sharing their knowledge of string band music with a younger generation of listeners and musicians.In the same line, the fiddler and mandolin player, butabove all multi-instrumentalist (he played 22 instruments), Armstrong Howard (1909-2003) was subject to a revivalthroughout the 1980′s. He had been playing with CarlMartin and (the much underrated, versatile purveyor of many styles) Ted Bogan for much of his career. Other chocolate drops come to us here: in the pre-war eraHoward, Bogan and Martin formed a string band known, ata particular moment, under the name of the TennesseeChocolate Drops (their name in fact inspired the CarolineChocolate Drops).Carl Martin (1906-1979), born in Virginia, and son of aslave who also played the fiddle (known as Fiddlin’ Martin),was a born entertainer and he is said to have been able toplay any instrument with strings. He played the blues, buthe also played hoedowns, polkas, old and new pop songs,and anything else that would entertain and please thecrowd. His life was a repository of a great deal of America’s musical and social experience. In the 30′s heand his aforementioned musical partners Bogan and Armstrong migrated via many stops to Chicago, where they continued to play, adding songs in German,French, Spanish, Polish, Yiddish, and even Chinese to appeal to people of all the different neighbourhoodswhere they would play. Carl Martin was part of a rich musical tradition in Appalachia – a tradition which mixedblues and ragtime with pop and the styles of white musicians from rural mountain communities.This brings us to some questions: when did this string band music emerge? Were the bands black or white?When did the blacks start to play fiddle? When did the banjo and the fiddle meet? These are mostinteresting questions which touch the very essence of the emergence of the roots music, but to which to ahigh degree only provisional answers are available (for the moment) due to the lack of sufficientwritten/recorded material. This lack of material is probably due to the very fact that there has existed verylittle interest for these questions in the early days of the ethno-musicological explorations.It may well be that the old-time string band music is the earliest form of musical collaboration between African American and European American (often Scottish-Irish) musicians. Recent studies by Epstein (2003) andConway (2005) have tried to shed some light on the matter.When British colonists settled in the upper Southernstates – North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky,and West Virginia – they brought along the violin (fiddle)and many traditional fiddle tunes. African Americansintroduced the gourd banjo, together with their (syncopated) playing techniques, tunes, songs, and avariety of tuning methods. Conway documents howmusicians from these ethnic groups met in the UplandSouth states and combined the elements of old-timestring band, fiddle and banjo, together for the first time.The music that was played was suitable for both listeningand dancing.Epstein doubts the idea that the banjo, an Africaninstrument, was infused in the musical tradition by (thesole) way of the minstrelsy shows. She argues that blackshave played an essential role in the creation of the stringband music. In fact, she traces the evolution of all genresof African American folk music back to the use of Africanpercussion instruments and the “banjar” which weremeant to encourage dancing as exercise to maintain the health of slaves on board of the slave ships (andthus maintain the value of the commodity). She also puts forward a number of reports of African Americansplaying percussion instruments and violins to entertain themselves and whites.