Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts to Present Black Violin, 11/22
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College continues its 60th Anniversary Season on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at 2pm with Black Violin. Three-time winners of Amateur Night at the Apollo, this classically trained violin duo inspires young people to get fired up about classical music with their unique fusion of classical, hip-hop, jazz, blues, and R&B. Recommended for ages eight and up. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at BrooklynCenter.org or by calling the box office at 718-951-4500 (Tues-Sat, 1pm-6pm).
It's hard to think of another African-American violin player to make their mark in popular music, so classically trained South Florida twosome, Wilner "Wil B" Baptiste and Kevin "Kev Marcus" Sylvester, who go by the name Black Violin are a welcome revelation for their ability to meld high-brow and pop culture, " Brandenburg" and "break-down," into a single genre-busting act. The band's most recent album, Classically Trained, is the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled debut on their own Di-Versatile Music Group label, which is as good an introduction to their groundbreaking blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and even bluegrass music. Live, they are often accompanied by their crack band, featuring ace turntable whiz DJTK (Dwayne Dayal), drummer Beat-down (Jermaine McQueen) and cellist Joe Cello (Joseph Valbrun).
Wil B and Kev Marcus are classically trained viola and violin players who first met playing in the high school orchestra in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. After graduating college, they joined up as hip-hop studio rats in the South Florida, working with several different acts be-fore returning to their roots by fusing the two genres in a ground-breaking collaboration that has seen them play their music for everybody from the troops in Iraq to both the official President's Inaugural Ball and the Kids Inaugural in Washington, DC, where Barack Obama himself gave each a hearty hand-shake and man hug, as First Lady Michelle Obama looked on approvingly. The pair also head-lined 40 shows in two stints at the New Victory Theater on Broadway, including 16 sold-out shows over two weeks last November. Along the way, they've wowed audiences at the legendary Harlem Apollo Theatre, accompanied Alicia Keys' performance of "Karma" at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and appeared with Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump playing the hit song, "Stereo Hearts," for VH1's Unplugged.
Since starting Black Violin a decade ago-named after an album, by pre-eminent African-American swing era jazz violinist Stuff Smith-Wil B and Kev have performed an average of 200 shows a year in 49 states and 36 countries as far away as Dubai, Prague and South Africa, while appearing at official NFL celebrations for three Super Bowls and last year's U.S. Open in Forest Hills with Jordin Sparks. The pair has played with the likes of Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda's Fort Minor, while opening for Fat Joe, Akon and the Wu-Tang Clan. Individually and together, Black Violin has collaborated with the likes of P. Diddy, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin and The Eagles. Kev supplied strings for a track on Lupe Fiasco's Grammy-nominated Food & Liquor 2 album, and appeared on the Meek Mill cut "Maybach Curtains" with John Legend, Rick Ross and Nas. Wil and Kev also scored an episode of CSI: New York, adapting the finale of Puccini's Madame Butterfly for an on-screen murder.