By: Kelly Yambor
Grammy Award-winning folk band Carolina Chocolate Drops will be performing at The Blue Note this Saturday, October 18th. The North Carolina based old-time string band has some major credentials as a live act; they opened for Bob Dylan in 2011 and performing at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2010, and again in 2014. You may have also heard their song “Daughter’s Lament” on the Hunger Games soundtrack two years back. CCD is not just another typical folk band. Their music is formed by a variety of cultures and a soulful spirit that takes folk back to its historic roots. They perform folk the way it was performed by the African Americans who sung it first, before white country singers and folk artists did their own renditions and turned the genre into what it is today.
Carolina Chocolate Drops doesn’t forget to incorporate the Gaelic roots of the genre either. They use traditional instruments made from bones, cowhide, and animal guts–not exactly yum-worthy, but it says something about just how authentic this folk band is in comparison to so many others. CCD care about and know their history, and seek to take you back to a time before iPhones, CDs, or even record players existed – and their live performances are no exception. The band members are known for stomping their hearts out, dancing the old-style jigs, and even somersaulting on stage. They also give a little background story about almost every song before they play it, including the historical context. As someone who not only loves audience engagement but history as well, this is an exciting prospect. A history lesson and a concert all in one? Don’t mind if I do.
The number one reason you should see this band on Saturday, in my most humble opinion, is the lead singer Rhiannon Giddons. Talk about a voice. I first heard her sing when I watched the television special Another Night, Another Time, which was a kind of tribute concert to the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack. During the concert, Giddons performed the song “Water Boy” by Odetta, along with two Gaelic songs. She stole the show; her classical training was more than apparent, along with her seemingly perfect Gaelic. That, combined with her undeniable soul and energy, gave her a much deserved standing ovation. On top of being an incredibly talented vocalist, she plays the fiddle, banjo, and kazoo. If superheroes were folk singers, they would be something like Giddons. When Saturday night comes around, make yourself some cornbread and chili for dinner, and put on your dancing shoes for what is bound to be a great show.
Kelly Yambor is a sophomore at the University of Missouri from Annapolis, MD. While she is currently majoring in Secondary Social Studies Education, she lives and breathes music. The majority of her spare time is spent listening to music, helping behind the scenes of concerts and festivals, attending concerts or blogging about music. She has volunteered at festivals such as Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Roots N’ Blues N’ BBQ, and the music team for True/False Film Festival. Kelly also helps bring live music to Mizzou as an officer for the Department of Student Activities’ College Music Committee.