Sunday, 2 April 2017


Image result for rhiannon giddens
There was a tiny little piece on the news on Thursday about a woman in Kuwait who filmed her maid committing suicide.
As opposed to trying to save her.
No-one would have known except she posted the video on social media. The maid, an Ethiopian girl trapped like a slave inside the 7th Floor apartment had apparently decided that death was a better prospect than being treated like a dog.
Apparently there are 600000 such maids in the oil-rich Gulf State.

Rhiannon Giddens is touring the UK at the moment; she is in Edinburgh tonight. She used to be lead singer, violinist, banjo player [and founder member] of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. They toured here twice but tickets seemed to get sold out in hours, so I have never seen them, or her, play. She was interviewed on the radio last night and curiously she has a big feature piece in this month’s Oxford American. So . . . it’s Rhiannon Giddens month.

At the beginning of March, I downloaded her new solo album, At the Purchaser’s Option after hearing her song Julie from the same album played on Late Junction. On the radio last night she was asked about the title song, At the Purchaser’s Option. She said it referred to something she found in the archives when she was researching stories for her album and related in particular to a young black female slave who was being auctioned for sale. She was pregnant and the For-Sale notice stated that whether to keep the child after it was born was at . . . the purchaser’s option.
When the bleeding heart interviewing her remarked on how shocking it all was and how appalling the mechanics of slavery were, she responded quick as a flash, ‘it’s still happening now’.

I’ve tried to post a Link to her singing Miss Julie on Youtube but my links frequently fail so if this collapses, try:

According to Susan Rose it’s based on a real incident [The Slaves War by Andrew Ward p47]. That’s a fretless banjo, by the way.



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