This is a past event.

The Ebony Hillbillies 

When: Thu., June 3, 9 p.m. 2010
Price: $25-$40

As one of the premier black string bands in the U.S., the Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of music cherished as uniquely American – jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll, and country. Bringing a fresh urgency to the genre for the 21st century, this quartet of violin, banjo, bass, and washboard-percussion creates an untamed and joyful feeling that echoes across generations and transcends racial and cultural boundaries. Presented by Spoleto Festival USA.

They're underground ... literally
The Ebony Hillbillies are one of the premier black string bands in the country, but their venue of choice isn't a mountain holler — it's the New York City subway. Where else could they entertain such a wide spectrum of people?

Who says Yankees can't play in a string band?
"I gravitated to fiddle music in New York without ever having been in the South. I just knew it existed and sort of just gravitated to it," says Rique Prince. "It's sort of a natural thing to do when you're playing the violin." He also points out that one of the earliest models of banjo was found in Carytown, N.Y. Touché, Rique.

You'll probably hear some familiar tunes.
The Hillbillies have a repertoire of original music, but they also play classic songs like "Cotton Eyed Joe," "Jericho," "Ol' Susannah," and "Shenandoah." And if you're lucky, you might just hear their twangy rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." We've got our fingers crossed.

— Erica Jackson


click to enlarge EBET ROBERTS
  • Ebet Roberts


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