Carolina Chocolate Drops: Banjoes In The 21st Century

Geek Culture

Image &copy Carolina Chocolate DropsImage &copy Carolina Chocolate Drops

Image © Carolina Chocolate Drops

A definition of geek:

A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who passionately pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance.

I like this definition. Most folks think of geeks as only being into technology, D&D, or comics. But pursuits of passion regardless of mainstream acceptance is a great description of what it means to me to be geek. Be yourself. Be yourself passionately.

Using that definition, we can include a entire new group of people in the geekfold. And using that definition, three young folk with a jones for banjoes, fiddles, and a music style dating back to the 19th century, the Carolina Chocolate Drops fit the bill.

A friend on Facebook first hipped me to the group last week. Born in 2005 after meeting and hitting it off through a Yahoo! group, the CCDs have worked to keep alive “old time” music. The trio, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson, work out of North Carolina where a lot of the historical inspiration of their music comes from. Using banjoes, fiddles, jugs, clappers and other instruments common to the late 1800s, the CCDs are part of a new generation of musicians bringing the past forward. But, the three are not just musicians, they are also teachers. You’ll find that at many of their performances are part history lecture and part concert. The whole passion thing. They know their music.

And apparently I am late to the game. The CCDs have released five albums (the most recent, Genuine Negro Jig, just last month), been featured on both NPR’s All Things Considered & Fresh Air, and have been the topic of discussion on numerous magazines and sites.

In today’s world of autotunes, beat machines, lip-syncing, and flashier-is-better-than-sounding-great artists, the CCDs are definitely refreshing. Who said all of the young people are lost? Check out their tour list to see if they’ll be near you soon and if not, the wonderful world of the web can always bring a sample to the internet access device of your choice.

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