Black Violin is returning to Austin on Monday, February 19, when they will be bringing their Black Violin Experience tour, with special guest Abraham Alexander, to the Long Center.
Black Violin is a musical duo that includes Kevin Marcus (Kev) and Wil Baptiste (Wil B), both of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Wil and Kev met in orchestra class in 1996. They were stand partners, sometimes very competitive stand partners. The two studied classical music but listened to and were heavily influenced by Trick Daddy, Lil Wayne, etc. So, they found a way to merge the two genres of classical music and hip hop.
We were the two big Black dudes in the orchestra.
During their school days, Kev was always social. He did not think of himself as a class clown, but he was definitely a jokester. “I wasn’t a band geek, and I wasn’t popular, but I was known. We were the two big Black dudes in the orchestra.”
Wil was completely quiet in school, almost the exact opposite of Kev, but his notoriety for being in the orchestra also kept him well-known.
Fast forward from then to now, and Black Violin has toured the world multiple times and has played in almost every major venue in the United States. “We’ve never played Red Rocks, Hollywood Bowl, or Carnegie Hall. They’re not dreams per se, but they’re what’s left in the US.” Kev stated.
The duo has already had many dream performances, one of them being playing at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. “That’s probably the dream gig. I just remember how cool it was to meet him and shake his hand. We actually got a twofer on that performance because we met then-Vice President Joe Biden, too. So I can say I’ve met two presidents!” he bubbled.
As far as dream collaborations go, Kev mentioned that he’d love to work with Stevie Wonder. He also added, “We have a song with Kendrick Lamar but didn’t actually work with him. I would like to actually be in the studio with him. J. Cole would be crazy. I’ve also worked with Jay-Z but not on a recording.” Kev followed up by saying that with the long amount of time they’ve been in the business, the two have met most of their “idols”, but it would be great to work with some artists who they haven’t been able to yet.
Black Violin is also releasing a new album this year. “It’s like a graduation of our last album. It took a while to follow it up, but we feel like we really have it,” Kev said. There’s no title yet, but the album’s theme is “free”, as in free falling or being limitless, as opposed to being free from oppression.
Something our readers may not know is that Black Violin has a foundation that gives away grants every year to music students. This grant is to help whether the students need a new instrument, to pay for a camp, they want to better their craft, etc.
Applications at Blackviolinfoundation.org open this month to any young, Black musician who needs a little financial help to follow their dreams. Plus, $1 from every ticket sold for the Long Center show goes towards the foundation’s grants. So concertgoers can enjoy entertainment while also helping to prepare the next generation of musicians and performers. To purchase tickets to the February 19, show, click here.