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CHARLY & MARGAUX: Classica

In the post-Soulja Boy age, there is a Classical music revival brewing and Charly & Margaux sit firmly within it.

Words: Zoy Britton
Image: Courtesy of Charly & Margaux

Flashback to the mid-1990’s, an era ruled by Suge Knight and the infamous going-ons behind the famously ominous mahogany doors, an era that saw the rise of “gangster” music iconized by Biggie, Tupac, Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim. Though the “Golden Era of Hip-Hop” birthed an extensive influence on future musicians of all genres, its antithesis was born in the age of artificial artistry characterized by the N’Syncs and Britney Spears of the early 2000’s. It’s almost as though the mainstream community needed some sort of catharsis from the gritty, “in-your-face” MO’s of Suge, Diddy and other major characters from that decade; or perhaps Lou Pearlman and his kind simply held their ears to the right door and capitalized on the significant “tween” market. Regardless, it seems as though there wasn’t much of a middle ground for exploration within the oh so reactionary musical movement, at least not in the mainstream.

Now, fast-forward to 2012 to a scene where Contemporary music has evolved, spawning genre-bending musicians like M.I.A. and Santogold and dubiously-talented persons like Soulja Boy. Despite, or perhaps because of, the rise of mediocre musicians at the behest of various record labels coupled with the popular emergence of alternative genres, there is a movement occurring today as young people across the world seem to be on a quest to redefine music and its parameters. It appears as though this generation is engaged on a mission to create, inspire and or seek out “real music.” It’s on this journey that we see the rise of Charly & Margaux, a classically-trained duo based out of Brooklyn, whom we first got a glimpse of at an underground NYC showcase presented by Central Booking called DOPE. Crowd favorites and what Charly & Margaux seem to be most noted for is their violin/viola duet covers of contemporary songs, such as Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Rigamortis” which are featured on the pair’s Youtube channel. Charly, the violinist, and Margaux, the violist, are playing an important role in the popularization of this Contemporary Classical music revival of sorts, believing that their movement has taken off because, “…people want to hear something new. They’re tired of the same old auto-tuned, synthesized things,” Margaux confides. Then, Charly chimes in, “Everyone’s tired of using the same samples so we need new stuff to sample. It’s a cycle. This is going to phase out after however many years and we’re going to go back into something electronic and then phase it back out. It’s going to be a cycle.”

The world first got a taste of Classical music’s rising involvement in Hip-Hop and Contemporary music genres via Miri Ben-Ari aka the “Hip-Hop Violinist” in Twista’s “Overnight Celebrity.” Charly & Margaux are taking this movement to new heights and demonstrating that this is not an isolated occurrence, but rather the beginning of a new trail within the well-trod valley of musical evolution. The duo (who recently performed at STARK & Marc Baptiste’s anniversary party this past December) released their first “project” Laced last summer, a tangible culmination of their journey which began with their first, near-divine meeting in Boston during Margaux’s lunch break to their burgeoning popularity today. From recording songs on Blackberries to finally getting a chance to work in-studio with various producers to business opportunities arising from their subway performances, Charly and Margaux are striking out in search of musical gold and thus far their journey has certainly been successful. Despite the duo’s easygoing disposition, their journey has not been an easy one, marred by lackluster minimum-wage jobs and the uncertainty of where the next paycheck will come from.

Charly recounts an anecdote about their first job when they moved to NYC: “We were working at this little pizza café when we first moved to New York and it was sucking up all our time and we were like ‘eff that’, and we phased it out. Like, let’s just play and ever since we’ve done that, things have really been taking off.” Charly & Margaux’s daring move to jump completely into their artistry without securing financial stability demonstrates an intense passion made clear by their commitment and their near-telepathic communication while performing (resultant of hours upon hours of dedicated practice); the girls seem aglow with the comfort and knowledge that they are making a living doing what they love while helping to blaze an important trail in music. With the growth of artists like Charly & Margaux and the rise of eclectic, genre-bending artists like them, Contemporary music will never be the same.

Additionally, Charly & Margaux moonlight as large-canvas visual artists and jewelry designers, respectively, and you can cop one of Margaux’s amazing belly chains, which will be available at the online store’s “Grand Re-Opening” on Valentine’s Day, here.

Listen and download Charly & Margaux’s full project Laced, HERE.

Follow Charly & Margaux on Twitter, @LacedisFree @Charlissimo @Margeezy_

Special Thanks to Central Booking.

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