Black Violin will bring their unique blend of hip-hop and the classics to the Clark State Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, November 1.
Black Violin blends hip-hop, rock, the classics and an emcee. “It’s like a rock concert,” said Adkins. They are really inspiring! They will take something like the Four Seasons by Vivaldi – and even if people don’t know they know it, they know it – they will hip-hop it up and put a spin on it.”
“They hit across generations of genres,” said Adele Adkins. “They grew up in Florida, and they play violin and viola. They were inner city kids learning classical music.”
“Through the message of Black Violin's music, we’ve spent the last ten years working to encourage and empower people of all ages, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds to find what connects us, rather than shine a light on what divides us,” the band says on their Facebook page. “This past year alone, we’ve played for nearly 100,000 students and over 125 public shows across the US and Europe. We’ve taken this opportunity to spread a message that challenges the world's view of what it means to rise above labels, be daring enough to follow their passion and most of all, be true to themselves.”
Founding members of Black Violin, Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus, first learned to play their signature instruments – Baptiste, the viola and Marcus, the violin - at ages 14 and 9 years old. The two met while attending the Dillard High School of Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After graduating from high school, both Marcus and Baptiste were granted full music scholarships to Florida State and Florida International University, where they met their future manager, Sam G.
Black Violin claims influences ranging from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z. They blend the classical with the modern to create something “no one has heard, but that everybody wants to feel.” However, it was the work of legendary violinist Stuff Smith that truly enthused the group. Smith, born in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1909, was a preeminent jazz violinist of the swing era. His final album, entitled "Black Violin," so inspired and influenced Marcus and Baptiste that they named their band in honor of him.
Black Violin has toured the world and performed at the famed Apollo Theater in 2005, winning the Showtime at The Apollo competition. Adkins said Black Violin is an exciting group, relevant to our time period and in our region. “They align with everything we believe in here,” she said.
Around 60 Project Jericho children and families will be in attendance, as well as guests from the Perrin Woods Project.
Tickets for Black Violin range from $29 to $53 and are available at ticketmaster.com. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 South Fountain Avenue, Springfield.