Giri and Uma Peters
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Giri and Uma Peters

Nashville, TN | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Nashville, TN
Established on Jan, 2016
Duo Folk Bluegrass




"Folk Alliance International Showcase Reviews"

Giri and Uma Peters: They’re a brother-sister duet from Nashville. Giri is a 12-year-old mandolin and fiddle player; Uma is a 9-year-old banjo and fiddle player. They delivered a lively and charming set filled with covers of old-time, Appalachian songs, like “Lazy John,” and a few original tunes, like “Zoey’s Reel,” written for their dog, who howls at their fiddle playing.

They have gone far in a short time. As they introduced their songs, they mentioned some of the artists they have performed or collaborated with: Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn and Rhiannon Giddens. - Kansas City Star

"Indian-American musical prodigies break barriers in bluegrass world"

At 9 and 11, Uma — who plays fiddle and clawhammer banjo — and her older brother Giri, a fiddle and mandolin player, are too young to get to gigs without their mom, Sarika Peters, driving them. But they are talented beyond their years, and both kids, who are Indian-American, are already making a splash in bluegrass and old-time music. - The Tennessean

"Giri Peters - Just Whittlin' Around"

The debut album from eleven-year-old, Nashville-based Giri Peters features his talents on mandolin, fiddle, and vocals. He is joined by his eight-year-old sister, Uma, on clawhammer banjo and vocals on three cuts, along with Brandon Bostic on guitar and resonator guitar, Austin Ward on bass, and Joey Gibson on Scruggs-style banjo. In liner notes, Peters thanks producer and renowned fiddler Deanie Richardson, hoping that someday he will “be the caliber of musician and person she is.” He also thanks his mandolin teacher, Ashby Frank, for coaching on tone, timing, chops, and singing.

The album starts out with a solid version of “Salt Creek” which spotlights Peters on mandolin, followed by a second mandolin solo and harmony line from Alan Bibey. Next, Giri launches into “Zoe’s Reel,” an impressive original tune. He shows off his vocal style on “Blue Night,” complete with the octave jump on the last note. Giri and Uma veer off into more traditional territory with “Long Ford Of Buckhorn.” Uma’s clawhammer banjo gallops comfortably along, and Giri adds a traditional fiddle.

Peters shines on “Limerock,” landing notes and stellar tone on the fiddle with an accuracy and spirit beyond his years. Then he absolutely nails the difficult tune on the mandolin. Uma sings and plays a brilliant version of “Banjo Pickin’ Girl” by Lily May Ledford. “Brilliancy” is performed immaculately at a sedate and stately tempo on mandolin by Giri, as he swaps leads easily with Bostic on guitar. The set includes two more vocals: “Pretty Polly” from Giri and “Pig In A Pen” from Uma. Another original from Giri, “Spunky Creek,” has interesting, uptempo melodic patterns and progressions on the mandolin. Peters’ finale is “Fisher’s Hornpipe,” executed at the perfect speed on mandolin, again swapping leads with Bostic. Giri exhibits precision and control on this tune, balanced with a creative flair, mature tone, and natural feel for the spaces between the notes. All this takes place on mandolin, and then he wraps it up with an equally fine round on fiddle.

Congratulations to Peters on an extremely impressive first effort. Fans of traditional music will enjoy this record. It could also be a great teaching tool for intermediate level musicians of all ages who want to practice by playing along. Keep an eye on the impressive Giri Peters and his talented little sister Uma. ( - Bluegrass Unlimited

"Uma and Giri Peters wow the crowd at IBMA's Shout and Shine Celebration of Diversity"

Sibilings Uma Peters, 9, and Giri Peters, 11, of Nashville, perform at Shout and Shine: A Celebration of Diversity at The Pour House as part of the the Bluegrass Wander in downtown Raleigh, Tuesday night, Sept. 28, 2016. - The News and Observer

"Interview with Ernie Hill"

Giri is not only prodigiously gifted, but he is also super articulate, focused and a pleasure of a polite young fiddler to interview. - Music Writer/Media of John Hartford Memorial Festival

"Quotes from musicians"

Giri is already a great mandolin player at 11 yrs. old.  Can't wait to watch him grow!  Sierra Hull

Completely blown away! Rhiannon Giddens (regarding Uma's banjo playing)

Driving and listening to Giri Peters' first project. I noticed I'm either smiling or laughing while listening. I'm proud to be a small part of his first project and very excited about where this young fellows musical journey will take him! Get a copy.....its smoking!! Alan Biby - Grasstown

