Interview| The famous American beatbox band: We are excited to meet the Egyptian audience

By Manal El Warraky

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo announced that the award-winning American acoustic music group, Beatbox House, is visiting Egypt as part of their 2024 world tour.

The Beatbox House band’s visit to Egypt – the only Middle East stop during the 2024 tour – brings this unique American musical genre to three Egyptian cities: Luxor, Cairo and Alexandria.

During their visit to Cairo, the five members of the Beat Box House band, Jin Shinozaki, Kenny Urban, Na Boom, Amit, and Chris Seles, spoke about their experience in bringing this unique type of music to Egypt for the first time, and the text of the dialogue..

Can you tell us about the beginning of this unique type of art?
In the beginning, beatbox is the art of playing with the mouth and imitating the sounds of rhythmic instruments and musical tones by mouth.

It is also a type of hip-hop art that began to spread in the early 1980s, and beatboxing was able to establish its presence at the beginning of the new century.

How did beatbox music spread despite it being a completely unique and different music?
The Internet played a major role in spreading this type of art and creating popularity for it, especially during the Corona epidemic due to the ban and the lack of concerts. The Internet was an outlet for artists and the public alike.

Tell us about your start with beatbox music? How was your band formed?
Our beginning was in the home of one of the band members in Brooklyn, New York, and our goal at that time was to present beatbox in a way that goes beyond the limits of what can be presented with instruments. Every member of the band considers himself a soloist, and our ability to work together adds an enthusiastic atmosphere that delights our audience.

Our house served as a headquarters for holding some of our concerts and receiving our audiences and everyone who has a talent for beatboxing. Until now, we live in one house to enjoy practicing this type of music and performance, so we made it an open headquarters for our audiences and those who are talented in this art.

..And what does this unique type of art aim at?
The primary goal of beatboxing is to have fun, and secondly, to express the problems and obstacles experienced by modern generations around the world.

What about your current experience in Egypt? Is this your first visit?
Yes, this is our first visit to Egypt, the Arab region, and the Middle East, and therefore we are very excited to cooperate with local singing and music groups and present our art to the Egyptian people.

We are very happy to be in Egypt, and we are eager to see the country and the Egyptian public, because unfortunately we do not know much about Egyptian art and singing, but in this tour we will try to collect more information about Egyptian art.

We are also waiting for our concert in Cairo with a big band like the “Wast El Balad” band and the “Sharmoofers” band also in Alexandria, and I hope that the Egyptian audience will be happy with this type of art.

..What about cooperation with musical and singing groups in Egypt?
Our hip-hop style as a beatbox house band will combine with the legendary Egyptian band Downtown to perform in Cairo and the powerhouse Sharmoofers to perform in Alexandria, bringing together the best of both American and Egyptian cultures.

On May 1st, we as Beat Box House will be presenting our music in Cairo, on the campus of the American University of Tahrir in Cairo, and Egyptian music legends will join us with the “Wast El Balad” band for a once-in-a-lifetime Egyptian-American musical experience.

There will be free prizes for the first 1,000 ticket holders registered in Cairo, as tickets will be free and open to the public.

On May 3, we will join the talented Sharmoofers band at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria. This show will fuse American beatbox music with the unparalleled Egyptian pop tradition embodied in the rich and melodic voice of Sharmoofers.

Do your musical performances also target children? Or only young people?
As a Beatbox House band, we will lead a music workshop for children in Cairo’s City of the Dead, and we will also perform for the visually impaired community during a show on May 2 at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina for a shared experience of sound and music accessible to all.

We will share our skills and expertise through professional exchanges and masterclasses open to more than 500 emerging Egyptian artists, musicians, singers, and songwriters who are graduates of US government-funded music programs.

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