Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The Carolina Chocolate Drops
Well, wow!  Maybe it's music that is going to save the world after all.  It certainly did tonight - as a little slice of heaven from North Carolina came to our humble town and played and played. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are making sure we don't forget: black banjo music, North Carolina Piedmont music, Scottish songs (!), and (the name of their new album) "genuine Negro jig" (the phrase found scribbled by the white man who wrote down the music he heard the black man play - tales to tell there).  If you can hear even a bit of that song, do it: I've never heard anything like it - it doesn't sounds like any melody ever.  They've been together for five years, traveling and gathering music from elders who are often in the '90s - they seem utterly inexhaustible, so it looks like modern audiences are on their way to being reawakened to this tradition.  The group was just in the Netherlands and... in France! I can't find out on their website where they played - wonder if they made it as far out as Brittany? There were a couple of boatmen's jig that would have found a home.

So it's the effects of the music I'm reveling in. Minutes before settling in with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, I was finishing a discussion about the documentary Encounter Point which we were showing to students going on the Israel trip.  Intimate time with families who have lost children and who are coming together for a peace movement.  And there was great music in the background. If I knew more I could tell you if it was Israeli or Palestinian - it was beautiful.  When the first notes of music were played on stage tonight, I sat stunned at its richness and determination, its fun and its expertise.  Iris asked Mac to dance with him (Eleanor joined in, too) - there were other people dancing in the aisles, and joyful cries when a certain song would be announced (they covered Johnny Cash's "Jackson" which made Mac inordinately happy).  There we all were: happy.

Too much to process - everything to remember.

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