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Carolina Chocolate Drops

Genuine Negro Jig

the carolina chocolate drops are as much about revelation as revival on their nonesuch debut genuine negro jig the trio brings exuberance humour virtuosity and an infectious acoustic groove to its exploration of a nearforgotten brand of banjodriven stringband music originating more than a century ago in the foothills of north carolina the piedmont region where band members rhiannon giddens and justin robinson were raised in this rural area musicians both black and white once shared and swapped tunes over the decades the importance of the africanamerican role in stringband music was diminished its sound and significance coopted by minstrel shows and segregated by record labels carolina chocolate drops under the tutelage of nonagenarian fiddler player joe thompson one of the last surviving piedmont musicians have reclaimed the oldtime songs making them vital and fresh for right now reasserting in the process the african roots of the banjo the carolina chocolate drops have won over crowds at the newport folk festival on such national public radio shows as mountain stage and a prairie home companion and on tours through europe denzel washington personally selected the trio to appear in his critically acclaimed 2007 directorial effort the great debaters after two selfrecorded independent releases carolina chocolate drops chose to work with producer joe henry on genuine negro jig as with his production on allen toussaint's the bright mississippi henry emphasizes simplicity clarity interaction with its striking lack of studio frills the emphasis is on the spirit of these performances which are often as intense as they are exhilarating uptempo numbers like liveshow favourite 'cornbread and butterbeans' and 'sandy boys' are immediate standouts though slowburning moody tracks like 'kissin' and cussin' and 'snowden's jig genuine negro jig' prove to be downright haunting the versatile giddens performs the celticstyle balladry of 'reynadine' acapella she's equally convincing taking lead on a brilliant recasting of the 2001 blu cantrell rampbdance hit 'hit 'em up style' genuine negro jig starts out with the specific but winds up with the universal this is music that has literally travelled continents and centuries to achieve a brand new relevance a shared history still in the making

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