The underrated art: Beatbox Battle 2009

May 14, 2009 at 9:21 am (music, performance) (, , , )

Last week the Beatbox Battle Online World Champion was announced: Canadian Julia Dales, 17. The YouTube based competition saw people from all over the world – Japan, USA, Norway, Belgium – go head-to-head in the Wild Card competition. One vital question emerges: does it hurt?

A Short History: Beatboxing, “a form of vocal percussion which primarily involves the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using one’s mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and more” is today firmly rooted in hip hop. But it goes back much further than that, though the origin is contested. Some trace it back to the Indian tradition of bol, or the Chinese tradition of Kouji, a performance art which uses the vocal organs to mimic everyday sounds and is 2,300 years old. African and Native American traditions use the vocal tricks and the body in rhythmic performance. It’s kinda universal, in all senses of the word.

Modern beatboxing has developed since the 1980s, and gets its name from mimicry of the first electronic drum machines, known as beatboxes.

Although he didn’t make it into the final five in the Wild Card competition, this guy makes it look effortless. Which it is NOT (I should know. I tried, alone in my house. Felt silly).


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