Braz’ beatboxing notes

French beatboxer Faya Braz on the nuances, techniques and culture of the art

Beatboxing and tabla have more things in common than you thought, according to French beatboxer Faya Braz. Over a call from Bangalore, ahead of his show, he beatboxes the tabla stroke sounds “...Ta Ghe Thin Dha Dhin…” and pauses to say that tabla is one of those instruments which requires the artists to beatbox before learning to play it. According to him, the art, which he has been practising since 1996, includes rules and rhythm like in any other instrument, be it a violin or a guitar. “The only difference is you are using your mouth,” says Faya, who is on an India tour.

Faya was beatboxing even before he learnt what it meant. “As a kid, I used to make funny sounds using my mouth. It was fun. Then I met Rahzel, a legendary beatboxer, in 1997, and I got into the art 100 per cent,” he says. Later, in 1999, he met Micspawn, a popular name in the French beatboxing scene, and joined the ART-HIFIS crew in 2001. He then formed a band called Under Kontrol in 2007, along with three other artistes. “As part of the band, and as a solo artiste, I have travelled all across the world from Asia to Africa via Europe,” he says. The band also came out with the first-ever beatbox album in 2011.

All the while, Faya tried to explore the hip-hop culture which beatboxing is a part of. “Though I try several techniques, and do both originals and covers of songs, I would like to define my kind of music as hip hop,” says Faya, who also formed a band called The Beat and The Voice along with artiste Yoshi. While the band was all about raw beatboxing, Faya slowly got fascinated by the concept of ‘loopstation’, which allows the beatboxer to build musical loops in real time. In 2014, he won the Grand Beatbox Battle – Loopstation category, which is probably the biggest loopstation international competition.

So now, most of his live performances feature pure beatboxing for one half and looping for the other. “In India, the reception has been amazing. At Chandigarh, I had people above 60 years of age come up to me and say that they liked what I did. In Delhi, the crowd included more youngsters,” he says. “I’m also conducting workshops as part of the tour. Anybody who has an interest in the art and a ear for music can beatbox. The most important factor is how you control your breathing. With proper training, one can even beatbox 45 minutes at a stretch,” he says.

Faya will be performing at Phoenix MarketCity on September 18 at 7 p.m.

Music made easy

Faya Braz helped build Beatbox Maker, the first interactive Beatbox application for smartphones. The app includes tutorials to learn beatbox basics, and has over 50,000 downloads.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 1:02:36 PM |

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