On The Carolina Chocolate Drops' Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig, this youthful trio explored what Sing Out! magazine called "the virtually hidden tradition of black string band music," reaching far back into the last century to trace its lineage from the Piedmont region of North Carolina to the British isles and Africa. Multi-instrumentalists and singers Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson transformed their findings into lively tracks that deftly blended the timeless with the modern. Near-forgotten musical history came resoundingly back to life.
On this new four-song EP, the Drops find an instant connection to the Romanian gypsy punk music of their recent tour-mates, the Brooklyn-based Luminescent Orchestrii, a five-piece group about whom the Scotsman says "The balancing of frenzy and finesse is evidently a trademark...displayed to its utmost in the insanely frenetic dance tunes." Human beatboxer Adam Matta also joined the two bands for this short collection: a brilliant and absolutely live-in-the-studio - no overdubs - mashup of sounds, cultures, and repertoire.
These nine kindred souls seamlessly combine material already popularized by the Drops (their ingenious reworking of Blu Cantrell's brazen R&B anthem, "Hit ‘Em Up Style") with original material from the Orchestrii ("Knockin'"). They split their session time between Brooklyn and Winston-Salem, NC, but make everything sound like part of one thrillingly virtuosic jam. Instrumentation includes fiddles, banjo, harmonica and bass, plus lots of hand-clapping, free-style rapping and human beat-boxing. These tracks were recorded with such immediacy and clarity, and with such a palpable sense of fun and friendship, that listening is almost like being there, hootin' and hollerin' along with them on a makeshift dance floor. And, as with any great party, the disc feels like it's over much too soon.
01 Short Dress Gal
02 Escoutas [Diga Diga Diga]
01 Hit 'Em Up Style