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story.lead_photo.caption In this Tuesday, July 3, 2018, file photo, Rhiannon Giddens performs during rehearsal for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular in Boston. The Grammy-winning musician is Silkroad's new artistic director, taking the baton from renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who founded the group two decades ago, Silkroad said on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The North Carolina native is the first woman and first multiracial artist to lead the Boston-based organization. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

Silkroad, the acclaimed international musical collective with a social conscience, has a new face — and a fresh sense of purpose.

Grammy-winning folk singer and instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens is Silkroad's new artistic director, taking the baton from renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who founded the group two decades ago, Silkroad said Tuesday.

The 43-year-old North Carolina native is the first woman and first multiracial artist to lead Silkroad. The Boston-based organization is known not just for its touring ensemble comprised of world-class musicians from all over the globe, but also for its efforts to use the arts to bridge differences across races, countries and cultures.

"My keenest desire for Silkroad is a sharpening and reinterpretation of what it means for the 'right now,'" Giddens said in a statement, adding: "What is more American than the gathering of influences from disparate areas of the globe to create something unique and fantastic?"

She made her debut Wednesday evening with "Recitals from the World Stage," a virtual presentation prerecorded for Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

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