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Interview with Paul Dateh - Violinist and Hip Hop Artist

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Paul Dateh & inka one

We saw this video on several blogs last week and loved it. Militant Angeleno's blog was one place we saw it. So we had to find out more about Paul Dateh, because seriously, play that video for one full minute and tell us that you didn't want to learn more about him.

From reading through his Myspace, we learned that Paul is from LA, he's been around for a little while, and he's quick with his email.

LAist: What was it about growing up in LA that got you interested in the violin of all things?

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Paul Dateh I started with violin when I was four, so I honestly don't remember why I chose it. But I know I kept with it because LA is such a great place to study music! The sonic landscape of this city is just as diverse as its people. It's the perfect place to be if you want to learn about various styles of music.

What sort of violin do you use?

I currently use two violins. I play my Sacquin for all the classical stuff, and I play Hip Hop on my Tambouvsky. Eventually, I'd like to go fully electric and get a Yamaha or ZETA for the Hip Hop stuff. Acoustic violins just aren't designed to be amplified.

Is there an underground violin movement happening in the hip hop world that people dont know about?

I'm not sure if it's necessarily a movement, but there are definitely a few violinists out there working hard in the Hip Hop world. Just to name a few, we have Miri Ben-Ari on the east coast; and on the west coast, we have Karen Briggs and... me! Haha.

In your latest video i recognize the Gnarls Barkley tune, but what are some of the other songs that you are doing - they sound very familiar?

There's a Tribe Called Quest track in there, a track by Nu-Mark, a Ghostface track, something by The Roots, and something off a "Shaft" soundtrack.

Your Myspace says youre a local Angeleno. What neighborhood did you grow up in?

I grew up in the Mar Vista area. It's an awesome place to live. There's always something cool happening around here!

Have you ever lived anywhere other than LA?

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Not yet. I might like to try New York for a while, but LA will always be home to me.

What was your first hip hop show that you went to in LA?

I can't remember my first one, but I will tell you two of my favorites: Paid Dues 2006 and People Under the Stairs at the Troubadour.

When can people hear you play this summer?

I'll be guesting on a couple shows coming up at Temple Bar this July, and I will have my own show in August. All the info will be up on my website at I'm also on MySpace. And the album is in the works! Stay tuned. :)