When you hear the term “classical music” sounds of Mozart or Beethoven may be ringing through your head. It’s a style of music many generations do not fully appreciate, especially younger generations. One Grammy-nominated group is changing that by blending violin and hip-hop. Wil Baptiste, one half of the duo that makes up Black Violin, spoke to host Tati Amare ahead of their upcoming performance on Saturday at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.
Baptiste, a master of the violin, revealed that he came to play the violin by a happy accident. He initially wanted to learn how to play the saxophone but got signed up for the wrong class. As soon as he picked up a violin, however, he fell in love with it. Blending classical violin playing with hip-hop music was something he always did for fun, and came very naturally to the duo.
Wanting to give back, Black Violin has been introducing their music to school-aged students, teaching them how to play. Baptiste says he can relate to those kids, because he was just like them growing up, and he wants to spread the joy of playing. The Black Violin Foundation strives to provide everything from instruments to a flight to a music camp, things Baptiste said were pivotal in his own learning and career.
“We understand how it feels to have a dream and just want to be amazing at it, and not have... the means to do so,” says Baptiste.
So how does classical music blend with hip hop? Well, according to Baptiste you can think of composers like Motzart and Beethoven as having the same role as the producers and writers of today’s music industry. The two styles are rather opposite with classical music being very structured and hip hop being more expressive, but they have some of the same fundamentals, and that allows their mixing to be unique and interesting.
Black Violin’s newest record, “Take the Stairs,” was nominated for a Grammy, and Baptise says hope is one of its main themes.
“Every single note, everything that we did kind of spoke to that idea of hope,” says Baptiste. They hope their music will inspire others to take that next step in life, whatever that may be.
For the full interview, watch the video above. Their upcoming concert is on Saturday, October 30th, at 7:30 pm in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. You can purchase tickets online through their website.