Black Violin duo: Kev Marcus and Wil B
Kev Marcus and Wil B will explode on stage playing a fresh fusion of classical music, rock, R&B, pop and hip-hop from their stringed instruments on Monday, March 17, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Black Violin, a duo from Florida, will give a high-energy performance at 7:30 p.m. in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom. Marcus plays the violin and B plays the viola. Both attended Dillard High School of Performing Arts and are classically trained musicians.
The men were inspired by the famous jazz violinist, Stuff Smith, and decided to name their group after his last recorded solo album, Black Violin.
Black Violin has enjoyed a variety of notoriety such as winning the Showtime at the Apollo 2005 Legend title, accompanying Alicia Keys at the 2004 Billboard Award and by performing on the same bill with some of the industry’s biggest artists.
The twosome has also played at the U.S. Open, three Super Bowls and at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Ball.
The beginning for the duo was an interesting one, Marcus recalls on the group’s website, www.blackviolin.net. Marcus’ mother made him take up an instrument when he was in the fifth grade.
“I went to class and got assigned a violin,” he said. “I wanted to play something cool and wasn’t happy about it. But it ended up working out.”
B began playing the viola in the eighth grade. The two met each other in a high school orchestra class.
“Our teacher James Miles molded us. He told us that if we worked on it, we would make something special,” Marcus said. “We were playing Bach, Beethoven and Mozart and listening to Biggie Smalls, Mary J. Blige and the Fugees. It was an interesting melting pot. We had no idea what was going to come of it.”
Along the way, the two strived for mastery and “kept pushing the envelope.”
“We’re excited about bringing in Black Violin,” said Grant Andree, director of Arts & Issues. “We think this is a group the students will really enjoy. It should be a very entertaining, fun show.”
While the show will certainly be fun, Marcus said Black Violin’s purpose for performing is more important than that.
“The point is to get people to think outside of the box. It isn’t about the violins,” Marcus said. “The violin has been around for hundreds of years, yet we are doing different things with it. So no matter what you are studying to be, make sure you’re taking it to the next level. So you can be your own ‘Virtuoso.’ ”
The concert is sponsored by The Bank of Edwardsville and is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
For tickets and information, visit the SIUE Dunham Hall Arts & Issues Box Office, the SIUE Morris University Center Information Booth, artsandissues.com or call (618) 650-5774.
The Arts & Issues series brings artistic excellence to the SIUE campus through an eclectic blend of speakers and performers. For more than 29 years, SIUE’s Arts & Issues series has showcased some of the world’s finest artists. Each season, thought-provoking speakers inspire people of all ages and backgrounds. Thanks to the underwriting of SIUE, corporations, foundations and individual donors, tickets are often discounted as much as 75 percent.
Arts & Issues is tied to the academic mission of the university and offers opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the community, to engage with performers and speakers through master classes and special sessions.