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Black Violin fuses classical and hip-hop

“It’s all about bringing two worlds together.”

Classical music and hip-hop – two entirely different music genres and two entirely different audiences.

Or are they?

Not when Black Violin is onstage. The duo of viola player Wil B. and violinist Kev Marcus are out to change perceptions through the power of music.

“It’s all about bringing two worlds together,” Marcus said.

Black Violin is known for pulling audiences of different kinds together on its Unity tour and will do so when it plays the Clark State Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, a Tuesday.

When Black Violin fuses the two genres, it does so in a way it’s relatable, Marcus said. He saw evidence at a recent show with an older lady shutting her eyes and taking in the music, while a young man roughly 15 was nodding his head.

The secret is getting the right ingredients, Marcus said.

“We’re not too much classical or hip-hop. We have lush, beautiful strings and put it in a way young kids can relate to. It’s the same song that two different people can interpret differently.”

A testament to its range, the duo has opened for famous rappers from Kanye West and 50 Cent to classic rockers Tom Petty and Aerosmith. And Marcus said the audience reception is the same positive response.

“When you come to our show you’ll see young, old, white, black, purple, green,” Marcus said. “We’re so much stronger together. Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

He discussed a recent incident that happened in a New York hotel. A fitness enthusiast, Marcus was lifting heavy weights in the fitness center as several people went in and out.

Relaxing afterward in the hot tub, a lady asked Marcus if he was a football player. He confessed he was a violinist and the lady was intrigued enough she attended the show.

“My favorite thing is the chance to change perceptions,” Marcus said. “There’s so much of a divide, we’re trying to do our part. Every single show there are moments when the audience dances. We give enough classical and enough hip-hop moments.”

Aside from constant touring — the Springfield show will be more than 100 on the current leg — Black Violin has stretched into other areas.

The duo did the theme song and is scoring episodes of the new Fox baseball series “Pitch.” It was also the house band for college football’s Heisman Trophy Award selection show, the first time that’s happened, and played for President Obama and the troops in Iraq.

“All walks of life can enjoy what we do. I just wish I could see it from an audience perspective sometime. We look forward to sharing that in Springfield,” Marcus said.

Contact this contributing writer at

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