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Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon and Olivia Chaney
Delving into the American and international folk songbook, Kronos Quartet teams up for the first time with four of the most celebrated roots artists within the Nonesuch family—Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney—to create entirely new arrangements of classic folk songs.
For four decades, the San Francisco chamber ensemble Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, they have become one of the most influential groups of our time, performing and collaborating with many of the world’s most eclectic composers and performers. Kronos has released more than 50 recordings and commissioned more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet.
Multi-platinum artist Natalie Merchant has long been appreciated for the depth and substance of her writing, since her days as the lead vocalist, lyricist, and pianist of the seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. Her 2010 solo album, Leave Your Sleep, was called “an ideal fit between poetic and musical forms” by The Wall Street Journal, and her sixth solo recording, her first album of entirely original songs in 13 years, was released by Nonesuch Records in May.
Rhiannon Giddens is a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and continues to garner acclaim as a virtuosic singer, fiddler, and banjo player. Her electrifying performance celebrating the music from Inside Llewyn Davis, prompted the Los Angeles Times to call her “a star in waiting.” Her debut solo album, produced by T Bone Burnett, is due out on Nonesuch in late 2014.
Vermont native Sam Amidon’s distinct gift is to rework traditional melodies into a striking new form that is all his own, which prompted Pitchfork to call them “so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.” His 2013 Nonesuch debut, Bright Sunny South, expresses a broad view of what constitutes folk tradition, featuring re-arrangements of Mariah Carey’s “Shake It Off” and a take on Tim McGraw’s ”My Old Friend.”
The London-based singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney has built a loyal and growing following since her self-released eponymous debut EP in 2013. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist and accomplished lyricist and vocalist was nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards—the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Artist and Best Original Song for “Swimming in the Longest River”—and her Nonesuch debut is set for release in the coming year.