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March 21, 2007

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Carolina Chocoloate Drops with Joe Thompson

Lessons From The Master

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It's said that Joe Thompson is the last African American "old-time" fiddler in the south. Joe was born in 1918. His father and uncles were fiddlers who played for black and white audiences for weekend "frolics". Young Joe not only learned the songs of his youth, he performed them at Carnegie Hall.

Today Dick Gordon spends an hour with Joe and the young African American string band trio, The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Joe is mentoring the threesome, teaching them the songs which define his musical legacy.

They perform a few tunes in the studio, including "Georgia Buck is Dead", and "Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind."

The Carolina Chocolate Drops' Rhiannon Giddens is classically trained in opera. Rhiannon met Joe Thompson and fell in love with black string band style - so much so that she learned to fiddle and play the banjo. She's even followed her passion back to Africa, learning to play the "akonting", the original African banjo.

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