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Sweet Revival: Carolina Chocolate Drops Deliver String Band Roots

first_imgFor the Carolina Chocolate Drops there’s a fine line between offering a history lesson and a foot-stomping good time. The Durham, N.C., trio has spent the last five years unearthing the largely unsung traditions of black string band music, and along the way become one of the most dynamic live acts on the continuously exploding youth-charged old-time revival scene. The formula mixes a throwback of past generations—plucking banjos and sawing fiddles—with an underlying progressive edge.“We’re depicted as a very traditional group, but the way that we approach the music is not very strict,” says band member Dom Flemons, who plays guitar, banjo, and a variety of old-fashioned percussion, including jugs and bones. “We add things to bring it forward.”The Carolina Chocolate DropsThe group, which also includes versatile instrumentalists Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, met in 2005 at the Black Banjo Gathering. The event was held at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., by scholars as a one-time symposium and festival to discuss the African roots of the banjo. After realizing a shared love of old-time sounds, the trio was collectively mentored by Joe Thompson, a 91-year-old elder statesman of traditional Carolina Piedmont music, who’s regarded as one of the last original black string band players. With Thompson’s tutoring, the Chocolate Drops soon started bringing pre-Civil War sounds of the rural South to stages across the country.While the group is committed to mining material from the past, they also can’t help but incorporate the influences that come from being in their ‘20s. The band’s latest album, last year’s Genuine Negro Jig, which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album, strikes a proper balance between the generation gaps. In addition to longstanding traditional tunes like “Cornbread and Butterbeans” and “Cindy Gal,” the effort also features front porch-style takes on Tom Waits’ “Trampled Rose” and R&B singer Blu Cantrell’s dance club anthem “Hit ‘Em Up Style.” It’s all part of a dual mission to be ambassadors of forgotten sounds and to encourage crowds to get up and move.“We’re presenting a particular form of music, but interpreting it in a way that’s true to our generation,” says Flemons. “All of the history is important, but what’s most important is that the music needs to be hot and swinging. We want people to get up and shake it.” 1 2last_img read more

Why the movement can’t afford to lose small credit unions

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Michael FryzelThe frustration of Tom Pinnow is clearly evident in his recent letter to the Credit Union Journal about the struggles of small credit unions. What is more evident however is that his words come from his heart and his deep belief of what credit unions should be. He uses the word “family” to describe the interest his credit union takes in their members and how they provide personal, one-on-one services to their “family” members.The “where everyone knows your name” financial institution that Tom describes is, unfortunately, something that we are fast losing and soon we may hear people say “do you remember when” in talking about them.Many financial institutions have become cold and impersonal. It has become a chore to have to go into them and when you do, you can’t wait to get out. Credit unions are supposed to be different. Because they are member-owned, and the treatment you receive is expected to be more personal, more caring and an experience you remember in a good way.Competition, pressure to survive, inability to compete, government regulation, lack of succession planning; the list is endless why a small credit union merges with a larger one or ceases to exist. continue reading »last_img read more

30 fans arrested for misbehaving

first_imgRomanian police detained 30 soccer fans in connection with crowd violence before, during and after Romania’s highly-charged 1-1 draw against Hungary in a Euro 2016 Group F qualifier on Saturday.  Skirmishes broke out near the National Arena with rival fans throwing fireworks and smoke bombs at each other while Hungarian “ultras” destroyed the buses they were in because their national flag was wrongly printed on the information guide they received.There was an electric atmosphere at the stadium, with both teams’ fans creating a deafening roar and letting off dozens of firecrackers and flares shortly before kickoff.Tempers boiled over throughout the encounter, with fans warned by the stadium announcer about their behaviour on several occasions and riot police spraying tear gas.Romanian Football Federation president Razvan Burleanu criticised riot police action during clashes with fans, describing it as “unjustified violence”.Hungarian supporters set several seats on fire when Adam Szalai had a goal disallowed for offside six minutes before the break.Police spokeswoman Irina Dragan said five of the arrested Romanians have been banned from soccer stadiums for one year, adding that nearly 12000 police and security forces were deployed in and around the stadium.last_img read more