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Foundation Matters

Charleston Sessions Artist Returns for Festival

Posted: March 7, 2024

A microphone awaits its musician in the Double Parlor of the Aiken-Rhett House Museum.

During the filming, Adia Victoria performed in the Double Parlor for an intimate audience.

The Aiken-Rhett House Museum is an undeniable inspiration. With its hauntingly unique “preserved-as-found” preservation style, the historic house has previously hosted visual artists including Fletcher Williams III, Cookie Washington, and Mary Edna Frazer, and their works of art inspired by both the dark history and beautiful aesthetic of the 1820s mansion.

In late 2022, Historic Charleston Foundation met with Warren Bazemore and Shane Williams, the creators of STAC House Shows and local folk duo, Finnegan Bell, to collaborate on a new idea, Charleston Sessions: a series of intimate concerts that connected history and space for powerful storytelling experience. In October 2023, the vision became a reality with South Carolina songwriter, Adia Victoria, and this March we are thrilled to welcome back Adia Victoria to headline the Riviera Theater.

After touring the Aiken-Rhett House for the first time, Williams and Bazemore immediately knew it was the right space and Adia Victoria, southern blues rocker, was the right artist. Born and raised in South Carolina, Victoria uses her music to explore the conflicts of the American South and the troubling resonance of its past with her unique voice and raw storytelling ability. A Southern Gothic, Victoria’s latest album, continues to infuse her lived experiences with haunting blues vocals that paint a powerful picture of the frustrations and complications of being a Black woman in the South.

Adia Victoria greets the students of Charleston Progressive Academy in the work yard of the Aiken-Rhett House Museum, October 2023.

Victoria toured the Aiken-Rhett House with historian and author, Herb Frazier, before an intimate listening session in the Double Parlor. But before the tour, the Foundation invited our neighbors at the Charleston Progressive Academy to walk down Wragg Square for a private acoustic performance of Victoria’s original songs, “Stuck in the South” and “Magnolia Blues”.

“One of the things that sticks out to me is museum houses, specifically for the African American community, have been places for pain and difficult history and suppression and oppression,” said Rou de Haas, in speaking to the Post and Courier, November 2023. “… I think that they need to be places of reckoning, of clear conversations, of asking and answering difficult questions, but they also need to be places of expression and creativity and liberation … to celebrate the resilience that came out of enslaved culture and pay homage to the people who came out of it. I think that’s what this concert allowed us to do.” Read the entire article by Kalyn Oyer, Post & Courier, HERE

Historic Charleston Foundation is excited to welcome Adia Victoria back home, to South Carolina, for The Charleston Festival. On March 28, Adia Victoria and her band will perform at the historic Riviera Theater. For now, the pilot episode of Charleston Sessions is under wraps but, in the meantime, see Adia Victoria LIVE during The Charleston Festival. Tickets are on sale now at TheCharlestonFestvialSC.org

Banner image: Adia Victoria performing for the students, October 2023.

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