Concerts

South Florida's Black Violin Crushes Stereotypes


One day you come home and your dog is barking and snarling at you like you're some kind of threat. You say, "Chill, Dog. It's me. You licked pizza grease off my fingers last week." But she won't listen. She keeps barking and running around the couch, chest out, teeth bared. "What the hell, Dog?" you plead, kneeling down and taking off your hat. This subtle change in appearance elicits a sudden response from the dog, who runs up to you with her tongue hanging out and her tail wagging. "See, you remember me," you say as you put your hat back on to pet her. She freaks out again. Take the hat off and you're a friend; put it on and you're an enemy. At some point, some dude in a trucker cap must've done something nasty to the pup, and the poor thing made a sweeping but false generalization about what happens when a human puts a hat on his head.

"I'm completely crushing people's impressions of what a violin could do."

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The title and overarching theme of Black Violin's recent album is Stereotypes or, rather, breaking free from them. As backward as the dog's generalization against people with hats, Black Violin points out that most people stereotype in worse and less reasonable ways.

With violins in hand, the South Florida-born duo (both attended Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale) do to hip-hop and classical music what Phil Jackson did to Shaq and Kobe — they make them work together. Kev Marcus plays the violin, and Wil B plays the slightly larger and deeper viola. The collaborative effect is reminiscent of Shaq's power and Kobe's precision. And like the basketball duo, Kev and Wil are big dudes. "My number one stereotype is, just because I'm six-foot-two, 260 pounds doesn't mean you're supposed to be afraid of me," Kev says on the title track. He goes on to discuss reasons he feels judged, how he feels his size often threatens people around him.

Interestingly, Kev touches on an often unforeseen silver lining in the very dark cloud of discrimination. "I'm kind of glad for it because it gives me a goal of something to try and debunk," he says toward the end of "Stereotypes."

"I'm completely crushing people's impressions of what a violin could do... and also of what a black man is capable of."

Black Violin 4 p.m. Sunday, November 1, at UM Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-2241; miami.edu. Join the waiting list for tickets at miami.edu/frost.


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Dyllan Furness is Miami New Times' "foreign" correspondent. After earning a degree in philosophy from the University of Florida, he crossed the pond and dove into music, science, and technology from Berlin.
Contact: Dyllan Furness