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UCSB Arts & Lectures

Founded in 1959, UCSB Arts & Lectures presents more than a hundred public events each year, from critically acclaimed concerts and dance performances by world-renowned artists to talks by groundbreaking authors at UCSB and Santa Barbara-area venues.

*Programming and artists subject to change, please refer to the participating organization’s calendar listing for the most up-to-date program.

Performance Times

Thursday November 9th, 8:00PM

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American Railroad

Under the leadership of Pulitzer Prize-winner Rhiannon Giddens, the Silkroad Ensemble embarks on a new initiative, American Railroad, that reflects the profound impact of the railroad and the immigrant communities that built it on the cultural fabric of North America.


Rhiannon GIDDENS

Program Notes

As a social-impact organization and home to a Grammy-winning musical ensemble, Silkroad works to inspire collaboration in innovative ways that add more equity and justice into the world through the power of the arts. Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad reaches new heights through a commitment to new music, a re-sparked mission towards cultural collaboration, and a reinvigorated focus to high-quality arts education that reflects its mission and the times in which we live. Silkroad’s newest initiative, American Railroad, illuminates the impact of African American, Chinese, Indigenous, Irish, and other immigrant communities on the creation of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad and connecting railways in North America. Exploring the dissemination of cultures across the United States, the railroad was to North America what the Silk Road was to China, the Far East and Europe. These and other immigrant populations played a fundamental role in one of America’s most important technological and economic achievements of the 19th century—and shaped its cultural identity—yet their contributions have all too often been erased from history. This performance will amplify untold stories to paint a richer, more accurate picture of the origins of the American Empire which profoundly reverberate today, and the formation of our multifaceted American identities.