Shakori Hills Festival Features Many Groups
The Fall Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, taking place Oct. 9-12, will be welcoming two different, yet fascinating acts who call the Triangle area home. They will both be taking the stage on Saturday.
A fairly new band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, have toured enough in the past two years to make audiences believe they've been around much longer. Their brand of old-time endears itself to listeners from the first note.
Nnenna Freelon, on the other hand, has been compared to Nina Simone and other great women of jazz. Her list of stages on which she has performed is remarkable: Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and even the White House. Shakori Hills will be honored to have both of these acts on their stages.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops take the stage as a threesome of young black old-time musicians. At first listen and glance, this is something new, but listen to them tell their stories and they will share a long-standing tradition of black string music.
The band consists of Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Robinson, both from the North Carolina Piedmont, and Dom Flemons, from Arizona. Their N.C. Piedmont style of old-time was handed to them mostly from their friend, Joe Thompson, of Mebane, who is said to be the last black traditional string musician. The band strives to carry on the long-standing traditional music of the black and white communities from the area.
Giddens' voice is at one point operatic and the next taken right from a front porch in Appalachia. Her banjo picking reflects the joyful play of a traditional reel and the respect of its African ancestors. Robinson plays the fiddle and sings, his smile belying how much fun he's having and his feet moving right along. Flemons sports such abnormal instruments as the spoons, the bones, and the jug with the comfort with which a rock percussionist only holds drumsticks.
Nnenna Freelon, a six-time Grammy Award-nominee, has earned a reputation as a compelling and captivating live performer. Her performance at the White House for the 20th anniversary of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the 43rd annual Grammy Awards telecast, her performances for the legendary Julie Andrews at the Society of Singers' "Ella Awards," Jerry Lewis' Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, and at the most famous jazz festivals around the globe have all been rousing successes.
Despite her career, Freelon considers her two most important lifetime roles those of wife and mother. Her husband, Phil Freelon, is an accomplished award-winning architect. His firm, The Freelon Group, is based in Durham and has worked on projects such as the Durham Bulls Athletics Park, RDU Airport, and many buildings on N.C. Central's campus.
Her son, Pierce, has a budding musical career of his own. His band, The Beast, is a fascinating mix of jazz, hip hop, and soul. The Beast will be making its second Shakori appearance this fall on Friday evening.
Other performers include The Del McCoury Band; The Duhks; Donna the Buffalo; Eileen Ivers; Abe Reid and the Spikedrivers; Apple Chill Cloggers; Atsiaktonkie; Barrelhouse Mamas; The Belleville Outfit; Big Fat Gap; Bluegrass Experience; Boulder Acoustic Society; Bubba George Stringband; Cane Creek Cloggers; Des Ark; Divisa Nacional; Dub Addis; Elikem African Dance; Eric Ginsburg; the everybodyfields; The Fairlanes; The Green Deeps; Haw River Rounders; Holy Ghost Tent Revival; Hot Politics; HuDost; John Specker; Jule Brown; Mad Tea Party; Martha and the Moodswingers; Megafaun; Midtown Dickens; Moontee Sinqua; Mosadi Music; No Strings Attached; Paleface; Plena Libre; Preston Frank; Rootzie; Saludos Compay; Samantha Crain; Sarah Shook; Speedsquare; Stephanie's Id; Thacker Dairy Road; Toubab Krewe, and Unknown Tongues.
Tickets are available online at www.shakorihills.org and by telephone at (919) 542-8142. Regular adult four-day passes are $75 in advance and $85 at the gate. Four-day passes for youth ages 13-15 are $45 (children 12 years and younger are free).
Day tickets are also available: $22 for Thursday, $30 for Friday, $37 for Saturday, and $26 for Sunday. Onsite parking is $4 per day or $10 for the weekend.
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance is sponsored by Shakori Hills, Inc., a nonprofit formed in order to provide an environment for community building through arts and education for Chatham County and beyond.f
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