'I see bluegrass - and I want to paint it black'
During 2005-6 I used to run a club, playing only black music such as reggae, soul, funk, and hip-hop. In 2007 I parked that project and was drawn into the world of bluegrass; the joke of a reggae DJ becoming a bluegrass promoter has been around for a while now. During the last seven years I met a lot of people who taught me about the tradition and history of bluegrass, but I never knew that my love for black music and bluegrass will meet one day.
Last night (7 October) I saw the light - I went to see the amazing Carolina Chocolate Drops, a four-piece string band which has been described as the revival of the black string-band tradition. They played a fantastic show to a very supportive audience in Galway: the band changed instruments, lead vocals, musical styles, and combined it with unique explanations about the music, the instruments, and their origins. Alongside traditional old-time fiddle tune the band combined string arrangements for hip-hop and country numbers. Bar the fact that it was an unbelievable show, it brought it all home for me and I learned a lot of new things about bluegrass.
The band were supported by another great band by the name of David Wax Museum which played folk, bluegrass, gospel, and Mexican-style music - a great night hailed by all. I just hope that the sky line between North Carolina and the west of Ireland will be open and that we will see them in Westport during one of our festivals. Maybe the Chocolate Drops will turn into rain.
Uri sends this link to a playlist of thirteen YouTube videos of the Chocolate Drops.
The BIB editor apologises for not giving advance news of the Galway show; few people regret missing it more than he does.