Black Violin Will Push Against Expectations at Powers Concert

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – In an appearance on PBS Newshour earlier this year, Black Violin, the groundbreaking hip-hop violin duo, talked about how no one expected them to play the classical instrument, presumably because of their race.

It inspired them to not only continue but bring the influence and artistry of Black artists to violin music.

They defied stereotypes and created a hybrid genre in the process, merging string melodies with electronic beats.

Mahoning Valley audiences will be able to catch the duo Thursday, Nov. 17, when Black Violin makes its Youngstown appearance at Powers Auditorium.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert range from $20 to $65. For tickets, call the box office at 330 744 0264, or click HERE.

Black Violin is led by classically trained string players Wil Baptiste on viola and Kev Marcus on violin.

The program will feature songs from the act’s Grammy nominated 2021 album “Take the Stairs.”

Joining them onstage will be DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes.

The duo met in orchestra class at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becoming classically trained on the violin and viola through their high school and college careers.

They later went on to win showtime at the Apollo in 2005, and eventually sold out performances at venues across the country. In 2019, the duo launched the Black Violin Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides youths with access to quality music programs in their community.

The act’s outreach extends well beyond the stage, as Black Violin frequently performs for free in urban communities. Baptiste and Marcus connect with more than 100,000 students each year, mostly at low-income schools.

The act, said Baptiste, is more than music. “It’s really a movement,” he said.

Baptiste explained the duo’s process in creating the “Take the Stairs” album.

“We had a wall that we wrote stuff on,” he said. “We had all these ideas about what story we were going to convey. And it kept coming back to the idea of hope – songs that spoke about going against the grain, carrying through struggle, being optimistic. We wanted to say, ‘It’s tough out there, but don’t give up.’”

Marcus expanded on the theme. “Hope is the thread that keeps this thing together,” he said. “It’s the heartbeat of the album. But then a lot of tentacles went different ways – the song ‘Impossible Is Possible’ is about challenging people. So, it went different directions from just being hopeful. We took it further.”

Pictured at top: Black Violin is Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.