Newark, NJ— The classical- meets-hip-hop duo Black Violin released the video for “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” taken from their debut holiday album Give Thanks. Produced by Phil Beaudreau, the album was released in November this year.
“Give Thanks employs playful storytelling, whimsical strings, and hard-hitting rhythms to highlight the unifying pillars of the holiday season: Giving back to others and being wholeheartedly thankful,” Black Violin says of the full- length.
Last week, Black Violin earned their first GRAMMY nomination for Take The Stairs in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category. Released in November 2019, Take The Stairs was praised by Loudwire, The Root, and Billboard, who said the album “celebrates Black Violin’s genre-less approach to music, from the futuristic anthem ‘One Step’ to the elaborate ‘Serenade.’”
For 17 years, Black Violin has been merging string arrangements with modern beats and vocals. Members Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste first met in orchestra class at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, becoming classically trained on the violin and viola through their high school and college careers.
Post-college, they reconvened to produce beats for South Florida rappers, and began building an audience in local clubs. They later went on to win Showtime at the Apollo in 2005, and eventually sold out headline performances at venues across the country, including a sold out two-night headline run at The Kennedy Center in 2018. Their unique brand of merging the genre they were listening to (hip hop) with the world they were studying (classical) was celebrated with collaborations with Alicia Keys, Wu Tang Clan, 2 Chainz and others.
Pre-pandemic, Black Violin was playing over 200 shows a year with the goal of challenging stereotypes and preconceived notions of what a “classical musician” looks and sounds like.
“The stereotypes are always there, embedded so deep in our culture,” said Wil Baptiste. “Just by nature of our existence we challenge those ideas. It’s a unique thing that brings people together who aren’t usually in the same room, and in the current climate, it’s good to bring people together.”