The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a young Grammy award winning African-American stringband based in Durham, North Carolina who play the rich tradition of fiddle and banjo music from the Carolina Piedmont — a music that was popular among Southern African Americans before World War II. The banjo is the lead instrument with the fiddle in an accompanying role, unlike Appalachian stringband music where the fiddle is in the lead. Under the tutelage of Joe Thompson — said to be one of the last black traditional stringband players — The Drops carry on the tradition of black musicians like Odell and Nate Thompson, Dink Roberts, John Snipes, Libba Cotten, Emp White and countless others. In the last few years, they have shared the stage with Taj Mahal, traveled to Europe, appeared in Denzel Washington’s film, The Great Debators, joined Garrison Keiler on Prairie Home Companion and were invited to play on the Grand Ole Opry, becoming the first black string band to play the Opry. In 2010, with the release of their Nonesuch recording, Genuine Negro Jig, the group confirms its place in the music pantheon.
‘The Carolina Chocolate Drops are revisiting, with a joyful vengeance, black string-band and jug-band music of the Twenties and Thirties - the dirt-floor dance electricity of the Mississippi Sheiks and Cannon’s Jug Stompers.’ Rolling Stone ‘In the end, a standing ovation was the only possible response. Anything, you sense, is possible now.’ The Times ‘The Carolina Chocolate Drops may be reclaiming the black string-band tradition, but more importantly they’re just making great music.’ Newsweek ‘Old stringband music with both stylistic authenticity and modern sensibility. Excellent !’ Mojo
Rhiannon Giddens : vox, fiddle, banjo
Dom Flemons : vox, banjo, guitar, percussion
Hubby Jenkins : guitar, vox, mandolin
Leyla McCalla : cello, vox, banjo
The concert night will be opened by David Wax Museum.