Colored Aristocracy

Colored Aristocracy by Sankofa Strings

Usually key of G including the chords G, Em, C, A, D, D7. Two parts.

  • We have a great solo banjo version on CD by Taj Mahal. You can hear the clip at [MySpace]. It seems to be in key of C.
  • Carolina Chocolate Drops fiddle it fast with lots of notes in key of G. We have the CD. You can hear a short clip at [CDbaby].
  • Elmer Rick, old master fiddler [toob]. They say this was recorded by New Lost City Ramblers with Mike Seeger but we don't have the CD.
  • Very clean & moderate pace by the Iron Leg Boys [click track 10].
  • Annie & Mac play in key of D [utoob]. The banjo seems to be in open D tuning. Use the same finger formation in open G tuning to play in key of G.


What does the title mean? It seems to refer to Reconstruction times, after the Civil War and before Jim Crow, when African American freed slaves flourished and were elected to public office. Does it portray resentment by whites or pride by blacks? There are many theories about the tune, the title, and the phrase.

  • Liner notes on CD by Carolina Chocolate Drops [CCD].
  • A book of the same name by Cyprian Clamorgan [google, amazon].
  • Archive discussion of the tune's origin [banjohangout].
  • They say the tune is a cakewalk, similar to a rag [wikipedia].