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Black Violin: Duo meshes classical music and hip-hop while inspiring children

Posted at 6:51 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 19:51:54-05

MILWAUKEE — Classical music and hip-hop may seem like polar opposites, but for a group called Black Violin, it's a match made in heaven.

Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste are friends who grew up loving music.

"Hip-hop was what we grew up listening to," Baptiste said. "The violin and viola were just something we did in school."

Marcus' mother is the one who made him pick up the violin for many reasons, including not getting him away from the crowd he was hanging out with.

For Baptiste the viola sort of fell into his lap. He said he was supposed to play the saxophone, but was put in the wrong class.

The duo took their love of hip-hop music and playing a stringed instrument and meshed them together. The music they created caught attention of many people.

"People would say, wow you're playing hip-hop on it (violin) like of course we are," Marcus smiled. "Why wouldn't we be able to?"

From there, Black Violin was born.

Marcus and Baptiste say mixing classical music and hip-hop came easy to them, but they wanted their music to inspire children.

"We perform for kids because we understand how important it is to have access and representation," Baptiste said.

Thursday afternoon, nearly 1,500 students filled the Marcus Center to take in the sights and sounds.

"I've never seen anybody play the violin like that," 7th grade student Jameice Davis said.

"I want to play the drums," 7th grade student Camron Vesley added.

Kelly Bradley brought his students from St. Margaret Mary Catholic School to not only enjoy the performance, but walk away knowing they can do whatever makes them happy.

"I hope that they see that there is more than one pathway to get to where you want to be," Bradley said.

For Marcus and Baptiste, the show isn't all about the instruments, but about motivating children to follow their dreams. All while busting a move or two.

The duo say they are dedicated to providing access to quality music for children across the country.

To learn more about the Black Violin Foundation, click here.

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