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Back at the end of the summer, when this website got launched, I tweeted about what had become one of my favorite traditional-style music groups, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I say traditional-style, because their music, while steeped in old string band tradition, is anything but reverential or imitated. Justin Robinson, Rhiannon Giddins, and Dom Flemons, the trio is dedicated to sustaining a form of African-American sound and performance that seemed endangered with extinction — but, as ever, to keep it alive, they have had to make it new, in their own way. Here are three videos to introduce them to those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure.
First, a performance of the old Carolina Sunshine Trio’s number, “Cornbread and Butterbeans,” as recorded for Knoxville’s WDVX show, Blue Plate Special, a couple of years ago:
Then a Nonesuch Records promo for the group’s new album, Genuine Negro Jig, to get better acquainted with Justin, Rhiannon, and Dom:
And, an amazing a capella performance by Rhiannon in Irish, at Flagstaff, Arizona, back in September 2008: