by Lou Perron
Last year it was Mamadou Diabate’, the Malian kora player who resides in Durham. He won a Grammy for Best Traditional World Music.
Then this year, Merge Records, a local Durham label won Album of the Year for The Suburbs by Arcade Fire.
But I especially want to congratulate the Carolina Chocolate Drops for winning the Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuine Negro Jig .
Photo by Julie Roberts, courtesy of Nonesuch Records
I first heard The Chocolate Drops a number of years ago, at an unlikely venue: E. K. Powe Elementary School. Surprisingly, the Carolina Chocolate Drops were willing to spend their time playing at a public school with an audience of youngsters. This alone was great of them. But they put on a workshop of both music playing and playfulness. And they had the rapt attention of both young and old (me.) Through their musicianship, they preserved and enlivened this music, passing along an “aural” tradition and keeping it from extinction. So they’re incredible teachers as well.
And these are not the only Grammy winners who live in Durham. But it’s not just Grammy artists that make great music in this town. Live music is at the heart of Durham. You can find it almost every day or night. Go out to hear it and give it your support!
Here’s a totally incomplete mix of links for live music in Durham:
And some of the local venues/groups:
For more, try the Independent Weekly
So much live music here.