In 2004, Iris Thompson Chapman produced "The Life and Times of Joe Thompson," a documentary about the last known African American fiddler in North Carolina with a singular style that could be traced, in Joe Thompson’s own remarks, “all the way back to the 1700's".  Joe's remarks inspired me to document Black fiddlers in other parts of the country, and with the financial support of Early Music Access Project, and a gift from The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, I embarked on a twelve-month journey to complete Black Fiddlers.

 

The result is a sixty-minute documentary conceived as a dialogue between the voices of fiddlers from different regions of the United States, local historians, keepers of unevaluable stories, and academics in the field of ethnomusicology and folklore. 

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 wish 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