Man or machine? Beatbox musician amazes crowd at Montana Folk Festival

Posted at 3:03 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 18:08:01-04

BUTTE – To master the art of beatboxing it’s all about one thing: “Precision – where you can’t tell whether it’s human or machine,” said musician Rahzel, who brought his beatboxing skills to the Montana Folk Festival in Butte this weekend.

Beatboxing got its start in the early 80s when performers started using their voices to imitate drum machines.

“To the ear, you want to reproduce it in its entirety, so that’s how the beatboxing evolved until you have to do five or six different sounds at one time,” said Rahzel.

He noted that using the voice to mimic instruments has been done throughout the centuries and spans many cultures from Gregorian chants to Mongolian throat singing.

“Even yodeling, you know, yodeling is the same form of how you create beatboxing, you know, because you’re using your voice as an instrument,” said Rahzel.

Rahzel started beatboxing when he was 9 years old as a way to try to copy the music he was listening to at the time.

“We just had to imitate these things, you know, we didn’t have an actual drum machine or actual drum kit, so we had to kind of come up with our own style or own form of what it would sound like,” said Rahzel.

Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News