Please tell Giri that he has a project that he can be proud of.  Wow.  The sky is the limit for that guy.  Eric Gibson - Gibson Brothers

She (Uma) is a sweet young lady, with a great right hand. Joe Newberry -

"Quotes from DJs"

Chronologically Giri is young. His musicianship is not! Listen to him.  Veta Gumber Host of Bluegrass and Beyond - KAFM 88.1
Giri's masterful performance captures both audiences and mainstream artists with his clean and versatile skills heard on both mandolin and fiddle. From the first time I heard this CD, I was hooked!  Brett Smeltzer DJ/Host of Bluegrass Retrospect -

We just received your CD. I brought it home and listened to it...and then listened to it again...and then again. I AM SO IMPRESSED! I look forward to playing it on the show. My problem is picking my favorite track! I kind of want to play the whole thing! Mz. Pearl - Co-Host Miles of Bluegrass KRVM-FM Eugene, Oregon -

"Vickie Vaughn Band Rocks The Station Inn"

One of the coolest parts of the night was when Giri Peters, 10 year old mandolin player from the Bill Monroe Mandolin Camp, played a song with Casey Campbell. I have a feeling that I’m going to be seeing a bunch more performances from Giri at The Station Inn in the future. - Browntown Productions

"NCTA benefit concert"

As the prevailing king and queen of Americana, it’s more likely you’ll see Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires at amphitheaters or headlining big summer festivals. It’s rare to see them together in clubs these days, especially one as intimate as The Hamilton in DC. But there they were last Wednesday night, special guests on a night of music organized by dobro player extraordinaire Jerry Douglas that was a fundraiser for the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

NCTA in turn helps organize ongoing free festivals of indigenous music in far-flung American outposts that play for three years at a time at a site (and by then are expected to be a traditional offering). This year, the three-year stint will begin on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in Salisbury September 7-9 and on Wednesday, its mayor, folk fans who paid $100 for a seat, and even a US Senator, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was there to bask in the music.

It was worth it, too, if only to hear Isbell and Shires look into each other’s eyes as they sang about their love and mortality on his “If We Were Vampires,” a recent classic (chosen last Sunday as one of the “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music is Going” in The New York Times Magazine).

It was great, too, to have Douglas join them on Isbell’s “Traveling Alone,” and having his “Something to Love” close out the night as a rousing all-star finale, with solos from Douglas, Shires on fiddle, and a brother-sister act that had previously brought down the house for faithfully bringing old string band sounds, Giri and Uma Peters.

Giri, 12, is a fiddler; his little sister, Uma, at 10, plays clawhammer banjo. Their names are getting around; Rhiannon Giddens came over to their house to teach them the old English folk tune “The Cuckoo,” they said before playing it.

That kids like the Peters are learning (and loving) the old time music is the whole point of things like NCTA, and the musical boundaries grew when harmonica legend Phil Wiggins (who lives nearby in Takoma Park), came out to join them on the old Mississippi Sheiks classic “Sitting On Top of the World.”

Douglas, as emcee, talked about how musicians from different genres have a lot more in common than not, citing the pair of local jazz guitarists picked to play the event—Jan Knutson, a teenager from Berwyn Heights, MD, playing with his teacher, the well-known local jazz guitarist Steve Abshire. But instead of joining them for a little jam, the two were left to do their own improvisational numbers that took off from standards and abstracted quite quickly. As such, they didn’t quite fit in with the spirit of the rest of the show and were given a bit of a chilly reception by the crowd which, after all, had probably come to see the headliners.

Douglas, playing his dobro flat, away from his body, picked with one hand and had a slide running down the neck with the other, playing some intricate instrumentals with his trio, as well as a version of a song he attributed to “that famous folk artist, Jimi Hendrix,” even though the resulting “Hey Joe” actually does have folk roots.

Basking in her husband’s praising gaze, Shires proved herself a compelling singer and performer as well, far more than a June type sidekick to his Johnny. She sang both “Pale Fire,” the tune she and Isbell composed for her 2016 album, and her beguiling “Swimmer…Dreams Don’t Keep.” Isbell, for his part, chose the hard-bitten “Last of My Kind,” which he may well be.

