Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester, who go by the name Black Violin, have a simple mission in life – to inspire and uplift. Along with their band, these African-American classically trained violinists combine classical with hip-hop, rock and pop to create a high-energy, signature sound! Whether leaning toward Bach or Beyoncé, Black Violin promises to enthrall music lovers for a one-night only live performance at The Zeiterion on Friday, May 29 at 8pm. Tickets for Black Violin start at $20, and are available online at www.zeiterion.org, or by calling The Z Box Office at (508) 994-2900. A free, pre-show block party with rappers, dancers, classical musicians, slam poets and graffiti artists begins in front of the theater at 6:30pm.
Classical violin sensations at Florida’s famed Dillard Performing Arts High School, Kev and Wil B joined up as hip-hop studio players after graduating college and returned to their roots by fusing the genres in a groundbreaking collaboration. They are joined onstage by turntable whiz DJTK (Dwayne Dayal), drummer Beatdown (Jermaine McQueen) and cellist Joe Cello (Joseph Valbrun).
Since starting Black Violin a decade ago—named for an album by preeminent African-American swing era jazz violinist Stuff Smith—they have performed an average of 200 shows a year in 49 states and 36 countries as far away as Dubai, Prague and South Africa. They dazzled at President Obama’s Inaugural Ball, performed sold-out shows on Broadway at the New Victory Theater, were voted a Top Five Band at SXSW and shared concert stages with musicians Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Kanye West, Aretha Franklin, and The Eagles.
Black Violin remains particularly committed to turning young fans on to their own individual potential through a tireless schedule of appearances at schools, where they stress the importance of arts education. With a driving passion and dedication to their mission to uplift and inspire, they encourage kids to think creatively, to take what they love doing and try to come up with something no one has ever done before.
It is all about overcoming your obstacles and staying strong,” says Wil. The group’s own “triumph” is the outcome of a decade-long effort that has seen them bridge the gap between the worlds of classical and popular music. “It’s something everyone can enjoy, whether you’re an 80-year-old grandmother or a kid in kindergarten,” he adds.
Tickets to Black Violin on Friday, May 29 at 8pm are available by phone at 508-994-2900, online at www.zeiterion.org, or in person at the box office at 684 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA. Box Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and two hours before each performance.