Allison Russell Brings Chaka Khan to 2021 Newport Folk Festival for All-Star Weekend-Ending Jam [WATCH]
Allison Russell curated the 2021 Newport Folk Festival's weekend-ending jam, and she had a big surprise up her sleeve. The singer and songwriter brought "Queen of Funk" Chaka Khan to the Newport, R.I., festival to perform with a bevy of other special guests.
Video from Sunday (July 25), the final day of the 2021 Newport Folk Festival, shows Russell and Khan, as well as, among others, Yola, Joy Oladokun, Adia Victoria and Amythyst Kiah singing along with Khan and dancing as she leads a rendition of "I'm Every Woman," her 1978 R&B and disco hit. Also onstage are Margo Price and Brandi Carlile, the latter of whom curated Newport's 2019 jam, which featured a surprise appearance from Dolly Parton.
The performance is utterly joyous. Russell, in particular, grooves along happily as Khan sings; Carlile, too, can be spotted bouncing around at the edge of the crowd. At one point, as Khan lets out a vocal run, the artists and the crowd start giddily jumping around, and the next chorus of "I'm every woman" is all-out euphoric:
Russell's curated jam, dubbed Allison Russell Presents: Once and Future Sounds: Roots and Revolution, brought together artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists and allies, "with a mission of placing Black womxn and active allies at the center of the most prominent headlining set at Newport Folk Festival," per a press release. The artist chose her collaborators "because their vision, presence and oeuvre is a fulfillment and expansion of the promise of the foundational folk mother, Odetta, and the anti-bigotry origin (and herstory) of Newport Folk Festival."
Russell — who released her lauded Outside Child album in May — is also performing solo on Tuesday (July 27), as part of Newport Folk Festival's Folk On series. Folk On is a three-day extension of the annual Newport Folk Festival, arranged in 2021 because of COVID-19-related capacity restrictions.
Russell is nominated in the Emerging Act of the Year category at the upcoming Americana Honors & Awards. She's also a member of Our Native Daughters, who received a Duo/Group of the Year nomination, and Birds of Chicago.
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