Ella and Fi got to go on a field trip with their school to the Kennedy Center to see Black Violin. This group is amazing – they’re two young, black hip-hop guys who play the violin. They shake it all up and fuse classical with urban. Basically, they break all the rules.
As you may know, my tag line for this blog is What is normal? So of course I’m drawn to their music – these guys challenge the status quo. They are redefining what we think of as “normal.” They challenge our beliefs about what violin music is supposed to be, what it’s supposed to look like, and where it’s going.
Not only that, they can make hundreds of school children get up and shake their booties to Mozart! They are making classical cool again!
“When speaking of creativity, nothing should be normal, or bland, or define the usual. Standards should never be limited, but set by how vivid a person’s imagination is.” – Black Violin
After the concert, Fi and Ella were all revved up about seeing Black Violin – Fiona especially, because she’s used to seeing stiff white folks play straight classical. This really inspired her.
“We got to get up and dance and wave our hands in the air!” she said – I could literally see all these musical light bulbs going off in her head about new ways of playing, seeing, and hearing music. It was really something.
Ella: “And they had a J.D.!”
Fi: “It was a DJ, Ella. NOT a J.D.”
Ella: “They said it was classical music stinked up.”
Ella: “They said they take classical music and stink it up a little.”
Fi: “They take classical music and spice it up, Ella. They do NOT stink it up!”
Ella: “They got to dance and play their violins at the same time. Do you think we could do that?”
Me: “I think you can do anything you put your mind to.”
What I didn’t say was: But please, God, don’t let it involve Rap music because I just can’t picture it. Give them blues, give them jazz, rock, soul, folk – but.just.not.Rap. Amen.
One concert. An audience full of schoolchildren – many of whom may not have ever heard a violin played in person before.
It opened up a whole new world to them. That’s the power of music. That’s the power of someone having the courage to embrace their own kind of normal.
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