Baltimore beatboxes head to Carnegie Hall, overcoming childhood trauma

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Baltimore beatboxes go through trauma to perform at Carnegie Hall

Beatboxing and suicide prevention awareness – the two mixed together is what an artist from Baltimore is set to make his Carnegie Hall debut. In large urban spaces, Dominic Talifu, better known as Shodekeh, is in his element. At age 9, Shodekeh said he suffered various forms of abuse and turned to the beatbox to overcome his thoughts of suicide and save himself. “I had my first battle with ideation around the age of 9,” he said. “But subconsciously, I was looking for a way to creatively reclaim my body and reclaim my existence.” He’s a survivor who says he’s still learning. His first piece, entitled Vodalities, is inspired by the environment. Starting with “the art of the breath” he can imitate things that one finds in a forest, like the wind, then move on to what is called vocal percussion and finally beatboxing – a reflection of the environment using acoustics inside a tunnel. It creates a voice with a message. “At the end of the day, I’m still the only one who can get out of my way. The people who hurt me can’t do it for me,” he said. Changing the scenes, Shodekeh’s talent goes to Carnegie Hall this winter. This is something he especially wants young blacks to hear. “It’s exciting and it’s also just as terrifying,” he said. His beatbox saved his life, and he hopes to save more.

Beatboxing and suicide prevention awareness – the two mixed together is what an artist from Baltimore is set to make his Carnegie Hall debut.

In large urban spaces, Dominic Talifu, better known as Shodekeh, is in his element. At 9 years old, Shodekeh said he suffered various forms of abuse and turned to the beatbox to overcome his thoughts of suicide and save himself.

“I had my first battle with ideation around the age of 9,” he said. “But subconsciously, I was looking for a way to creatively reclaim my body and reclaim my existence.”

He’s a survivor who says he’s still learning. His first piece, entitled Vodalities, is inspired by the environment. Starting with “the art of the breath” he can imitate things that one finds in a forest, like the wind, then move on to what is called vocal percussion and finally beatboxing – a reflection of the environment using acoustics inside a tunnel. It creates a voice with a message.

“At the end of the day, I’m still the only one who can get out of my way. The people who hurt me can’t do it for me,” he said.

Changing scene, Shodekeh’s talent is going to Carnegie Hall this winter. This is something he especially wants young black people to hear.

“It’s exciting and it’s also just as terrifying,” he said.

His beatbox saved his life, and he hopes to save more.


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