The benefit for NCTA continued online with a silent auction, featuring items ranging from a sterling silver Hohner harmonica from Tiffany, and a Martin Dreadnaught Jr. prototype signed by Isbell and Shires—the very guitar he used to write “Hope the High Road.” - The Vinyl District

"Twelve Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Projects Selected Across The State"

rom Bradley Hanson, Director of Folklife –

The Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program has selected twelve teams to participate in the 2019 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Entering its third year, the Program is designed to sustain Tennessee’s diverse folklife practices by investing in the passing of traditional art forms from master artists to the next generation.

The Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program has become a key initiative in preserving practices that are rare or endangered in Tennessee. Tennesseans have a wealth of traditional cultures, both old and new; however, many art forms have only a handful of living practitioners. We cannot take these art forms for granted. This program works to ensure that these traditions are a vibrant part of our state’s future.

Each of the twelve teams selected to participate is committed to preserving a traditional folklife art form that is deeply rooted in their cultural heritage. The artists will embark on one-on-one or small group training for an eight-month period.

The master artists awarded this recognition from the Tennessee Arts Commission are considered to be of exceptional skill as recognized by fellow artists, community members, and folk arts leaders. Four of this year’s master and apprentice teams from the Appalachian region are funded through a special partnership with the South Arts’ initiative In These Mountains: Central Appalachian Folk Art & Culture.

The awarded apprentices are chosen by the master artist. Each apprentice demonstrated outstanding aptitude and potential in the chosen traditional art form. Folklife practices include traditional music, crafts, dance, foodways and occupational skills.

“This program does truly critical work. In many ways, Tennessee is defined by its diverse cultural heritage. We have to make sure that these art forms thrive in the future. When you look at these twelve projects, you see an incredible picture of Tennessee culture,” said Steve Bailey, Tennessee Arts Commission board chair.

Folklife art forms are learned and passed down informally by imitation, word of mouth, observation or performance in cultural communities that share family, ethnic, tribal, regional, occupational or religious identity. Folklife is defined by its continuity with tradition and accordance with the enduring values of its originating community.

“Traditional arts are essential to the story we tell about ourselves, and that we tell to visitors,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission. “For many of these artists, this program is an investment in the sustainability of their family business, or in a way of life or set of cultural values that have been deeply held for generations. Folklife practices enhance livability and pride of place in Tennessee communities, especially in our rural areas.”

Masters and apprentices will also share their work together in public performances, demonstrations and in an exhibit at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery in the summer of 2019. All projects are documented by the Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program to further archive and preserve the state’s current folklife practices.

A panel of traditional arts and Folklife specialists was convened to review a deep and highly competitive applicant pool. The twelve-awarded teams are:

Rafael Casco, master, and Hector Figueroa, apprentice, Pigeon Forge. Tradition: Wood Relief Carving and Painting.
Mike Compton, master, and Jackson Carter, apprentice, Wilson and Overton Counties. Tradition: Monroe-Style Mandolin.
Paul Davis, master, and Kenzie Adams, apprentice, Celina. Tradition: Flint Marble Making.*
Hattie Marshall Duncan, master, and Keesha Marshall-Reid, apprentice, Jackson. Tradition: Paper Clay and Wire Sculpture.
Rhiannon Giddens, master, and Uma Peters, apprentice, Nashville. Tradition: Gourd Banjo.
Dudley Harris, master, and Rita Nicole Perry, apprentice, Henderson. Tradition: West Tennessee Country Blues.
Daniel Hicks, Freeda Beaty, Carmen Hicks McCord, masters, and Summer Boyd, Angela Bailey, Mack Bailey, Erin Bailey, apprentices, Fentress and Dickson counties. Tradition: Unaccompanied Balladry.
Samira Jubran, master, and Areej Itayem, apprentice, Germantown. Tradition: Tatreez Embroidery.
Will Smith, master, and Sarah Carter, apprentice, Lebanon. Tradition: Autoharp.
Rick Stewart, master, Brendon Stewart, apprentice, Sneedville. Tradition: Coopering*
Robert Townsend, master, and Isaiah Northcutt, apprentice, Coalmont. Tradition: Fiddling of the South Cumberlands.*
Sue Williams, master, and Rhonda Elkins Brown, apprentice, Cannon and Warren Counties. Tradition: White Oak Basketry.* - Tennessee Arts Commission

"We Just Saw Music Unite: A Review of the Lotus Festival"

On Saturday evening, on the final leg of this year’s Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, 26 artists representing about 20 different countries performed their final shows for the thousands of people who took to the streets of downtown Bloomington. Brandishing the hashtag #MusicUnites, this event’s mission was to bring people from all walks of life into one place to appreciate music from all over the world together.

