, , ,

Daniel Bernard Roumain synthesizes hip-hop and classical in ‘Klap Ur Handz’

Roumain's five string quartets are each dedicated to a civil rights icon

Daniel Bernard Roumain rehearsing with Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain was born in South Florida to Haitian immigrants, studied at Vanderbilt University and earned a doctorate in composition from the University of Michigan.

He is especially known for synthesizing traditional classical forms with other genres, including hip-hop, rock and jazz. Roumain has written five string quartets, each of them dedicated to a civil rights icon. The final one (2005) honors Rosa Parks, with an opening movement entitled “I Made Up My Mind Not to Move,” and the finale, “Isorhythmiclationistic.”

The middle movement, “Klap Ur Handz,” is interesting on multiple levels. The string players actually clap during the performance, providing not just rhythm but a sense of community.  Roumain has said that this was inspired by hip-hop beats as well as by much earlier music.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.