A documentary portrait of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a string band from Raleigh, North Carolina, and their mentor, fiddler Joe Thompson (1919—2012). The film captures how three musicians from the hip-hop generation embraced a 19th-century genre and took it to new heights, winning a Grammy in 2010. The story of the band’s rise, from busking on the street to playing major festivals, is informed by the history of the banjo’s origins in Africa, and the untold story of the black string band tradition.
Short Before the Feature: Birth of Afrobeat // Opiyo Okeyo :: In this hybrid live-action/animated short, filmmaker Opiyo Okeyo documents drum legend Tony Allen as he recounts his contribution to the birth of Africa’s most exported music genre.
John Whitehead earns his living making documentaries for public television and videos for non-profit organizations. He is also a serious amateur musician with a long time interest in American roots music. His 2004 film, Make ‘Em Dance: The Hackberry Ramblers’ Story, traced the history of a legendary Cajun/country band from Lake Charles, Louisiana. Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind is his second foray into the roots music genre. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with his wife, Suzanne Garfield. When not making movies he plays music with friends and with his band, Blue Yodel N0. 9.