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Wednesday, August 07 2019
Smithsonian Folkways Releases

Songs of Our Native Daughters shines new light on African-American women’s stories of struggle, resistance, and hope. Pulling from and inspired by 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century sources, including slave narratives and early minstrels, kindred banjo players Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell reinterpret and create new works from old ones. With unflinching, razor-sharp honesty, they confront sanitized views about America’s history of slavery, racism, and misogyny from a powerful, black female perspective. These songs call on the persistent spirits of the daughters, mothers, and grandmothers who have fought for justice – in large, public ways – only now being recognized, and in countless domestic ways that will most likely never be acknowledged. 52 minutes, 36-page booklet with lyrics.

"Alli and I co-wrote the lyrics to this song, thinking of discrimination and how it has shaped our American experience; as we were writing the words, we realized that they could equally apply to the life and legacy of Etta Baker. I used to practice guitar to Etta Baker’s album Railroad Bill. Etta was a Piedmont blues guitarist. She gave up much of her public performing after her marriage in 1936 and the subsequent birth of her nine children. She later told the National Endowment for the Arts that her husband didn’t want her “to be gone away from home, but he loved my music.” A few years after her husband’s death in 1967 she began to concentrate more on playing the blues. In 1991, she was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.

Leyla McCalla

NPR Names Songs of Our Native Daughters One of 2019's Best Albums So Far

NPR has named Songs of Our Native Daughters one of the Best Albums of 2019 So Far, and we couldn't agree more.

They say that banjo phenoms Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah, and Leyla McCalla have "answered to the trend of fedora-and-suspenders-clad white folksingers, by dropping this stunner of a folk collection. Each exquisitely performed tune has been pulled from — or inspired by — deep, overlooked, oppressed black tradition. It is best heard by listening closely."

Learn more about this recording and to order your own DVD or Download, visit 

Source: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings  [Website]

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