stock themselves, yet they are at home here, perfectly at ease on the invisible border between traditional and world music. – Stéphane Deschamps
1. Calling Me Home
3. Si dolce e’l tormento
4. I Shall Not Be Moved
5. Black As Crow
6. O Death
7. Niwel Goes To Town
8. When I Was In My Prime
10. Bully For You
11. Nenna Nenna
12. Amazing Grace