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In Lara Downes' New Series, Black Musicians Rise To A Pivotal Moment


In the first episode of Amplify With Lara Downes, the pianist (left) speaks with singer-songwriter, banjo player and MacArthur "genius" Rhiannon Giddens. Photo by Areon Mobasher / Courtesy of the artists.

Amplify with Lara Downes is a new series with NPR Music in which the renowned pianist speaks with Black musicians who are having a creative awakening during our current times of unrest and transformation. In this interview with Ari Shapiro for NPR, Downes speaks about this new series and 'being creative' under tumultuous circumstances. Downes highlights the importance of the stories and histories that are stored in Black musical traditions and their need to be shared and remembered now more than ever.

“Rebirth comes out of devastation. This is a time of so much tragedy and loss, and I think that in the moment that we are losing so many things that we know, we are creating new things. That's been something really fascinating to me about this time, because I've seen it happening since the beginning. Since everything shut down, new things have opened up.”