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Taka-taka, whoosh: Beatboxer Shlomo and the Carnatic cause

Taka-taka, whoosh: Beatboxer Shlomo and the Carnatic cause

January 27 2015

Collaboration and experiment, it will be something different…

FOR THE FIRST time at a venue such as the Southbank, a well-known and popular classical Carnatic violinist will perform with a top beatboxer.

It’s quite a unique offering and the second half will see the artists collaborate for the very first time to produce, “Carnatic Beatbox”.

Beatboxer Shlomo revealed to us what inspired him to team up Carnatic violinist, Jyotsna Srikanth.

Srikanth will be well known to some www.asianculturevulture.com readers (please see music archives). As well as being one of the foremost Carnatic violinists of her generation in Europe, she has over 200 Bollywood film tracks to her name and is also the aristic director of British based music and culture organisation, Dhruv Arts. It organises the London Indian Arts Festival every late winter, bringing together musicians largely of Carnatic influence to the capital.

Shlomo has equally strong credentials as a beatboxer of global renown – he has played alongside top selling pop artist Bjork and a track featuring the pair, “Oceania” was performed at the opening ceremony to the Olympic Games in Athens. He also went on a British Council sponsored tour of India, where he played with local artists.

More recently, a youtube video of him performing has clocked up more than half a million views and his work with underprivileged and youth groups has put him at the forefront of an inclusive and socially engaged form of beatboxing. He also happens to be the Southbank Centre artist in residence.

Carnatic music is a style and tradition of music which developed in the South of India and has existed for thousands of years. Its structure is both different to Hindustani (the classical music of the north of India) and western styles and traditions.

Shlomo said it was this that first got him excited about Carnatic music.

“I’ve been fascinated by any rhythm since I was tiny, and when I first came across South Indian rhythms I was really excited,” he told www.asianculturevulture.com. “I learnt a little bit from the UK artists Nitin Sawnhey and Pete Lockett, and the Kathak dancer Gauri Sharma Tripathi.”

Srikanth and Shlomo have yet to play together but the beatboxer jumped at the opportunity, when Srikanth, known for her collaborations, approached him.

Her own band, ‘Bangalore Dreams’ play in a mixture of styles, while retaining a Carnatic core. Last year, she joined musicians from Scandinavia to again experiment and collaborate with form and musical styles, quite different to Carnatic sounds.

Shlomo explained: “I love working collaboratively and bringing cultures together is always a treat.

“We haven’t met (at the time of responding to www.asianculturevulture.com) yet, so the pressure’s on.

“She approached me with an idea to collaborate and I thought it sounded exciting.”

Shlomo, who grew up in a musical family in Britain, started beatboxing, almost by accident.

“I got my first drumkit aged eight. All I ever wanted to do was play my drums on ‘Top of the Pops’. The only problem was that it was on 7pm and I wasn’t allowed to practise my drums after 6pm, so I instinctively started making noises with my mouth.

“I didn’t know it was called beatboxing until much later. Since then, it has taken me all over the world.”

*Carnatic Beatbox”, Thursday, January 29, 7.30pm, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7960 4200

*Tickets from £15 and further info: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/carnatic-beatbox-88075

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture