Carolina Chocolate Drops with the Dave Matthews Band

May 29 • Riverbend Music Center

May 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Talking about race is always a dodgy premise, but Carolina Chocolate Drops and their music practically encourage such discussions. The Durham, NC, three-piece string band took the inspiration for their name from Louie Bluie, a Terry Zwigoff film concerning black string band player Howard Armstrong. Their 2010 record goes by Genuine Negro Jig, their discography includes songs titled “Black Annie” and “Kerr's Negro Jig,” and they originally came together in 2005 at a festival called the Black Banjo Gathering.

If you've somehow failed to grasp the signs, all the Drops are black and in a 2011 interview with Fairfield Weekly, multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons demonstrated the pride he took in that.

“It's a very strong statement to say that you're a black string band musician,” he said. “That helps people open up the article or what-not and then they get to find out a whole part of the Folk music history that they might not have known before.”

The three-piece's primary purpose is creating and touring behind sturdy, stomping tunes, but Flemons' comments indicated that their existence also serves as a subtle reminder of ties between their aged genre of choice and more modern styles of black music, such as Hip Hop and Funk.

“We try to make sure that the music that we do is relevant because it's not supposed to be a museum piece,” Flemons said. “It's supposed to be a living organism of music projected out to the crowd.”

CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS play Tuesday, May 29 with guest Dave Matthews Band. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.