Carolina Chocolate Drops

What does it take for a work of art to become an intervention? In music, any reinterpretation alters the original, if only because different fingerprints touch it. But certain lineages — folk music, for example — are built on the bones of those retellings. Whoever owns a song for a period of time connects it to her lived experience and the world in which she lives, and it changes. It might also change the world, or a small part of it.

David Holt and Rhiannon Giddens during the filming of "David Holt's State of Music."
davidholt.com

  

Grammy Award winning musician David Holt moved to western North Carolina to learn "mountain music" in the early 1970s.

Folk Alley Presents: Dom Flemons

Sep 8, 2014

Many people know Dom Flemons as one-third of the original membership of groundbreaking revivalist stringband Carolina Chocolate Drops. Indeed, with the CCDs, Flemons achieved international acclaim and earned award nominations from organizations like the Americana Music Association and the Grammys. But, before the Chocolate Drops made their debut, he was a performing songster and songwriter, covering the entire scope of what constitutes American folk and roots music — not just the stringband, Carolina-based stuff that would eventually make him folk-famous.

From his vintage hat to his enormous 1920s banjo, Dom Flemons looks like he's time-traveled from a different era.

Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founders Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemmings
Carolina Chocolate Drops

Dom Flemons, a co-founder of North Carolina-based Grammy award winning string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, will leave the band in mid-December following a series of concert dates. He will be starting a solo career. 

The Carolina Chocolate Drops
carolinachocolatedrops.com

The Carolina Chocolate Drops have come a long way from their days of busking on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. They’ve already won one Grammy, and now they’re up for another.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops famously reclaimed traditional mountain music for African-Americans. Their efforts were celebrated from Nashville to Hollywood and by the folks who give out the Grammy Awards. That legacy took on some poignancy this past year when their mentor, master fiddler Joe Thompson, passed away.

Old Time Fiddler Joe Thompson has died at the age of 93. Thompson was one of the last of a generation of African American string band musicians in North Carolina. As a young man he played for square dances in Orange and Alamance Counties. Thompson told WUNC in 2008 that those dances got wild at times, and made him question whether a good Christian should be playing this kind of music.