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Rhiannon Giddens Awarded Steve Martin Banjo Prize

Carolina Chocolate Drops founder Rhiannon Giddens was named the 2016 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. The $50,000 award was established in 2010 and has been presented annually by a board comprised of Martin, J.D. Crowe, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Anne Stringfield, Noam Pikelny, Alison Brown, Dr. Neil Rosenberg and Béla Fleck.

Giddens is the first woman and first African American to win the award. In addition to performing with the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, she has also recorded a successful solo album that prominently features her banjo playing.

"Rhiannon Giddens occupies a unique position in the world of banjo music, bridging contemporary and traditional forms and the cultures of three continents," says the Steve Martin Prize website. "Few musicians have done more to revitalize old-time sounds in the last decade. Drawing from blues, jazz, folk, hip-hop, traditional African, Celtic, and jug band music, she has br…