“It’s about encountering the world’s music in a respectful and creative way,” said Sunni Fass, the executive director of Lotus, in a recent interview. “This is more important than ever right now.”

It’s impossible to see all of the festival’s concerts at once. But, no matter where the night takes you, the leaders at Lotus guarantee you’ll hear some great music, because the first thing they look for when building their roster is artistic talent. “We have musical masters and exciting new talents, all of them world-class quality,” says Fass.

The first artists of my night were Giri and Uma Peters, a brother-and-sister bluegrass duo straight out of Nashville. Lately there’s been a lot of buzz around these two because of both their ages and unique heritage: Giri is 12, Uma is 10, and both are Indian-American. This has caused them to standout in a community that is often seen as old-timey and predominantly made up of white, Christian males. However, these young talents haven’t let their individuality hinder their steadily rising fame.

As Giri played at his fiddle and Uma her clawhammer banjo, their bright voices cutting through the air and bouncing from the rafters at Bloomington’s First Christian Church, even the most seasoned blues player would be impressed with what they were hearing. The two played jumpy tunes that had the packed pews clapping their hands and hollering, and twangy blues that made the crowdmembers close their eyes and nod their heads to the beat.

The Peters kids revamped old standards like “Sitting On Top of the World” by the Mississippi Sheiks and the bluegrass classic “The Cuckoo,” which was taught to them by country musician, Rhiannon Giddens.

But the song that got the biggest applause was one Uma wrote herself, called “How to Help the World.” In it, Uma references everything going on in the world, from the importance of picking up litter to the refugee crisis, and insists, “I’m just a little girl, but I can do a lot, I can inspire others to change their thoughts.”

Refugees and immigrants were also paid tribute at a neighboring performance by the world-famous group Making Movies, an alternative Afro-Latin rock group out of Kansas City, Missouri, whose recent self-released album I Am Another You hit No. 3 on the Latin Billboard charts and No. 8 on the World Music charts.

Lotus World Music & Arts Festival runs for four days every autumn
As the early autumn sun set behind them, the group belted out politically charged anthems, singing in both Spanish and English, as the audience drank beer and swayed their hips.

The energetic, Latin beats were carried over into the church next door, where Ladama, an all-female ensemble from Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and the U.S. was performing. The group takes traditional instrumentation and styles from their native countries and combines them to create original compositions sung in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. They also took some time out of their set to teach the crowd about a few of the instruments used, and even encouraged them to participate in a call-and-response Brazilian tune.

The performance began as a calm one. Everyone sat on the wooden benches and occasionally raised a fist from their lap and nodded as the group’s lead singer, Sara Lucas, pleaded “where is my God? Where is my money?” and insisted that “we can still dream like we were children” in protest songs.

But by the end, what started off as a tentative audience became a lively swarm of people dancing in the aisles and gleefully shouting and clapping. “There is so much joy everywhere!” proclaimed group percussionist Daniela Serna.

Ladama, like all of the other groups that came out for this year’s Lotus Festival, set out to unite people with their music, an honorable feat at time of such divisiveness.

“There are issues in Venezuela and Brazil and the United States, all different,” said Serna. “But music and culture and education are powerful weapons. There is suffering and conflict, but we want to show you how music is a weapon that can change and expand our minds.” - Indianapolis Monthly


Just Whittlin' Around - released March 11, 2016



Giri (age 13) and Uma (age 11) Peters are an Indian-American  brother/sister duo from Nashville, TN. These award-winning multi-instrumentalists - Giri on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and Uma on clawhammer banjo - have been electrifying audiences with their refreshing, soulful blend of old-time, folk, and roots music. Although young in age, their musicianship and vocal harmonies showcase a level of creativity and originality well beyond their years. They have attracted the attention of MacArthur Genius Grant awardee Rhiannon Giddens, who is acting as a master artist for Uma as part of the apprenticeship program in traditional arts through the Tennessee Arts Commission. They have also had the privilege of playing with dobro master Jerry Douglas, the "Duke of Folk" Dan Zanes, and blues harmonica great Phil Wiggins. They are also mentored by bluegrass fiddler Deanie Richardson (Sister Sadie). Giri and Uma have performed at festivals around country.