I Shall Not Be Moved - Rhiannon Giddens

by David Bandrowski

We've long been big fans of Rhiannon Giddens' work here at Deering Banjos. Whether it be with her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops or her solo work, she has a unique way of digging deeply into traditional tunes and pulling out all of its meaning and emotion.

On her 2021 release They're Calling Me Home with Francesco Turrisi she featured the traditional tune I Shall Not Be MovedI Shall Not Be Moved is an African American spiritual hymn that dates back to the early 19th century and became very popular during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It has been widely recorded by artists such as Mississippi John Hurt, Johnny Cash, Ella Fitzgerald, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and many more. 

Just last month she released a video of her and Fracesco Turrisi performing it for The Dream Show and Rhiannon talks about how she learned it when she was first starting out from the African American fiddler Joe Thompson. Joe was a community musician and served his community through playing music. And as Rhiannon points out when she performs this song, she thinks of the idea of purpose, service, and community.

Just as the world is encountering the beginning of another senseless war I feel that the message of this song, and the message that Rhiannon talks about - purpose, service, and community are even more important. How can we all do better to serve and contribute to our communities?

Just like a tree that's growin' in the meadow (down by the water)
I shall not be moved

We were lucky to feature Rhiannon on Deering Live last year. Click here to see the episode!

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