Innovating vocal performance: Burchfield and Rahzel

Posted by Ian on Oct 13, 2008 in blog | No Comments
Beat box (the making of rhythmic percussion with your voice – imitating drum beats and hip hop back beats) for many is a child of the 80s – growing up alongside and supporting the transition from street-corner poets to rap and hip hop heroes. Beat box was not a spontaneous phenomenon. It is part of a desire for exploration of the human vocal capacity showing expression in many traditions from the Khoisan languages of southern Africa, especially of the San Bushmen (see a video here), to a cappella performance. But beat box was certainly a design innovation in vocal performance tradition of a cappella and doo-wop singing, creating a raw, edgy and simply astounding rhythmic underpinnings of vocal performance.

A few days ago, I came across this tape of James Burchfield, beatbox artist, showin’ his skillz for TED. Definitely impressive but I wonder if they just weren’t able to get Rahzel, arguably the most amazing beat box artist on the planet (of The Roots fame). I definitely give Burchfield points for his air decks though. Check out Rahzel’s ‘Iron Man’ session below and make up your own mind.

Rahzel : Iron-man NICE BeatBox
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