By Rayond Ward, Chicago Crusader
MUSICAL MASH UPS: Classical music will meet hip-hop when the string phenomenon Black Violin comes to the McAninch Center (MAC) for an entertaining, 90-minute high-energy, family-friendly concert of musical mash ups, on Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Black Violin’s repertoire includes both instrumental and vocal works, drawing on classical music, but also referencing hip-hop, rock, R&B and bluegrass. For the MAC engagement, Black Violin will be joined onstage by DJ SPS, a USA DMC Supremacy battle champion, and drummer Nat Stokes to perform a program comprised of Black Violin’s creative take on well-known classical pieces, works from their most recent album, “Stereotypes,” unique covers of works of a variety of contemporary artists such as English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, American rapper Kendrick Lamar, and much more.
Black Violin is composed of classically trained string instrumentalists, Kevin Sylvester (violin) and Wilner Baptiste (viola), who go by the stage names Kev Marcus and Wil B. They met in a Miami high school and went to different colleges, but post-college reconnected and, inspired by the “soul and fire” of the electric amplified violin music of Stuff Smith, created the Florida-based Black Violin.
Black Violin’s popularity soared when they accompanied Alicia Keys at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and by performing on the same bill with some of the industry’s biggest artists, such as Wu-Tang Clan, and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. As writers and producers, Kev and Wil B. have also worked with Kanye West, Tom Petty, Lupe Fiasco, and Aerosmith, among others. To date they have released three albums: “Stereotypes,” “Classically Trained” and “Black Violin” and two mixtapes: “BV Mixtape Series: Unleashed I” and “BV Mixtape Series: Unleashed II.”
For the last ten years as Black Violin has been working to encourage and empower people of all ages, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Their philosophy, “We understand challenges and we also understand the power of ‘I can’t,’ yet we have decided to live by and promote the power of ‘I can.’ We realize that every opportunity to connect our diverse fans is an opportunity to break down the barriers that separate us, empower indivuality and encourage pro- gress.”
Black Violin comes to The McAninch Arts Center (MAC), which is located at 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn on Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range in price from $40 to $50 and are available by calling 630-942-4000.