Genre-blending duo Black Violin will bring their fusion of hip-hop, classical and pop music to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on Friday, Jan. 20.
The group consists of Florida-born, classically trained musicians Wilner Baptiste on viola and Kevin Sylvester on violin, accompanied by a backing band and ace turntable whiz DJ SPS.
One of Black Violin’s main goals is changing perception and defying stereotypes, both musical and social. They enjoy changing people’s perception of what violin and hip-hop music can do, and hope their shows inspire listeners to be better people.
The two steadily gained attention for their unique musical style, grabbing national recognition after they performed with Alicia Keys at the 2004 Billboard Music Awards. They went on to win the Showtime at the Apollo talent competition in 2005, and have released three full-length albums to date. Their latest album “Stereotypes” was released in 2015 on Universal Music Classics, their first album released on a major label.
Black Violin, which got its name from an album by swing-era jazz violinist Stuff Smith, have played for the troops in Iraq, at the President’s Inaugural Ball in Washington, and have collaborated with artists ranging from Kanye West to Tom Petty.
When Baptiste and Sylvester met in school, they didn’t have a strong interest in stringed instruments. Baptiste wanted to learn saxophone but was put into a strings class during summer band camp, while Sylvester was encouraged to study music in the fifth grade by his mother. Eventually they both grew to love classical music and went on to study it in college.
Tickets are priced from $40 to $60 per person. The performance is scheduled 8 p.m. on the main stage.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call (661) 362-5304.