LJMS Brings Silkroad & Rhiannon Giddens’ “American Railroad” Debut To San Diego
La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) will bring Silkroad Ensemble and Rhiannon Giddens’ debut concert tour of American Railroad to San Diego on Friday, November 10, 2023, as part of its 2023–24 Winter Season.
The multi-year American Railroad initiative is the organization’s most ambitious project to date, conceived by Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens.
Beginning on November 5, 2023, GRAMMY Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Giddens and the GRAMMY Award-winning Silkroad Ensemble will embark on a multi-city U.S. tour, with performances and corresponding educational activities focused in areas with notable railroad-related cultural history.
The tour program includes three new commissions by Cécile McLorin Salvant, Suzanne Kite, and Silkroad artist Wu Man, as well as re-envisioned arrangements by Giddens and fellow Silkroad artists Haruka Fujii and Maeve Gilchrist.
The American Railroad Project
“The American Railroad project has been years in the making, and the program we’ve created for our first tour is only the beginning. In it, we shed light on those who have been erased or overlooked throughout American history and merge with it Silkroad’s unique ability to amplify voices from a multitude of backgrounds and cultures.”
“The result is a tapestry of stories, traditions, and musics that have shaped our multifaceted cultural identity, and that must be heard and recognized. I hope audiences in the D.C. area and across California will leave these performances with a clearer sense of where we come from, how we got here, what it cost us—and that we collectively reflect on where we’re headed,” said Giddens.
After the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, a trip from coast to coast that used to take months was shortened to just under a week, allowing for the transport of goods and ideas across the continent in ways previously inconceivable.
Profit-seeking corporations and the American government financed it, but the people who actually built it and who were most affected by it are the focus of this program—Indigenous and African Americans as well Irish, Chinese, Japanese, and other immigrant laborers whose contributions have been largely erased from history.
Silkroad’s American Railroad seeks to right these past wrongs by highlighting untold stories and amplifying unheard voices from these communities, painting a more accurate picture of the global diasporic origin of the American Empire.
The project—three years in the making—represents Giddens’ vision for Silkroad, she having first raised the idea early in her tenure as Artistic Director. In addition to the upcoming tour, American Railroad will include multidisciplinary components ranging from site-specific visual installations to an album, a documentary series, and curricular materials for use by educators and the public.
2023 American Railroad Tour Roster
Rhiannon Giddens, banjo/vocals
Mazz Swift, violin/vocals
Wu Man, pipa
Sandeep Das, tabla
Haruka Fujii, percussion
Shawn Conley, bass
Karen Ouzounian, cello/vocals
Kaoru Watanabe, Japanese flutes/percussion
Michi Wiancko, violin
Francesco Turrisi, frame drums/accordion Niwel Tsumbu, guitar
Pura Fé Crescioni, lap-steel guitar/voice Yazhi Guo, suona
Info and Tickets
You can learn lots more at the Silkroad Ensemble website here.
La Jolla Music Society will present American Railroad at the Balboa Theatre in Downtown San Diego, on Friday, November 10, at 7:30PM. Tickets are on sale now. Please click here to purchase.
See you there, San Diego!