I’m so excited to announce that Southbank Centre have commissioned Anna Meredith and myself to write a new classical work entitled Concerto for Beatboxer and Orchestra.
Anna Meredith (who you might have seen recently on TV teaching Goldie how to write orchestral music) is one of the UK’s hottest up and coming composers – she has written two BBC Proms and last year was commissioned for the Last Night of the Proms.
Our new piece will be performed on February 19th and 20th 2010 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a specially created 20-piece orchestra, plus the Vocal Orchestra (my 8-piece beatbox choir) embedded within the ensemble.
This will be a challenging modern classical work recognising the human voicebox as a musical instrument in its own right, and also a chance to create the first full notation for beatboxers.
I’ll be blogging and tweeting throughout the whole process, and all the latest info, photo, video, blog posts and links to buy tickets can be found on the Concerto’s project page.
Womad festival at Charlton Park was INSANE this year.
quite a big crowd had gathered for our ‘workshop’ on Saturday afternoon but we still got some kids up to learn some beatboxing
the crowd was scarily big before we went out.. they were tripping because Peter Gabriel overran on the mainstage and we had to wait for him to finish… they were chanting and slow clapping.. adrenaline fest!!
The VO were on ridiculous form…
very end of our set
Next morning, we were up early to record for BBC Radio 4′s Loose Ends with Clive Anderson. It was Eerie walking round the Latitude festival site at 9am when not a soul was around.
The next day it was over to the Film and Music stage where I was doing a show with Cape Farewell alongside my fellow Arctic explorers David Buckland, Marcus Brigstocke and Jarvis Cocker.
We ended with a version of Purple Haze. Latitude was great, next stop Womad!
This year’s Glasto was one of the best yet. I ended up doing three shows and saw some incredible live music. My favourite bits were getting lost on random all night adventures and watching the sun come up over the site. We have video and podcast coming soon but in the meantime here are some pics from the weekend…. love from SHLO x
My highlights were dueting with Bashy, and jamming with an amazing fiddler whose solo was incredible until i accidentally stood on his lead, which pulled it out and it all ended with a painful crunch
After the prodigy i got a call saying that Foreign Beggars were about to play in the Bassline Circus and did i want to jump up… it was a lot of fun being up with the beggars again as i’ve not played with them for years… then we raved out to some drum and bass in Shangri La until the sun came up and it was time to go home. Ah well only one more year till the next one!
We had a fantastic (sold out!) three-night run at Udderbelly, the upside down purple cow theatre venue that seats 400 people. It was so much fun.
We were trying out a new aspect to the Vocal Orchestra show, with a more theatrical style to it.. Over the next couple of years I’m planning to create a full theatre show, along the lines of something like Stomp, but using only the voice.
The Evening Standard described the show as ‘slick theatrics’ which is amazing considering how little time we had to throw it together, with no budget whatsoever, just a lot of goodwill and talent! so big thanks to all who have been involved, and to those that came down to support. Cannot wait for phase 2!!!
Next stop GLASTO!
In Summer 2009, Shlomo will be taking his collaborative performance series Music Through Unconventional Means to a UK festival near you.
He will appear with his incredible beatbox troupe the Vocal Orchestra at Glastonbury, WOMAD, Latitude and Greenbelt festivals.
Plus at both Glastonbury and WOMAD, they will perform specially extended collaborative sets, with top-secret superstar guests from across the musical spectrum.
More information about this summer’s festival appearances can be found on the events page.
Homecut is the project of a talented hip hop artist from the North, of England, Testament… he is also an indispensable member of our beatbox troupe ‘Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra’.
Today is a big day is the first single is finally out! Features Grammy winner Corinne Bailey Ray and Mobo winner Soweto Kinch…… You can get it on iTunes for 79p or check out this taster!!
More info: http://www.myspace.com/homecut
Videos from Shlomo’s recent ‘Concert Against Knife Crime‘ are now online in HD. You can see Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra collaborate with loads of stars including Jarvis Cocker, Teddy Thompson, Ashley Walters, Mutya Buena, Martina Topley-Bird, Cleveland Watkiss and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, plus a hilarious beatbox battle between Bellatrix and comedian Marcus Brigstocke.
