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  • Writer's pictureRosie G.

Rising Appalachia

There is something to be said for perfect harmonies and this band has it. Meet Rising Appalachia from Atlanta, Georgia. The band consists of sisters Leah Smith on vocals, kalimba, banjo, Chloe Smith on vocals, washboard, fiddle, kalimba, Biko Casini on djembe, bara, and percussion, David Brown on stand-up bass, banjo, and baritone guitar, Arouna Diarra on balafon, talking drum and percussion, and Duncan Wickel on fiddle and cello. The band's music is Appalachian folk music with beautiful vocal harmonies and a mixture of drums from their international travels. They also incorporate the genres of jazz, hip-hop, roots music, and world music. The sisters decided to record an album as a gift to friends and family for their support in 2005 and received so much praise and support that they decided to start a band and named it Rising Appalachia. The album was titled Leah and Chloe and since then have gone on to record several albums with musicians from different artistic and creative worlds. There was a time when they changed their name to R.I.S.E in 2008 but have since returned to their original name. They did create the R.I.S.E Collective which has musicians, dancers, activists, educators, and others perform and educate at music festivals, youth centers, and other community-based centers in which the sisters are very much involved. They released an album called Soul Visions which was a remix album in 2013 and the sisters have been critically acclaimed for both their writing and the amazing "clawhammer" banjo style of Leah Smith.

The band continues to release albums and singles and like all musicians during the pandemic wrote and recorded a new album, The Lost Mystique of Being In The Know which was released last year. Listen to the song Top Shelf with its funky and soulful vocals and bass, and fiddle playing that reminds me of the song Ai Du by Ali Farka Toure. They just released their live album, Live from New Orleans at Preservation Hall. When they come to your city or town be sure to check them out live. Support independent music and musicians. Happy listening!





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