Black Violin: Classical Boom Tour comes to Durango Sept. 27

After being named one of the hottest bands at SXSW, Black Violin comes to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College with its “Classical Boom Tour,” Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. The dance floor will be open.

Wilner “Wil-B” Baptiste (viola) and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester (violin) are Black Violin, a duo that fuses classical, hip-hop, rock, bluegrass, R&B and pop to create a unique, genre-defying sound. Live, Wil-B and Kev Marcus are joined by turntable wizard DJ SPS, plus percussion, to create a groundbreaking sound.

Since forming Black Violin a decade ago, the duo has performed an average of 200 shows per year in 49 states and 36 countries as far away as Dubai, Prague and South Africa, as well as appeared at official NFL celebrations for three Super Bowls. Black Violin has entertained the troupes in Iraq, plus presented at President Barrack Obama’s Inaugural Ball.

As noted in the New York Times, “Black Violin works hard, but makes it all look like play… Sometimes they play with the intense seriousness of orchestral soloists; at others they fiddle as if at a hoedown; at still others they strum the violin and viola like guitars.”
Wil-B immigrated to the United States with his family from the Bahamas at the age of 11. He’d hoped to join the school band to play saxophone, but accidentally was placed in the string program where he grew to love the viola and mastered it, along with the trumpet, drums and bass.

Kev Marcus began playing violin at age 9. He and Wil-B met while attending the revered Dillard High School of the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where they were trained in the classical tradition. Though during their classes and rehearsals they developed firm, classical techniques, in free time they listened to hip-hop and R&B. Both Wil-B and Kev Marcus went on to attend college on full music scholarships.

Black Violin was officially born when Marcus heard the music of violinist Stuff Smith, reputed to be the first violinist to use electrical amplification techniques on a violin. Smith’s music struck Marcus as “unbelievable… classical violin with soul and fire. I loved it.”

He passed the music on to Wil-B and together they decided to form the band, calling it Black Violin after Smith’s eponymous soulful solo album. Inspired by Smith’s music, the two realized that they could synthesize all the styles they love.

Black Violin is currently writing and recording a new studio album, due out in 2018. The band’s most recent record, Stereotypes, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Crossover Chart and #4 on the Billboard R&B Chart.

Tickets for Black Violin ($29-$44) are available on-line at, or call 970.247.7657, or visit the Ticket Office inside the Durango Welcome Center at 8th St. and Main Ave., Downtown Durango. Ticket Office hours are Monday – Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All sales final.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2017, the Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multi-use performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College. Its ability to bring a diverse spectrum of shows to Southwest Colorado is made possible through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and through financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.


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