(This Folk Alley Session was originally published in November, 20011)
Before going onstage as the opening act for the 45th Kent State Folk Festival in 2011, the Carolina Chocolate Drops stopped by the Folk Alley studios to play a few songs and chat with Jim Blum. It was something of a homecoming for singer Rhiannon Giddens who studied opera at nearby Oberlin College. Giddens met and joined forces with Dom Flemons at the first Black Banjo Gathering in 2005. The event celebrated the banjo’s historical African roots and led the pair down a path to a multi-instrumental interpretation of contemporary and folk music with the energy of a new generation. The group (which included for the tour Hubby Jenkins and Leyla McCalla) won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro Jig.