by John Stoehr
Tickets for the Carolina Chocolate Drops are selling fast. It's easy to see why. They draw from all kinds of musical sources to create their music. Don't tell them that can't do one kind of music, then turn around and do another kind. They don't know what you mean by "can't." The lead singer, Rhiannon Giddens, has already impressed me. While I was spell-checking her name, I came across her professional website. Turns out this singer and dancer and preservationist of African-American string music of the Carolina Piedmont is also an accomplished opera singer. Take at look at this picture of her (above left) in the Oberlin Conservatory's (where she studied voice) production of Mozart's classic of classical opera's Cosi fan tutte. I love it when artists defy our expectations of what's possible — that's what lies at the heart of being creative. You envision what wasn't there. Here's Giddens with her band and the kind of thing you'll likely find at the Drops' Spoleto performances. Unless Giddens busts out with some Marriage of Figaro.