Carolina Chocolate Drops

Rhiannon Giddens
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek at our upcoming show. The Carolina Chocolate Drop began as a seminal African American group that revived the old time string band tradition of the Piedmont where black performers were formative from the 19th century onward. The Chocolate Drops started out as the Sankofa Strings, after meeting at the black banjo gathering in Boone, North Carolina, 2005. They evolved over the next decade. Rhiannon Giddens, trained formally in opera, played banjo and fiddle and sang with her band mates to growing audiences.

Carolina Chocolate Drops singer and banjoist Rhiannon Giddens was preparing for a career in opera when she discovered the rich tradition of African-American string band music and performance in the Piedmont region. She completely changed directions, and co-founded the now Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. The Carolina Chocolate Drops play Jazz Fest Saturday, April 28th.