Rhiannon Giddens Longs for Her Life Before on “Waterbound”

Filmed between the shores of Ireland and a recording session at a small studio, with old family photos mixed in, Rhiannon Giddens and multi-instrumentalist Franceso Turrisi pulled together the visuals around their own reimagining of “Waterbound,” a traditional fiddle-driven song, originally recorded in the 1920s.

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Off Giddens’ upcoming album, They’re Calling Me Home, out April 9 on Nonesuch Records, “Waterbound” is threaded around the concept of loneliness and isolation, mirroring many individual’s reality in these current times. The longing for the comforts of home and family is palpable in its refrain of Waterbound, and I can’t get home, down to North Carolina.

Both expats, Giddens, a classically trained opera singer from North Carolina and Turrisi, a native of Italy, have been residing in Ireland since March 2020, following the pandemic, and found themselves drawn to the musical roots in America, Ireland, and Italy during the lockdown. Their musical nostalgia led the duo to record the entirety of They’re Calling Me Home, a follow up to Giddens’ 2019 release with Turrisi, there is no Other,  in six days, with first single, the Alice Gerrard-penned “Calling Me Home.”

Rhiannon Giddens an Francesco Turrisi (Photo Karen Cox)

Throughout 2020, music has continuously kept Giddens rooted in reality, and on March 10, she will host a third season of Aria Code, an opera podcast from The Metropolitan Opera and WQXR and will continue to release several of the 12 tracks of They’re Calling Me Home.

“Waterbound” is a song of the time with the desire to belong and be with others once again comes from all-too familiar place.

“‘Waterbound’ is a song I learned a long time ago and it brings me forcefully home to North Carolina when I sing it,” says Giddens, “and considering that I am, indeed ‘Waterbound’, and have been for a long time, it’s a rare moment when a folk song represents exactly my situation in time.”

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