Carolina Chocolate Drops line-up changes
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Carolina Chocolate Drops line-up changes

Monday, February 7, 2011 – Carolina Chocolate Drops added two new musicians to the band, while founding member Justin Robison has left.

Human beat boxer Adam Matta and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins are now with CCD.

"When Justin, Dom, and I started playing together, we had no idea where it would all lead...we just knew that playing with (mentor, 92-year-old black Piedmont string musician) Joe Thompson was a privilege and an honor and we were thrilled to be spreading his music to different audiences out there in the world," said Rhiannon Giddens on the band's web site Monday.

"It's been an adventurous and at times unexpected journey, but I'm extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish together in the last six years. We will certainly miss seeing and playing with Justin, and Dom (Flemons) and I wish him well in the next chapter of his life. All three of us are confident that the spirit of the Carolina Chocolate Drops will continue with Hubby and Adam, and the welcome remains for Justin whenever he should come a-visiting."

"It has been a great pleasure to work with Justin and to learn more about Southern music and culture from being around him. I wish him all of the best," said Flemons. "With that being said, it will be a great pleasure to begin to work with Hubby Jenkins and Adam Matta. I've known Hubby for several years through his connection to the New York roots music scene, while I met Adam during our collaboration with the Luminescent Orchestrii. Folks can still expect great music from our group the same way a jazz band can change personnel without sacrificing the quality or the talent on stage."

Robinson said the band played and toured together for five years. "During those years, we have experienced great successes, heartbreaks, trials and triumphs. It is, however, time for me to take a separate road, and though it is bittersweet, it is the best choice. While I won't be touring with the band full-time, I may show up on stage once in a while. I'd like to thank all of the people who have helped us on this incredible journey, the fans who've supported us since the very beginning and, of course, Rhiannon and Dom."

Jenkins is a New York City multi-instrumental musician and songwriter, known for his authentic and soulful interpretations of traditional American music. He specializes in early blues, old time, ballads, and ragtime. Jenkins developed his style and repertoire from busking in New York subways and many cities around the U.S.

Matta is a beat boxer and vocal performance artist from New York City. He has performed with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and House of Music in Moscow,, and he headlined the 2009 UK Human Beatbox Convention. His beat boxing has been featured on PBS, Showtime, WNYE, and NPR, and his music was on The L Word, Season II: Sessions (Tommy Boy), and in the documentary, Planet B-Boy.

Nonesuch released its second record from the Carolina Chocolate Drops-a four-song EP-on Jan. 25; the band's first Nonesuch release, the critically acclaimed "Genuine Negro Jig," was nominated for a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy. This new EP is a collaboration with the New York City-based Romanian gypsy punk band Luminescent Orchestrii; it was co-produced by the Lumiis sound engineer, Joseph "Bass" DeJarnette, with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Luminescent Orchestrii.

More news for Carolina Chocolate Drops

CD reviews for Carolina Chocolate Drops

CD review - Leaving Eden When Rhiannon Giddens urgently sings the autobiographical Country Girl, which rocks with a distinctly acoustic thump, it's a clear sign that Carolina Chocolate Drops is much more than just an old time music revival band. Granted, this act incorporates a lot of sounds you won't likely hear too often on contemporary radio, such as the hand clap backed gospel rhythm section supporting Read 'Em John. But to flippantly suggest CCD is somehow lost in the past, would gravely ...
CD review - Genuine Negro Jig Authenticity is a loaded subject when it comes to roots music. While the Carolina Chocolate Drops certainly could pass for the real thing at times, theirs is thankfully not a slavish devotion to the black banjo players and string band music that has inspired them. That freedom to improvise and innovate within their chosen style has resulted in this wonderful set of both traditional and contemporary tunes that all share one thing - the enthusiastic performances of the players. ...
CD review - Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind For those who believe old time string music to only be the domain of Appalachian Scotch Irish heritage, the Carolina Chocolate Drops convincingly refute the misconception. After studying under the great Joe Thompson, the Chocolate Drops, an African-American trio, are poised to preserve their musical past. The collection by Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson ranges from string band tunes to mournful ballads. Interpretations of songs such as "Tom Dula" and "Georgie ...

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