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Black Violin will meld Beethoven with Big Sean at Clowes Hall

Fusion group comes to Indianapolis on Thursday
Posted at 11:26 AM, Oct 26, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Beethoven and Black Thought. Dvorak and Dr. Dre. Ellington and Easy E. When Black Violin takes the stage, you're likely to hear all that and more.

You say you haven't heard of Black Violin? Maybe you had just forgotten about their performance with Alicia Keys at the 2004 Grammy awards that helped launch their careers, or their star turn at the Kids' Inaugural Ball after President Barack Obama's re-election.

Black Violin — which will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Clowes Memorial Hall — is actually two stringed instruments: violin played by Kev Marcus and viola played by Wil B, who also sings. Well, it's them plus drummer Nat Stokes and DJ SPS.

"We are classically trained. We're playing classical music as naturally as a violinist. We're not sliding to the note, we're very classical in our approach," Marcus said during a timeout of Black Violin's tour supporting their latest album.

"What we're playing on top of is the same type of record that Drake would play on, or Taylor Swift. It's the same format as popular music is today."

Kev and Wil first met in their hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida almost two decades ago.

They long put aside the notion that "classical" music can't be "popular," and they proved it again when their latest album "Take the Stairs" was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.

"Whereas the classical enthusiast will come to our show, and they'll close their eyes and they'll just be listening to the strings, they'll be next to a little kid who's like 'aw, that beat is fire,'" Marcus said. "That's basically what we're trying to do. We do it in a way without being disrespectful to either genre."

Most young people who are interested in music gravitate to the guitar, the turntable or maybe a horn or keyboard. Marcus got a little push toward his instrument of choice.

"My mother made me play the violin," he said with a laugh. "Once I learned how to make it sound like something, what drew me to it is that it mimicked the human voice in a way unlike other instruments."

Marcus believes that's why the violin and other stringed instruments touch people emotionally, particularly when they hit that one special note that can grab the listener by the heart.

"The expression you can get is unlike anything else," he said.

Tickets are available for Thursday's performance at Clowes Memorial Hall through Ticketmaster.