Former RGS pupil brings his beatboxing talent to High Wycombe

Bucks Free Press: Shlomo Shlomo

A FORMER Royal Grammar School pupil who has performed all over the world is returning to High Wycombe to bring his beat boxing to his home town.

Shlomo, who's full name is Simon Shlomo Kahn, is a beatbox artist, which means, for those of you who don't know, he makes drum beats, rhythm and musical sounds with his mouth.

And he is particularly good at it- since he started performing in 2002 he has performed on Later with Jools Holland, at Glastonbury and the Edinburgh Fringe.

He has twice held the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Beatbox Ensemble and has collaborated with a number of stars including Ed Sheeran and Björk.

So what can people expect from his show at the Wycombe Swan Town Hall next week?

He said: "The show is going to be a collaboration of music- beat boxing with story telling and technology.

"It is just a great big party really. I have got some special guests, which are, at the moment, a secret."

He has a few old friends and old teachers coming along to the show, which he said will be at the back of his mind.

Shlomo said: "I will play it by ear. It depends on what the crowd want."

He grew up in Bourne End and went to the High Wycombe Music Centre, from the age of eight.

He then went to the Royal Grammar School, where he was able to play the drum roll for the National Anthem at the Royal Albert Hall, when he was 12.

Shlomo said: "At first it was a bit frustrating. They knew who I was when I got there and said, 'You have got to come and in that band.."

"First of all I realised people weren't taking it as seriously as the music centre and I thought I can't be bothered with this."

But with encouragement from the teachers and the head of music, Tim Venvell, he started to enjoy the opportunities given to him.

It was when he was aged 18 he first performed in a beatboxing competition in 2002, and he won, which gave him a step up.

Shlomo, who did work experience at the Free Press, said: "I have been doing it since I was really small as a way to practise drumming, I didn't know it was called beatboxing.

"I started doing it at school and they said it was really good.

"Someone played me a tape with someone beat boxing and I thought I want to do that."

He now does a range of different shows from raves to theatre shows to stand up comedy.

Shlomo said: "When I became a dad I was much more into the theatre style, so I could get to bed at a reasonable time.

"Now my little one is a bit older I can go back out and rave a bit more."

His son is now three and a half years old and has even helped his dad sound check at one of Shlomo's children's shows.

And for Shlomo working in education is very important to him.

He said: "I just feel it is a really fun way for young people to get into music. Sometimes music classes can be a bit uninspiring- at school they hand them a clarinet and dots on paper and say learn this.

"If you want to learn something you have to want to learn it. You have to have a hero and ultimately a goal.

"I can quite quickly show them beatboxing."

And the beatboxer continues to push himself.

He said: "If I am not learning from something I am doing, then there is not much point doing it.

"It is all about pushing yourself and doing something new."

Shlomo is at the Wycombe Swan on May 28 at 8pm. Tickets are £12, with a £1.50 booking fee, from 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk.

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