If the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “classical music” is stuffy older folks politely clapping for elevator music, you may want to reconsider. Chargaux, a Brooklyn-based duo that play the violin and viola, are using classical string arrangements in bold, soulful ways, and incorporating stunning visuals to help you see their sounds. (Think neon-colored box braids moving furiously over a classical orchestration of a Beyoncé cover.) Chargaux produces sounds that would have kept you focused in your high school music class.
Jasmin “Char” Charles and Margaux Whitney met on a street in Boston and immediately connected over their love for music. Both classically trained, it wasn’t long before the two started jamming in New York City train stations, drawing diverse crowds of strap-hangers from across the world–and it took off from there. The beautiful chords at the end of Kendrick Lamar’s “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” is also Chargaux’s work. This year, they performed at Opening Ceremony’s fashion show and their latest EP, Broke and Baroque was released this month. EBONY chatted with the duo on their creative process, what it’s like to be Black classical musicians in the industry and why there is really no one quite like them.
EBONY: What kind of stories do your music and visual art pieces tell? What kind of people do they speak to or do you hope they reach?
MARGAUX: I love my generation despite our flaws, so I want our music to reach them. The Internet has made us a little impatient. Everyone wants what they want right away and likes what they like. Our art is a way of changing that, of giving people something they didn’t know they wanted, a new experience. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to reach, well, basically everyone. If somebody’s grandma is jammin’ to my song, I’d be ecstatic. As girls from Detroit and Atlanta braving New York and experiencing some of the best and challenging moments in our lives thus far, I think the music tells a beautiful story. We want you to have fun and enjoy what you hear but also feel the passion and drive behind it. Continue reading “Sisters with Strings: Jasmin “Char” Charles and Margaux Whitney are Brooklyn-based Classical Duo Chargaux”