Art Works Blog

Art Talk with The Carolina Chocolate Drops

Washington, DC

The Carolina Chocolate Drops---(l-r) Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson---performing with NEA Heritage Fellow Joe Thompson (second from right). Photo by Lissa Gotwals

The Grammy-nominated Carolina Chocolate Drops are a bit of an anomaly. At the heart of their traditional string-band music are traditional string-band instruments: the banjo, the fiddle, the jug, and so on. But as much as they have one foot firmly planted in the past, they have their eyes ahead, with another foot, er, feet, planted in the present (read: they just added two new band members---Hubby Jenkins, a multi-instrumentalist, and human beatboxer Adam Matta).

As Rhiannon Giddens notes on the band's website, "When Justin [Robinson], Dom [Flemons], and I started playing together we had no idea where it would all lead...we just knew that playing with [NEA National Heritage Fellow] Joe Thompson was a privilege and an honor and we were thrilled to be spreading his music to different audiences out there in the world. It's been an adventurous and, at times, unexpected journey, but I'm extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish together in the last six years."

I caught up with the Carolina Chocolate Drops to find out about their connection to Thompson and his soulful influence on their brand of music. [12:25]



"Sourwood Mountain" (from Dona Got a Rambling Mind, courtesy of Music Maker Recordings) [3.22]


"Little Margaret" (from Dona Got a Rambling Mind, courtesy of Music Maker Recordings) [2.07]




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