Tonight there is an opportunity for your students to enjoy – for free! – what promises to be a rousing musical performance. The Secrest Artists Series brings national and international acts to campus, and tonight they are hosting the Carolina Chocolate Drops in Wait Chapel. Doors open at 6:30, performance starts at 7:30.
Events like these are provided at Wake Forest so students have the ability to attend to the full range of human experiences – artistic and musical, as well as academic and athletic – and all the other ways students can be engaged. I’ve said it before – Wake is like a smorgasbord, and the more you taste of its various offerings, the greater your experience.
If your students haven’t already told you they are going tonight – ping your Deacs and remind them that in just a few short years, they’ll have to pay (good money!) to go to these kinds of concerts. It’s in their own backyard, it’s free, and it expands the mind.
What’s not to like???
Here is what the Secrest Artists Series said about them:
“In early 2012 Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops released their studio album Leaving Eden (Nonesuch Records) produced by Buddy Miller. The album was recorded in Nashville and features Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons, guitarist Hubby Jenkins, and the band’s newest touring member, New Orleans native Leyla McCalla on cello/vocals and banjo.
The Chocolate Drops got their start in 2005, when every Thursday night they would travel to sit in the home of old-time fiddler Joe Thompson for a musical jam session. Joe was in his 80s, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. Now he was passing those same lessons onto a new generation. When the three students
decided to form a band, they didn’t have big plans. It was mostly a tribute to Joe, a chance to bring his music back out of the house again and into dance halls and public places.
With their 2010 Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig—which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy last year—the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music they’d so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. Starting with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, they sought to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago. The virtuosic trio’s approach was provocative and revelatory. Their concerts, The New York Times declared, were “an end-to-end display of excellence… They dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—string- band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: “flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”
Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity”. If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s okay to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.