Classical, hip-hop mixture creates unique sound

Black Violin will bring its unique sound to the Jasper stage at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available by calling 812-482-3070.

From Local Sources

JASPER — The duo Black Violin will perform at the Jasper Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Black Violin is composed of classically trained violist Wil B. (Wilner Baptiste) and violinist Kev Marcus (Kevin Sylvester), who combine their classical training and hip-hop influences to create a distinctive multi-genre sound that is often described as “classical boom.”

The Florida duo met in high school, went to different colleges, and then later reconvened to create the musical group Black Violin. The duo plays a variety of music, relying heavily upon classical music, but are often categorized as hip-hop because of the changes to the rhythm and beats.  This mingling of hip-hop and classical sensibilities gives them their distinctive style.

The band released its major label debut “Stereotypes,” featuring “Black Thought of The Roots” and “MC Pharoahe Monch,” on Universal Music. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart and No. 4 on the Billboard R&B Chart.

Black Violin has shared stages with top music artists, including Kayne West, Aerosmith and Tom Petty, and has creatively collaborated with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Wyclef Jean and Alicia Keys. The band is currently touring the U.S. and Europe, as well as composing the score for Fox’s new series, “Pitch,” which premiered  in 2016.

Despite their successful collaborations, Baptiste and Sylvester had disparate upbringings.  As children, they were introduced to their instruments against their choice.  Sylvester’s mother enrolled him in violin classes when he started getting into some minor trouble in the fifth grade. Baptiste was actually interested in taking saxophone lessons, but ended up in the wrong class and stuck with the viola.  They both had teachers who inspired them to continue with their musical careers.

They have performed an average of 200 shows a year in 49 states and 39 countries, while appearing at official NFL celebrations for three Super Bowls and last year’s U.S. Open in Forest Hills with Jordin Sparks.  They have played their music for troops in Iraq, Presidential Inaugural Balls, and individually or together, with the talents of P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles.

Baptiste and Sylvester place heavy emphasis on educational outreach, and have performed for more than 100,000 students in North America and Europe in the past 12 months.

“Through the message of Black Violin’s music, we’ve spent the last 10 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 duo said. “This past year alone, we’ve played for nearly 100,000 students and over 125 public shows across the U.S. 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.  

“As black men living in America, we understand challenges and we also understand the power of ‘I can’t,’ yet we decide 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 individually and encourage progress.”

Tickets — priced at $35 for adults, $33 for seniors and $30 for students and children — are available by calling the Jasper Arts Center at 812-482-3070. 

More at 

More on