Rhiannon Giddens will be a major presence at this fall’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh — just announced as this year’s keynote speaker.
Giddens, 40, is a Greensboro native and one of the fastest-rising stars in the Americana universe. Fresh from a star turn in the fifth season of the acclaimed television drama “Nashville,” the Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder also has a Grammy Award to her credit and is the 2016 winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
“I had no idea I was even in consideration,” Giddens said last year about winning the Martin prize. “It feels like some pretty great recognition from such great players and advocates, but it’s not even about me. It’s more about the style of banjo that I champion, which is very different from bluegrass. History is a big part of it, and for me this is another step toward tying us back together.”
Giddens will deliver the keynote address on Sept. 26, which is opening day of the International Bluegrass Music Association business conference that begins World of Bluegrass. The event includes the “Bluegrass Ramble” of nightclub shows; the Sept. 28 IBMA Awards, co-hosted this year by Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn; and the Sept. 29-30 Wide Open Bluegrass main-stage shows at Red Hat Amphitheater.
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Although Giddens is not scheduled to perform live during IBMA, she does have a show coming up at the NC Museum of Art Aug. 9.