Mention "beatboxing" and most everyone asks the same question: "You mean, like that guy from Police Academy?" Exactly. Michael Winslow happens to be "that guy's" real name, and though he's probably the most well-known vocal distortionist, many more sound effect gurus still perpetuate the rare trade. True credit, in fact, traces back to the original human beatboxer, Doug E. Fresh.
Terry "Kid Lucky" Lewis (pictured left), organizer of Beatboxer Entertainment Production Company, also works to keep the craft alive from his home base in Brooklyn. The auditory master will lend his talents locally to the Colorado Festival of World Theatre's 2006 program in July, on the heels of a June visit during which he taught an eight-day workshop at the alternative Community Prep School downtown.
"Anyone can train and learn to beatbox ... but like a violin lesson or anything else, it takes time," Lewis says.
Before treating Lynzi Denkscherz (middle) and Crystall Heckert (right) to a popular cover of his friend Razell's "If Your Mother Only Knew," Kid Lucky explains that he discovered beatboxing as an improvised form of therapy when he was growing up in foster homes, detention centers and various institutions.
The artist cites linguistic principles of natural tonality and percussiveness as factors in whether a person will tend to lean more toward odd noises and sound effects versus music beats. He also stresses expressive body movement as a key to becoming a strong beatboxer.
Photo and story by Matthew Schniper