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Duo Brings Blend Of Classical, Hip-Hop Violin To Eugene

Colin Brennan, Black Violin
Classically trained violinists Kevin Slyvester and Wilner Baptiste of Black Violin

The innovative music duo Black Violin is stopping in Eugene this Sunday as part of their Classical Boom tour. 

Wilner Baptiste and Kevin Sylvester --also known as Wil B and Kev Marcus to their fans-- combine classical music with genres like hip-hop and funk.

Credit Colin Brennan, Black Violin
Kevin Sylvester also known by his stage name Kev Marcus of Black Violin.

Sylvester said growing up he felt classical music was too rigid and that it wasn’t until he started playing for himself he that he recognized the potential to add in his own style.

“Thinking outside the box with the instrument and playing hip hop on it or whatever, playing things that I wanted to play," Sylvester said. "Really learning my instrument learning how to move around in it, how to make it speak for me, then the instrument became mine.”

Sylvester’s ability to add his own creative flair is something he says he and Black Violin try to teach young classical musicians while on tour. 

“We’re successful, not because we’re the best violinists in the world, we’re successful because we’re thinking about it in a different way," he said.

Black Violin will hold a master class with the Eugene-Springfield Youth Orchestra, he said, and the young musicians will also get a chance to play with the duo. 

The group will play at the Hult Center in Eugene this Sunday at 6:30 pm.

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.