Ahead of their gig at Cecil Sharp House on 3 October, we caught up with Rhiannon Giddens and Leyla McCalla of the Carolina Chocolate Drops to discuss their music.
Our music uses fiddle, cello, guitar and different kinds of banjos to play and talk about different musical traditions from North Carolina to Ireland to Haiti.
We’ve been influenced by artists and genres across the world. We’re particularly inspired by artists like Bessie Smith, Etta Baker, Joe Thompson, the Balfa Brothers and the Carriere Brothers, among others.
One of our biggest career highlights has been attending the Grammy Awards Ceremony in 2013. But I’m sure for Rhiannon it was winning a Grammy for the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ record Genuine Negro Jig in 2011!
We craft each song according to what we feel each song needs. Though it can sometimes be challenging to find what that is, it’s something that opens us to different ways of expressing and is ultimately what excites us about arranging and writing music.
If I could jam with any artist, it would be Canray Fontenot, one of the best Louisiana Creole fiddlers that ever lived.
Louisiana Hot Sauce: Creole Style by Canray Fontenot.
The last show I attended was the Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival in Lyons, Colorado.
Leyla will be releasing her first solo record, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, in October, 2013 in Europe and February, 2014 in the United States.