Published in StarNews Online · October 25,2018
… Rhiannon Giddens will bring the festival to a stirring close: Cucalorus will end Nov. 11 with two events featuring the acclaimed North Carolina singer, songwiter and MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Rhiannon Giddens. “Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind” (10:30 a.m. Nov. 11, Cameron Art Museum) is John Whitehead’s compelling documentary, years in the making, about Giddens’ groundbreaking group the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who helped revive the history, and the forgotten songs, of African-American string bands. Giddens has a special connection to Wilmington in that she’s working on a musical about the 1898 massacre, when whites took over the Wilmington government, killed many blacks and forced others to leave town under threat of death. “When the Battle’s Over: Songs of 1898” (3 p.m. Nov. 11, Thalian Hall), is being billed as a musical conversation between Giddens and the Wilmington-based writer John Jeremiah Sullivan, who’s writing a profile of Giddens for the New Yorker and an essay for the New York Times Magazine about 1898. They’ll talk, and Giddens will play some of the songs from the upcoming musical on stage for the first time. Its final form is still being determined, but a march and/or vigil honoring the victims of 1898 will follow.