Chocolate Drops Mentor, Joe Thompson Passes Away at Age 93

We are sad to inform you of the death of one of North Carolina's most celebrated old-time musicians. Award winning fiddler and Carolina Chocolate Drops mentor Joe Thompson passed away last night in Alamance County. He was 93 years old.Image634654298021694849

From the North Carolina Arts Council's Tribute:
"Among the last African American fiddle players of his generation, he received a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award from the N.C. Arts Council in 1991 and a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007.

“Probably more than anyone else, Joe was the inspiration for a national revival of stringband music among young generations of African American musicians,” said Wayne Martin, folklife director of the N.C. Arts Council. “He will be sorely missed.” In recent years, Thompson mentored the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Born in 1918 and raised on a farm near the Alamance and Orange County line north of Mebane, Thompson grew up helping his family tend crops and watched his father, Walter Arch Thompson, play fiddle at square dances after the work was done. Thompson started playing with his dad at age seven. He performed for years with his cousin, Odell, a banjo player who also received a 1991 Folk Heritage Award."


Photo credit: Marshall Wyatt, via NC Arts Council

Read the obituary from the Time-News

Read the News & Observer obituary

PineCone's tribute to Joe Thompson

The Story with Dick Gordon profile of Joe Thompson

Our State Magazine profile of Joe Thompson

No comments: