Against the backdrop of dim lights and a deep purple curtain, two violins began to play to the dulcet tones of… “Love in this Club.” The combination was unexpected, but the result was an auditory treat brought to Colgate by The Black Violin, a musical group that blends the sounds of violins with those of hip-hop and R&B.
The group performed to an energetic crowd in Brehmer Theatre on Friday, February 20. The Black Violin consists of two classically trained violinists and one DJ; the mixture of these seemingly different mediums of music was intriguing and exhilarating. Within a few minutes, everyone in the theatre had taken to their feet to dance, encouraged by the charismatic violinists who urged them that this was not a concert where you remained seated.
The Black Student Union sponsored the event and worked to bring The Black Violin to Colgate in celebration of Black History Month. Junior Crystal Jones, Black Student Union President, placed the performance in the context of the Black Student Union’s goals for the month.
“Throughout the month we wanted to present a broad spectrum of Black culture as well as put on events that the community would enjoy,” Jones said. “The Black Violin served both purposes.”
Sophomore Norvella Pendergrass, who had seen a performance by The Black Violin before, was also instrumental in bringing them to Colgate. Like Jones, she felt that the group would complement Black History Month.
“[I] knew it was an experience I wanted to give to the Colgate community,” Pendergrass said, “and why not do it during Black History Month, a month that celebrates a heritage that has been misunderstood and silenced for sometime, a heritage that goes against all its so-called stereotypes.”
This performance certainly embodied the defiance of these “so-called stereotypes.” The Black Violin’s music was an ode to creativity and unconventionality as it effortlessly blended genres and mediums. The fusion of the violin with contemporary hip-hop and R&B worked especially well because it was not only surprising and unusual, but also well executed. Pendergrass also described what she felt was so special about The Black Violin’s music.
“The Black Violin musical performance combines a daunting array of musical styles and influences to produce a signature sound that is not quite maestro, not quite emcee,” Pendergrass said. “This group of two classically trained violinists and their DJ are redefining the music world one string at a time.”
The two violinists were in sync with the music and also with the crowd, with whom they interacted throughout the show. In turn, the audience was incredibly responsive to the musicians, whose energy permeated Brehmer. It is no surprise, then, that the event organizers found the concert was a success. Jones expressed her joy at the turnout.
“I think our event was a huge success, especially when you consider that many students are reluctant to go to an event such as this on a Friday night,” Jones commented. “Myself and the core included were pleased to see such a mixed crowd of students and professional staff.”