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Friday, March 9, 2012

Carolina Chocolate Drops Champion African American String Music

The Carolina Chocolate Drops at a recent performance. (Carolina Chocolate Drops)The Carolina Chocolate Drops. (Photo: Kenneth Goldberg)The Carolina Chocolate Drops (Photo by Crackerfarm)Members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. (Carolina Chocolate Drops)

The Carolina Chocolate Drops must be the only band with a new album that features both the banjo and a human beat box.

“Leaving Eden” is a collection of 15 original and cover songs that continues the Grammy Award-winning group’s mission of not just playing old-time music, but playing with it.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops are also showcasing African American musicians who play string music, typically seen as a white genre.

“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,” The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Dom Flemons told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “We decided to… play the old time music and show that there are participants who are black and African American.”

As The Washington Post puts it:

The musicians have become the most visible members of a revivalist movement that, by nature of its existence, is doing away with the cultural perception that old-time music is nothing more than the soundtrack of a racist South.


  • Don Flemons, plays banjo, guitar, jug, and harmonica
  • Rhiannon Giddens, plays banjo, fiddle, and kazoo

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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