Black Violin with the National Symphony Orchestra
April 5, 2018
The Kennedy Center
An Ode to A Flat
I picked up my first violin
in fourth grade. Even then bad habits
were in play, including a refusal to practice. And so
it took a while to coax beauty,
melody from its strings.
But then you hear others play.
And hear a rhythm that speaks.
Bada di-di dah
Dah Dah Dah-di dah dah da
Di Di dah dah dah
Di Di dah da-da da-da da.
And you are reminded that sometimes,
just simply picking up the bow,
and placing it on the string
can you remind you of the power
of a single tone stretching out,
And while it is not as they said Beethoven or Bach from class,
or Wu Tang Clan from the halls.
It is an in-between
that reminds you
I first heard Black Violin as part of the soundtrack for the now cancelled television show Pitch – about the first female pitcher for major league baseball. As a sometimes violinist the music added a tension to a show that centered around sports, and I found myself wanting to hear more from the amazing composers. This past April, Black Violin came to the Kennedy Center, and turned a classical music experience into a mix of hip-hop, pop, and classical stylings. While some covers were played, Will B (Viola) and Kev Marcus (Violin) also created original classical music and added in beats and rhythm beyond the stereotypes. For those of us in the audience, the concert, which included DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes, brought a feeling of appreciation for improvisation ,and the possibility of making classical music accessible in all forms.
A final note. During the show Will B and Kev Marcus took the time to discuss the creation of their sound where they listened to Beethoven and Bach in class and Wu Tang Clan in the hall. More importantly they used this information as a vehicle to speak to the younger audience members to tell them that nothing is out of reach. To this I say #respect