Here’s Jarvis singing ‘Fat Children’ with the Vocal Orchestra (with Bellatrix on bass!)…
Ashley Walters, Mutya Buena, Shlo and the VO:
Our group finale – wait for Jarvis’s skipdance!!!
Cleveland Watkiss – this guy smashed it… this was the FIRST TIME WE’D MET! ONSTAGE!!
Marcus Brigstocke vs Bellatrix – Beatbox BAttle
Teddy Thompson and Shlo:
Behind the scenes
Big shout to Matt Wainwright for shooting and editing the videos!
hey.. what a crazy week.. the benefit show was incredible.. amazing end to the year.. my personal highlight was Jarvis’ scat-dance…we video’d the whole thing and will post up a full account with pics and youtube videos soon!
in the meantime here’s a pic of us performing at covent garden with the stunning xmas light installation by United Visual Artists.
photo by RJ Fernandez
Nathan Gallagher says:
Here I get up close and personal with the eight members of Shlomo’s beatbox choir ‘the Vocal Orchestra’ who perform on Saturday 13 December at 7.30pm in Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Beatboxers’ technique often requires the musician to cover their mouth with their hand, both for technical reasons (it creates an air chamber when using a mic) and social ones (it avoids expectorating upon innocent bystanders).
On a visual level however, half the face is lost, an area used substantially in human communication. We hear these incredible sounds but have no idea how they’re produced leaving us with a sense of mystery and misunderstanding. By removing this barrier, the process is demystified, and, in turn, allows us to identify better with the musicians.
This has an underlying metaphor with youth culture relations in general – much understanding is lost through poor communication.
Although the Concert Against Knife Crime is sold out, Southbank Centre will be projecting the concert live onto the big screens in the Front Room, with FREE ENTRY. Starts at 7.30pm this Saturday 13th December.
There’s another chance to see Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra for FREE this Thursday as they perform at Covent Garden in a special performance interacting with United Visual Artists’ Xmas Installation. Check out a teaser here!
We are pleased to announce some of the special guests at Shlomo’s benefit concert at the QEH on December 13th.
MUSIC THROUGH UNCONVENTIONAL MEANS: A CONCERT AGAINST KNIFE CRIME will feature beatbox artist SHLOMO and his VOCAL ORCHESTRA collaborating with over 13 diverse artists including JARVIS COCKER, MARTINA TOPLEY-BIRD, MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE, SEB ROCHFORD, VANESSA CARLTON and GET CAPE.WEAR CAPE.FLY plus young performers from local youth forum SE1 United and the BAC Beatbox Academy.
Other guests will include ASHLEY WALTERS, TEDDY THOMPSON, FYFE DANGERFIELD (GUILLEMOTS) and PETE LOCKETT.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is supporting the performance saying: “Music and other creative activities can provide the much needed opportunities and motivation for young people to reach their potential and stay on the right track. I am pleased to be able to support Shlomo’s event and I wish him well with his future outreach projects.”
There are only a few tickets left so get in quick! More information on the event page.
We played at the QEH (sold out!) on Friday.. my birthday was on the Monday so I got to celebrate twice!
I’ll stick up some audio on the podcast from the Fyfe collaboration soon (i’m currently going through all the audio from the arctic – got SO much quality stuff!!
It was my first ever DJ set, which i decided to do to celebrate my birthday and as an excuse to play a whole load of 90s classics. my mixing is awful though, so it was simultaneously the best and the worst dj set ever done.
We went to the BBC for Radio 4′s Loose Ends.
Recording in the studio
A mini- Vocal Orchestra – Neo, Bellatrix, me and Billy
Afterwards we went to the pub with Clive Anderson and Bill Bailey. Loving it.
only a few tickets left for brand new vocal orchestra at QEH… get in quick if you still want to come!! Also you’ll get to see my DJing debut in the foyer afterwards… will be bringing out some 90s classics!!!!
Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra are the UK’s only beatbox choir.
After a festival run that included a two hour show at Glastonbury, the Vocal Orchestra hit the road in October for their first ever UK tour, kicking off at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on October 17th.
For full dates and ticket info please check out the events page.
Episode 3 of Shlomo’s Babelbox Podcast is out now, and it’s a Glastonbury special.
The podcast includes a backstage audio diary following Shlomo’s performances on the main stage in front of tens of thousands of people, plus highlights from the two-hour show on Park Stage. Features music and interviews from DJ Yoda, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Martha Wainwright, Martina Topley-Bird, Ed Harcourt and loads more.
It’s 3pm. The show starts at 6. Emily Eavis has given us free reign of the Park Stage for two hours.
I’ve got the Vocal Orchestra and a heap of guest collaborators and I need to rehearse. We find a bar backstage with a decent soundsystem and get to it. Before I know it we are ready to go on, Park Stage is totally rammed!
The sun has come out and the people are smiling. Pavan from Foreign Beggars is helping me host the stage. I hear him saying my name followed by a cheer and next thing I know I am beatboxing to about 10,000 Glastonbury punters.
I kick it off with a short solo set to introduce the crowd to what I do. As I power up my looping setup, there is a loud popping noise followed by silence. I’m told that I have blown the generator for the entire Park Area. Oops. Now I am freaking out – so much work has gone into this show. This can’t be the end of it! The audience aren’t having any of it… they remain enthusiastic, singing and cheering until the power eventually comes back on. Phew!
No time to lose now, I skip straight to my drum n bass looping song to get everyone moving again, and then bring out the Vocal Orchestra. They are on fire today.
What follows is a unique mish-mash of guest stars performing spontaneously. The music ranges from folk to jazz to hip hop to tabla to scratch battles to raucous sing-a-longs. If you would like to hear some of the music you will have to wait for the podcast – we did an audio diary of the whole weekend which will be out soon. There are some pics below, mostly taken by RJ Fernandez, more to come.
Martha Wainwright sang a version of ‘In the Middle of the Night’ with me on beats
Martina Topley-Bird sang ‘Police and Thieves’ by Junior Mervin with the Vocal Orchestra as backing band
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly performed ‘Ghost Town’ by the Specials with the Vocal Orchestra
Ed Harcourt presented me with a fake diamond encrusted golden microphone onstage… I think he wanted me to look as bling as Jay-Z! Then he sang ’50 ways to leave your lover’
Me, Ed Harcourt, Pavan and Reverend from the Makers (these pics courtesy of BBC)
It was a moving experience, I came off stage exhausted but happy – I felt like all the collaborations and musical experiences from the past year as resident at Southbank have armed me with all the tools I needed to rock a two hour improvised show. It was probably the best show I’ve ever done, certainly the most fun show I have been a part of. I can’t wait to do it again. Watch this space!
There are new ‘Shlomo and the Vocal Orchestra’ t-shirts available to buy now from the AFTM Shop, featuring specially commissioned artwork from illustrator/spy Eleanor Meredith.
Watch as Shlomo and The Vocal Orchestra create the world’s only 13-piece beatboxing choir in only 6 weeks.
Watch the trailer here:
I think John Humprhies must have chickened out – when I got to the BBC studios he wasn’t there. Still did a great little interview with Evan Davis, myself and jestar* from the Vocal Orchestra… have a listen: Shlomo and jestar* on BBC Radio 4.
i seem to have done no end of press interviews for the show on Saturday – it’s nearly sold out so get in quick if you still want to come…
In the past few days I’ve been working with Gospel singers and a Brazillian choir for the commission I am doing with Brent Respect Festival, and been busy rehearsing the new line up of the Vocal Orchestra. We did a gig at the Guildhall School of Music last Friday to big up Sir George Martin who was a student there many years ago. We performed a medley of Beatles songs, some of which may make it into the setlist on Saturday! I meant to invite Sir George but totally forgot. Him and John Humphries – I missed the opportunity to get two legends beatboxing in one week !