Renowned folk music artist Rhiannon Giddens just won a Pulitzer Prize for music thanks to her opera Omar, which she composed with Michael Abels. This opera is based on the autobiography of Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved Muslim man who was taken from Senegal and brought to South Carolina. It premiered at the Spoleto Festival USA in 2022 and had its West Coast premiere at Los Angeles Opera in October 2022. The opera closely follows Ibn Said’s life and is performed in two acts. The work received positive reviews, with critics highlighting its powerful storytelling, emotional impact, and spiritual aspects. It will have its New England premiere at Boston Lyric Opera in May 2023.
Just after winning the Pulitzer Prize, Giddens has announced a new solo album, You’re The One, her first full-length made up entirely of original material.
“I hope that people just hear American music,” Giddens said in a statement. “Blues, jazz, Cajun, country, gospel, and rock — it’s all there. I like to be where it meets organically. They’re fun songs, and I wanted them to have as much of a chance as they could to reach people who might dig them but don’t know anything about what I do. If they’re introduced to me through this record, they might go listen to other music I’ve made and make some new discoveries.”
Her newly shared track “You’re the One,” comes from the new album.