Classical/hip-hop duo Black Violin aims to tackle stereotypes

Posted on: September 21, 2015

“Kevin Sylvester says that when most people see a 6’2″, 260-pound black man, they don’t expect him to also be a classically trained violinist,” reports Lindsay Totty on Thursday (9/17) on NPR’s “Morning Edition” program. Recently a woman in an elevator, seeing Sylvester’s violin case, asked, “Well, obviously you don’t play classical, so what kind of style do you play?” Such incidents prompted “him and his partner, violist Wilner Baptiste, to call their new album Stereotypes. It’s the latest release by their duo Black Violin… Baptiste and Sylvester were kids who loved hip-hop. They met in their high-school orchestra class…. Baptiste and Sylvester say that while classical music and hip-hop may seem worlds apart, both are meant to bring people together. Baptiste puts it this way: ‘They had little shindigs going on back in the days, right? They needed music…. Like, I’m this guy, I own this big palace—“Mozart, listen, what can you whip up, man? I need some new tunes.” ’ … Sylvester says Black Violin’s music is helping to introduce hip hop to people that might not be into it otherwise: ‘I remember this one woman comes up to me … and she’s just like, “Man, I don’t even really like hibbity-hop, but you guys are amazing!” ’

Posted September 21, 2015