Dom Flemons

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Dom Flemons
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Dom Flemons is the “American Songster,” pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. Having performed music professionally since 2005, he has played live for over one million people just within the past three years. As part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he cofounded with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, he has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival to Bonnaroo, in addition to renowned venues such as the Grand Ole Opry.

Raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Flemons’s involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica as a teenager, he began to play in local coffee houses and became a regular performer on the Arizona folk music scene. A multi-instrumentalist, Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum, and quills, in addition to singing. He says that he incorporates his background in percussion to his banjo playing. His banjo repertoire includes not only claw hammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. He first picked up the instrument when he borrowed a five-string banjo from a friend who had removed the instrument’s fifth string. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band, Flemons was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences. The band won a GRAMMY Award for its 2011 album Genuine Negro Jig and was nominated for its most recent album, Leaving Eden, in 2012.

In July 2014, Flemons released his third solo record with Music Maker Relief Foundation and his first since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Prospect Hill finds Flemons digging deeply into ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, Southern folk music, string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum music, and ballads—idioms with showmanship and humor, reinterpreting the music to suit twenty-first-century audiences. He was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album has received praise from the Boston Globe, Paste magazine, Living Blues magazine, and others.
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By: Musical Instrument Museum - MIM

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