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Take a Look Inside Rhiannon Giddens’s Passport

“As a traveling musician it’s easy to be cocooned," she says of touring

by Eden Herbstman

March 28, 2024

Rhiannon Giddens / Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images for Recording Academy

From Dublin’s raucous Vicar Street to folk festivals around the world, Rhiannon Giddens captivates listeners with her global, ever-changing sound. “I’ve toured all over the States, and I’m always taken by how different and similar we are.” The Grammy Award-winning musician, Pulitzer Prize winner and crocheter (“I drive an 11-year-old car, but I’ll spend money on yarn”), who now calls Ireland home, is on tour promoting her latest album, You’re the One. “As a traveling musician it’s easy to be cocooned. When I’m out of town I pick a place to walk to—it’s centering and gives me a feel for the actual city.” Here, her memorable places.

Ireland / Photo: Robin Bush/Photodisc/Getty Images


“I always like to champion Limerick. The Hunt Museum, near King John’s Castle, is amazing, and the Lime Tree Theatre is great. The University of Limerick has a concert hall where I’ve performed. It’s a big draw—people come from all over to learn Irish music and dance. We have quite a cool scene. And I always take folks to Bunratty near Shannon. It’s a beautiful park with a banquet hall in a castle.”

Africa / Photo: Courtesy of Rhiannon Giddens


“I went to the Gambia, and briefly Senegal, to study the akonting, a pre-banjo instrument. The thing that struck me, other than the hospitality and food, was seeing the tradition of mothers carrying babies on their backs. It made me think about how people have been traveling with their families for millennia. It changed how I traveled with my children. We never brought a stroller on tour. It was an impactful trip for me.”

Italy / Photo: Courtesy of Tunatura/istock/Getty Images


“I love Sicily and Naples. We did the Pompeii thing, but oh, my gosh, it’s worth going to see. There were hardly any tourists. I got pictures of it completely empty. We toured the underground catacombs where people hid during WWII. Naples itself is incredible, vibrant but slightly gritty. I’ve gotten to know more of Italy since my partner, Francesco, and I have been together. I now travel with an Italian around Italy—it makes a big difference.”

Juneau, Alaska / Photo: Kathrine Koon John/Unsplash

Juneau, Alaska 

“In my early Chocolate Drops days we played the Folk Festival there—it was explosive. You get such a warm welcome from the people. They’re just ready to move and dance, probably because of the cold! Walking around, you see all these ice sculptures. No one wants to fly to Alaska in the winter, but we always wanted to go. It’s one of my more memorable gigs.”