Carolina Chocolate Drops

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Carolina Chocolate Drops
Carolinachocolatedrops.jpg
The Carolina Chocolate Drops performing in Birmingham, Alabama, in June 2008.
Background information
Origin Durham, North Carolina, USA
Genres Old-time, Americana
Years active 2005–present
Labels Nonesuch/Elektra Records
Dixiefrog
Music Maker
Website www.carolinachocolatedrops.com
Members Rhiannon Giddens
Hubby Jenkins
Rowan Corbett
Malcolm Parson
Past members Justin Robinson
Adam Matta
Dom Flemons

The Carolina Chocolate Drops is an old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina, USA. Their 2010 album, Genuine Negro Jig, won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, and was number 9 in FRoots magazine's top 10 albums of 2010.

Career[edit]

Formed in November 2005, following the members' attendance at the first Black Banjo Gathering held in Boone, North Carolina in April 2005, the group grew out of the success of Sankofa Strings, an ensemble that featured Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and percussionist/banjoist Sule Greg Wilson, with Justin Robinson as an occasional guest artist. The Carolina Chocolate Drops originally had three members: Giddens, Flemons, and Robinson, who were all in their twenties when the group formed. Wilson, nearly a generation older than the Drops, continued to occasionally perform with the group into 2010, including contributions to Dona Got a Rambin' Mind, CCD with Joe Thompson, Heritage (with songs culled from Sankofa Strings' CD, Colored Aristocracy) and nearly half of Genuine Negro Jig.[1] All of the musicians sing and trade instruments including banjo, fiddle, guitar, harmonica, snare drum, bones, jug, and kazoo. The group learned much of their repertoire, which is based on the traditional music of the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina,[2] from the eminent African American old-time fiddler Joe Thompson, although they also perform old-time versions of some modern songs such as Blu Cantrell's R&B hit "Hit 'em Up Style (Oops!)."

The Carolina Chocolate Drops have released five CDs and one EP and have opened for Taj Mahal and, in 2011, Bob Dylan.[3] They have performed on Mountain Stage,[4] MerleFest, and at the Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention. Additionally they have performed on A Prairie Home Companion, Fresh Air, and BBC Radio in early 2010, and at the 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee,[5] and at the 2011 Romp,[6] in Owensboro, Kentucky. On Tuesday 17 January 2012 they appeared live on BBC Radio 3. They have performed on the Grand Ole Opry several times. They have also performed on the world renowned "Later with Jools Holland".

On February 7, 2011, the band announced that beatboxer Adam Matta and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins would be joining the band, while Justin Robinson would be departing. In early 2012, they announced New Orleans based cellist Leyla McCalla would be joining the band on its current tour.

In 2012, the Drops were nominated for numerous awards by the Chicago Black Theater Alliance for their work in Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Roots of Black Vaudeville. Staged by the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, written by Lalenja Harrington (Rhiannon Giddens' sister) and Sule Greg Wilson, and featuring veteran hoofer Reggio MacLaughlin, and ragtime pianist and MacArthur Fellow Reginald R. Robinson, the program examined the hopes and realities, music and dances of the Great Migration.

Also in 2012, the Drops contributed a song,"Daughter's Lament", to The Hunger Games soundtrack.

In 2013, they were nominated for a Blues Music Award for 'Acoustic Artist'.[7]

Also in 2013, the Drops contributed a song,"Day of Liberty", to the two-CD album Divided & United.

On November 12, 2013, the Chocolate Drops announced that Dom Flemons would be leaving to embark on his own solo career, and introduced two new members: cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett.[8]

Members[edit]

Carolina Chocolate Drops at Lake Placid, New York. Left to right: Leyla McCalla, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, Hubby Jenkins

Current

  • Rhiannon Giddens: 5-string banjo, fiddle, kazoo
  • Hubby Jenkins: guitar, mandolin, 5-string banjo, bones
  • Rowan Corbett: guitar, bones, snare drum, cajon, djembe
  • Malcom Parson: Cello

Previous Members

  • Dom Flemons: 4-string banjo, guitar, jug, harmonica, kazoo, snare drum, bones, quills
  • Adam Matta: Beatbox, tambourine
  • Leyla McCalla: Cello
  • Justin Robinson: Fiddle

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US US Grass US Folk US Heat
Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind
  • Release date: September 12, 2006
  • Label: Music Maker
The Great Debaters Soundtrack
(with Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sharon Jones and Teenie Hodges)
  • Release date: December 11, 2007
  • Label: Atlantic
Heritage
  • Release date: February 18, 2008
  • Label: Dixiefrog
Carolina Chocolate Drops & Joe Thompson
(recorded live at MerleFest, April 25, 2008)
  • Release date: May 26, 2009
  • Label: Music Maker
Genuine Negro Jig
  • Release date: February 16, 2010
  • Label: Nonesuch
150 1 2 2
Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminescent Orchestrii EP
  • Release date: January 25, 2011
  • Label: Nonesuch
3 11 32
Leaving Eden
  • Release date: February 24, 2012
  • Label: Nonesuch
123 1 6 2
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
2012 "Country Girl"[9] Thomas Ciaburri

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Videographic documentation[edit]