Hip-hop orchestra to perform at the Vilar | VailDaily.com

Hip-hop orchestra to perform at the Vilar

Daily staff report
Ensemble Mik Nawooj will play at the Vilar on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.vilarpac.org.
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If you go ...

What: Ensemble Mik Nawooj.

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

Cost: $38.

More information: http://www.vilarpac.org, 970-845-8497.

Hip-hop and classical music are two genres you might not expect to work well together. But once you hear Oakland-based Ensemble Mik Nawooj pair the two, it becomes clear that the fusion is, in many ways, the future of music. The 10-piece acoustic hip-hop orchestra creates an experience that’s equally rigorous, nuanced and accessible.

Ensemble Mik Nawooj, a part of the Underground Sound concert series, brings its hybrid music for the very first time to Colorado to the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $38 and are available now by calling 970-845-8497 or visiting http://www.vilarpac.org.

Led by classically-trained composer and pianist JooWan Kim (Mik Nawooj spelled backwards), Ensemble Mik Nawooj bills itself as a “hip-hop orchestra,” using live classical musicians and compositions to underscore the lyrical rhymes of MCs Do D.A.T and Sandman. Alongside the lyricists, a lyric soprano and a slew of musicians playing the flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, drums and bass produce what the Huffington Post calls the “cutting edge of hip hop.”

JooWan came to the U.S. from South Korea when he was 20 years old to learn music composition at Berklee College of Music. By the end of his undergraduate, JooWan was disillusioned with the eurocentric concert music aesthetic and found his answer in hip-hop.

“When I heard N.W.A.’s ‘F— tha Police,’ I felt like I was in a rapture. I was dipped into the river of hip-hop and reborn as a hip-hop composer,” JooWan said. “I knew at that moment, I had to examine the underlying structures of hip-hop and create concert music with them.”

The live shows reveal a truly diverse scene: People of all cultures and all ages — teenagers to older adults and every age in between — entranced by the music.

“Ensemble Mik Nawooj has bridged the age gap in a way I have never experienced prior in doing hip-hop,” Sandman said.

Indeed, it is this bridging of the gap and creating unity that the group is interested in, especially during the current divisive political climate. The group strives to go beyond race and politics with a vision of a new America.

Ensemble Mik Nawooj has been featured on ESPN, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, SF Chronicle, Huffington Post, Pitchfork and more.

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