AN EVENING WITH CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS

Carolina Chocolate Drops

The Ark's 16th Annual Fall Fundraiser

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 highlight the central role African Americans have played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings. Now, with their brilliant 2012 release "Leaving Eden," the Drops have expanded (their Ark appearance will be as a quartet), and their new repertoire incorporates more blues, jazz, and folk balladry alongside crackling string-band tunes. Banjoist and founding member Dom Flemons points out: “There’s a new diversity that comes from the new ensemble. My thought process of how I put together songs for the Carolina Chocolate Drops now is more like working with a jazz group." Though often striking out in new directions, the Drops return to familiar turf with tracks like “Riro’s House,” a traditional piece they’d learned from their late mentor, North Carolina fiddler Joe Thompson. Once again they break out such unique instrumentation as jugs and bones; vocalist Rhiannon Giddens performs on the unusual bass banjo (also known as a five-string cello banjo), while Dom Flemons employs his quills, a panpipe instrument of African origin. Much more than simply revivalists, the Carolina Chocolate Drops have evolved into American tradition-bearers of the first order—and their show is as much fun as anybody else's in the business.

Dinner reception provided by Zingerman’s Roadhouse from 5 until 6:45 p.m. for our Jug Band Benefactors ($500), Guitar Strummin' Sponsors ($250) and Banjo Pickin' Patrons ($125) Doors open at 7:15 p.m. for our Fiddlin' Friends ($50, general admission tickets) Music starts at 7:30 p.m.

The evening will also feature a Silent Auction for your bidding pleasure and an afterglow dessert reception provided by Café Felix for patrons at all ticket levels.

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