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Directed by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, Black Fiddlers traces the personal and family stories of violin players of African descent in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Texas, Missouri, and as far as Oregon during the Indian Wars and the Gold Rush. Inspired by the legacy of Joe & Odell Thomson, director Montes-Bradley resorted to performers Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson from The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and old-time fiddler Earl White to reconstruct three-hundred years of Black music with the help of local historians, academics, and award-winning authors like Kip Lornell and John J. Sullivan.

 

Black Fiddlers is the result of one year of uninterrupted research, on the road and on location. The result is a compelling one-hour documentary film carefully designed to inform and entertain while presenting the audience with a diversity of arguments never explored before on film.

HERITAGE FILM PROJECT + EARLY MUSIC ACCESS PROJECT present BLACK FIDDLERS

a documentary film by EDUARDO MONTES-BRADLEY  

 

Development made possible with financial support from

The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation

Early Music Access Project and Individual Contributions 

executive producers

DAVID McCORMICK + SOLEDAD LIENDO

written, narrated, edited, and directed by

EDUARDO MONTES-BRADLEY

 

principal consultants

Marshall WYATT Jeffrey PLANK Guille MEALLA

Jacqueline C. DJEDJE Kip LORNELL Loren LUDWIG David McCORMICK

in order of appearance

 

KIP LORNELL

IRIS CHAPMAN THOMPSON 

TRAVIS “BOON” THOMPSON

HENRIQUE PRINCE

MARSHALL WYATT

DAVID ROBERTS

JUSTIN ROBINSON

RHIANNON GIDDENS

EARL WHITE

JOHN SULLIVAN

HOWARD L. SACKS and JUDY ROSE SACKS

BEVERLY GREY

TERRY JENOURE

MARY CATTON LINGOLD

 

archival footage and photographs

The Life of Joe Thomson (2004) Directed by Iris Chapman Thompson

Way Out West (1978) Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities

Marshall Wyatt, Old Hat Records

Talensi Fiddle. Gongay Music From the Upper Region of Ghana, The Dinizulu Archives

Cedric Watson - Pa Janvier (Live on KEXP)

America (1924) D. W. Griffith, USA

Portrait of Joe and Odel Thompson (1987) by Nancy KALOW

Virginia Folklife

The Library of Congress

The Battle of Rogue River (1954), Theatrical Trailer 

12 Years a Slave (2013) Theatrical Trailer. Regency Films

The New York Times

 

first assistants

William MONTES-LIENDO

 Michael JORDAN (North Carolina)

Mikel GRAY (Ohio) Jason EVERSOLE (Virginia) 

 

music + sounds

Negro Jig, by Carolina Chocolate Drops

attributed to The Snowdens 

 

special thanks to

Jacqueline C. DJEDJE and BENJAMIN HUNTER

Lucia “Cinder” STANTON Joe and Rosemary ERDMAN

Melissa YOUNG Cynthia REUSCHE

Dom FLEMONS Eugene STOLTZFUS and Janet TRETTER

Iris THOMSON CHAPMAN Ruth CHODROW Janet KALTENBACH 

Elsie W. THOMPSON Dana MARSH Sandra TIMMONS

 

the producer also wishes to thank

Travis “Boon” THOMPSON Adrianne NELSON Dan FOSTER 

Michael MALLORY Elsie THOMSON Luck CHURCH 

Johannah CASTELMAN Jody KIELBASA Dena Ross JENNINGS 

Pat JARRET ab WALKER Eliza CANTY-JONES

Megan FRESTEDT Nicole CHERRY Sandy HAUSMAN

Zachary STOCKS Jon VEIN Kristina GADDY 

Bridgit and Jason EVERSOLE

Dylan LOCKE from The Floyd Country Store

 

filmed on location 

Maryland: Sylver Springs

Massachusetts: Northfield, Stockbridge

New York: Harlem

North Carolina: Mebane, Raleigh, Durham

Ohio: Mount Vernon, Chillicothe

Pennsylvania: Cumberland

Virginia: Charlottesville, Floyd

 

insurance by 

Pacific Way Insurance Services | Adam Fast

Beverly Hills, CA

 

accounting by

Vitale & Miller, PA | Greg Vitale

 

 

postproduction provided by

 

Heritage Film Project | Charlottesville, Virginia

Edited on FINAL CUT PRO X James McLaughlin

Mountainside Studio, Charlottesville, Virginia

Images Enhanced with Topaz ® Gigapixel Artificial Intelligence

Cameras NIKON Z6, Sony PDK-150, and iPhone13

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