Human beatboxer wicked . . . and wet

Wicked and wet ... Beatboxer Dr Badfunk will perform in Dunedin tonight. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Wicked and wet ... Beatboxer Dr Badfunk will perform in Dunedin tonight. Photo by Peter McIntosh
The forecast for tonight is for showers of spit indoors, courtesy of one of the United Kingdom's top human beatboxers.

Beatboxing is a form of vocal percussion which primarily involves the art of producing drum beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using the mouth, lips, tongue and voice.

And Dr Badfunk, also known as Paul O'Brien, is one of the best.

"One of the great things about beatbox is you can take it anywhere - you don't have to lug it around in a big box," he said.

"It's a great instrument. The only downside is, there can be a little bit of spit flying about."

Mr O'Brien is in Dunedin to give a concert at the Monkey Bar tonight and masterclasses in the art form to Bayfield High School music pupils tomorrow.

The 29-year-old Geordie from Newcastle, in the north of England, said his introduction to beatboxing was quite accidental.

He had been playing guitar and harmonica in bands for 15 years, when he and a friend came across someone beatboxing on television while flicking through TV channels.

"We thought it looked like fun. It was just a hobby to start with.

"Then I met a guy who was a professional and I had a jam with him.

"He thought I sounded great and he suggested I take part in a competition - the UK Beatbox Championships."

Mr O'Brien said he was knocked out of the competition in the preliminary heats.

Rather than be drummed out by the competition, he tried again the following year and eventually he became a national finalist in the competition in 2005 and 2006.

Since then, he has featured on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and performed alongside many of the United Kingdom's premier hip-hop acts, including Foreign Beggars, the Scratch Perverts, Killa Kela, and United States hip-hop heavyweights MOP, De La Soul, and People Under the Stairs.

Mr O'Brien said he was looking forward to performing in Dunedin.

"It's going to be something completely different from what you would normally see in Dunedin.

"I recommend people bring a raincoat or an umbrella with them. This gig is going to be wicked and wet."

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