Rap meets Ravel at Pemberton Festival this weekend

Partiers in the Bacardi B-Live Dance Tent at this weekend’s Pemberton Festival might be surprised to find themselves face to face with members of Vancouver’s classical-music scene, complete with jackets and bow ties, come Sunday evening. Not to worry, there’ll still be plenty of dance beats thudding away—the group of 16 string players from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra will be sharing the stage with Toronto’s DJ Dopey, winner of the 2003 DMC World DJ Championship.

The genre-mashing collaboration will have the musicians playing symphonic music alongside digitally mastered tracks, while DJ Dopey manipulates vinyl records and music videos.

“We have a few young people who are starting out their careers in Vancouver and these kinds of gigs, they’re good for younger people,” Mark Ferris, guest concertmaster for project and a violinist who plays with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and the CBC Radio Orchestra, told the Straight. “This is a very special kind of concert.”

As out-there as the hip-hop meets classical event might seem, it’s not the first time it’s happened in Vancouver. In 2006, Toronto hip-hop biggie k-os partnered with the CBC Radio Orchestra to create a new tune, Burning to Shine. The collaboration was documented on film.

“K-os is a very good musician, very quiet, super-professional, polite person,” Ferris recalled. “I think the Canadian hip-hop scene is kind of different from the American hip-hop scene. They [Canadians] seem to be kind of low key. We all get into the studio and we’re all professionals and everyone treats each other with respect. We get our work done and it’s a very, it’s usually a pretty mellow and pretty focused kind of situation, just try to get a good vibe going, and that’s it. There’s no huge ego trips and weird stuff like that going on, and managers with big gold chains bossing people around. It’s Canada, right? We’re a little more mellow.”