Carolina Chocolate Drops Unearth The Roots Of American Roots Music

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The Carolina Chocolate Drops (Courtesy)
The Carolina Chocolate Drops (Courtesy)

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a young string band whose mission is simple — they are unearthing the African-American roots of American roots Music. Their 2010 Grammy-award winning album Genuine Negro Jig featured traditional instruments including the banjo, fiddle, kazoo, and jug. The band later added a cello and bridged old and new black music by adding a beat-boxer.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops will be performing at the House of Blues in Boston on Saturday


Rhiannon Giddens, vocals, fiddle and banjo

Dom Flemons, vocals and banjo

Hubby Jenkins, mandolin and guitar

Leyla McCalla, cello and vocals


WBUR, "'There’s a lot of history of black string bands and African American people playing this type of music, which is generally considered white music. We decided to play the old time music and show that there are participants who are black and African American.'"

The New York Times, "The Chocolate Drops aren’t glib or pure or ritually brilliant; they don’t make you stand back and feel humble. They dip into styles of Southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s — string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz — and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting. And they remind you of something you probably hadn’t thought much about when it comes to American traditional music, which is that youth has an advantage."

USA Today, "'The music itself is irresistible, and then history pulled me in even more. It was a one-two punch,' singer and co-founder Rhiannon Giddens chimes in. 'I had studied opera and burned out, I went through a few different styles like Celtic, but this music captured me in a way that others kinds haven't.'"

This segment aired on April 4, 2013.


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