Pike’s Peak Center
September 26, 2017
As a fan of classical music, I find myself also enjoying cross-genre takes on it. From the disco-inspired mini-anthologies of Hooked on Classics to the acapella versions created by The Swingle Singers, any unique take on the classical genre merely reminds me of how great the classics truly are. Of course, some of what gives classical music its charm is the full sound of an orchestra, each instrument providing a piece to a greater whole. When this style of music is compared to the heavy beats and synthesized remixing of hip-hop, there’s not very much in common. That’s where Black Violin begs to differ.
These two musicians, Kev Marcus and Wil B., use only a violin and viola (respectively) to show how the hip-hop beat (i.e., the “kick, snare, kick, kick, snare”) can fuse with the classical sound typically associated with their string instruments. I know I’m usually turned off of the hip-hop genre due to the lyrics of many rappers, but in terms of a musical style, it can be very catchy, especially when interwoven with such classics as Bach’s Brandenberg Concerto. Fortunately, Black Violin’s lyrics are positive, trying to enact change in a racially charged society instead of focusing on violence and misogyny.
Both members of Black Violin seemed very down-to-earth, and not focused on the “rock and roll lifestyle” that often plagues musicians. At their heart, they are teachers of music, and they want to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of following creative pursuits in a message that calls out to originality. Their live show was fun and entertaining, were it not for my one qualm: their lighting setup. I know most concert venues don’t have the audience in the locations the Pike’s Peak Center does, but when the lights are facing out from the stage and shine brightly in one spot for too long (i.e., right where I was sitting), it becomes difficult to focus on the music. Maybe it’s just me, but I think more of the lights should highlight the musicians, and not the audience. Either way, I would encourage everyone to give Black Violin a listen, regardless of the light show.