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New twist comes to annual Montana Folk Festival

Posted at 10:56 AM, Jul 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-14 12:56:35-04

BUTTE – The annual Montana Folk Festival is continuing in Butte.

There’s been a lot of music over the years at this festival, but this year something different is taking place.

The event features a beatboxer — Rahzel — who came all the way from New York City. He can use his voice to imitate multiple instruments.

To master the art of beatboxing it’s all about one thing: “Precision – where you can’t tell whether it’s human or machine,” Rahzel said.

Rrahzel is performing the hip-hop musical style called beatbox which 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,” Rahzel told MTN News.

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…because you’re using your voice as an instrument,” Rahzel said.

He started beatboxing when he was nine 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…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,” Rahzel concluded.

-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News