Breaking stereotypes, duo takes violin, viola into the world of hip hop

Friday, April 13, 2018

Some rules are made to be broken, even if those rules are unwritten.

That isn’t what Willner Baptiste, a.k.a. Will B, and Kevin Sylvester, a.k.a. Kev Marcus, had in mind when they picked up a viola and violin, respectively. But the more the two got together and collaborated, that’s exactly what ended up happening.

“We grew up playing classical music and learning the techniques and all that, but hip hop is a different animal. It’s about expressing and being yourself,” Baptiste said. “Where we came from, how we are raised, our environment makes the sound what it is. That influence has a lot to do with how we approach it.”

Baptiste and Sylvester both grew up in the inner city and met as classmates at Dillard High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Though the two separated for a short time to attend different in-state colleges, they eventually reconnected to write and produce material and form Black Violin, performing music at Miami clubs that blended the classical with more contemporary musical elements of hip hop, pop and R&B.

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