A name that’s likely to be relatively new to readers of Americana UK is Amythyst Kiah, who has recently collaborated as part of a feted supergroup of four banjo players under the moniker, Our Native Daughters.
Hailing from Johnson City Tennessee, Amythyst Kiah describes herself as a Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer-songwriter whose influences span decades and a number of diverse styles, including rhythm and blues, country and old-time covers, alongside original songs with a contemporary twist. Channelled through her expressive voice, which has been compared to Tracy Chapman, Amythyst Kiah has been called one of the most exciting, emerging talents in the roots genre.
Our Native Daughters, her recent collaboration with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell (Birds of Chicago), has delivered a full-length album produced by Dirk Powell titled ‘Songs of Our Native Daughters’. It was Giddens who first started the project after spending time reading slave accounts in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. The project was further inspired by her anger after watching the 2016 film The Birth of a Nation in which a scene portraying the rape of a female slave put more emphasis on the reaction of her husband than the woman herself. Such has been the acclaim for Our Native Daughters that the group has been nominated for Duo/Group of the Year at the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards.
Amythyst Kiah has a number of dates lined up as follows:
FRI 9 AUG, Sidmouth Folk Festival
WED 14 AUG, Rich Mix, London
THU 15 AUG, Broadstairs Folk Week
FRI 16 AUG, We Out Here Festival, Cambridgeshire
TUE 20 AUG, Kitchen Garden Cafe, Birmingham
WED 21 AUG, The Greystones, Sheffield
SAT & SUN 24/25 AUG, Shrewsbury Folk Festival
WED 28 AUG, Middlesbrough Town Hall
THU 29 AUG, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow
Her shows are sure to feature the first track from the ‘Sons of Our Native Daughters’ album called ‘Black Myself’ which you can hear below. Written by Kiah, she describes the song as “the simmering defiance of self-respect in the face of racism.”