Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: They're Calling Me Home (Nonesuch) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, May 23rd, 2022  

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

They’re Calling Me Home


Apr 13, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Recorded in lockdown in Ireland, They’re Calling Me Home is an homage to traditional songs that hold a special place in the hearts of musicians Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi. The duo’s second album in two years features folk songs, lullabies, and spirituals, all of which have been influential to Giddens and Turrisi. Each track is an emotional glimpse of their musical DNA: reworked folk songs and lullabies, refreshed with the virtuosic pulse of two of the world’s finest maestros.

The concept of “home” is at the center of this record, but it’s in the different ideas of home that compose the album’s nervous system. There are, of course, the tracks that are important to Giddens and Turrisi: tracks that represent their musical homes. And then there are the tracks that remind the musicians of their literal homes: for Giddens, that’s North Carolina; for Turrisi, Italy.

“Si Dolce è’l Tormento” is a madrigal from 1624, written by Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi. Here, Giddens delivers a haunting vocal performance, backed by Turrisi’s dark cello banjo. And “Waterbound,” a song that dates back to the 1920s, is incredibly relevant for the distance between Giddens and her physical home: “waterbound and I can’t get home, down to North Carolina” comes the refrain.

The traditional song, “I Shall Not Be Moved,” has a legacy that traces itself back hundreds of years, yet the life that Giddens breathes into the song is fresh and perfectly mapped to lockdown conditions. And the infamous spiritual “Amazing Grace” gets a rendition that bears resemblance to 2019’s Giddens and Turrisi collaboration, There Is No Other, where the duo combined African and Arabic styles over their European and American influence.

Albums like They’re Calling Me Home are so effortlessly masterful, so mesmerizing, that the listener can write them off as easily replicable. But the work of Giddens and Turrisi is unique to them. Utterly perfect in its breadth and message, Home is, indeed, where the heart is. (www.rhiannongiddens.com/with-francesco-turrisi)

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