Grammy-winning string and jug band to perform at Purdue

September 30, 2011

Carolina Chocolate Drops, from left, are Hubby Jenkins, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens and Adam Matta

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Convocations presents Grammy-winning string and jug band The Carolina Chocolate Drops at Purdue University's Loeb Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops take Appalachian folk and stir it into the modern-day melting pot with more than a dash of soul and sass. This African-American string and jug band uses tradition as its guide to honor the rich musical heritage of the string band.

Yet, classic string bands always absorbed other music influences - and it's no different for the "Drops." The ragtime, African banjo music, country, and popular music that were folded into Piedmont blues of North and South Carolina are still part of their recipe, yet the Drops sweeten things with new ingredients such as remakes of songs by Tom Waits and the 2001 R&B hit "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)."

The group is the first black string band ever to play the Grand Ole Opry, and its newest album, "Genuine Negro Jig," won the 2011 Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.

In the summer and fall of 2005, three young musicians, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson, made the commitment to travel to Mebane, N.C., every Thursday night to sit in the home of old-time fiddler Joe Thompson for a musical jam session. Joe was in his 80's, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. He had learned to play a wide-ranging set of tunes sitting on the back porch with other players after a day of field work. Now he was passing those same lessons on to a new generation.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops have added two new musicians to the band: human beatboxer Adam Matta and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins. The two join the group as founding member Robinson departs to take up new challenges.

Tickets are $26 for adults and $19 for children 18 years and younger, Purdue students and Ivy Tech Lafayette students. Tickets are available at the Elliott Hall and Stewart Center box offices at 765-494-3933 or 800-914-SHOW. Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster outlets.  Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more can be ordered at 765-496-1977.

Initiated in 1902, Purdue Convocations is among the oldest collegiate professional performing arts presenters in the United States. Each year, Convocations offers the region 20-30 performances of widely varying genres: Broadway-style shows, theatre, dance, children's theatre, world music, jazz, and chamber music, along with rock, pop, country and comedy attractions. With a vision for connecting artists and audiences in artistic dialogue and for drawing in academic discourse, Purdue Convocations aims to promote frequent exposure to and familiarity with human cultural expression in a multitude of forms and media.

Contact: Abby Eddy, 765-494-5045,