Hip-Hop Violinist

violin roumain
It seems like there's music for every taste these days — old categories such as rock, pop and jazz have splintered as new ones have appeared. But Steve Hartman went to San Francisco for this week's Assignment America to check out something really new — hip-hop violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain.

When he wants to, Daniel can play classical violin in the classical way. But, he concedes, "I don't do that so well. I don't choose to."

What he chooses to play is music that would probably drive classical purists up a tree. But when asked whether Mozart would like what he plays, Daniel replies, "We'd be jammin'. I think the future of classical music is happening right now."

At a concert in San Francisco featuring the Del Sol string quartet — Daniel's on violin, of course — and a hip-hop artist named DJ Scientific, the crowd ranged from zero-something to seventy-something, and represented just about every color in the light show.

If this were the Sesame Street "one of these things doesn't belong" song, wouldn't DJ Scientific would be the one who doesn't belong. Not according to Daniel. "No, this is 2006," he says. "A string quartet and a DJ? I say absolutely, yes."

At first glance, it's hard to see how this mixture works — classical and hip-hop aren't exactly bosom buddies. But somehow Daniel makes this musical odd couple get along — and maybe even hit it off.

Like it or not. classical music hasn't gone through this kind of renaissance since, well, the Renaissance. Although some purists take issue, Daniel says that, by and large, most classical fans are surprisingly hip to his hip-hop. Says one female fan: "You can't ignore the stimulation, and your heart is just beating in time to this music."

Daniel says his music is all about bridging our differences. No matter what your taste, that's a sound that should be music to all our ears.