Songs of Our Native Daughters

Songs of Our Native Daughters

The late 2010s have been a boom time for women forming supergroups in the name of mutual admiration, solidarity, or common mission. Some enjoy greater visibility than others, but none has greater historic significance than Our Native Daughters, made up of four women of color—Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah—who all perform roots music on banjo and found each other in the folk scene. Invited by Giddens to the remote bayou studio of her co-producer Dirk Powell to write and record together, the four members reclaimed and reimagined old tunes, styles, and stories, many dating back to the enslavement of African people, recentering them on the perspectives and multifaceted survival strategies of black women. Each of the contributors brings a different sound, spirit, and texture into the circle—from dignified satire (“Barbados”) to sinewy defiance (“Black Myself”), spryly syncopated revelry (“Music and Joy”) to supple reverence (“Quasheba, Quesheba”)—for a collective work as loose, lively, and welcoming as it is tenacious.

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