Published: 23rd September 2019
This Chennaiite wants to create a Guinness Record by beatboxing for more than 28 hours at a stretch!
Rajkamal AKA RaKa Vee is a popular beatboxer who captivates audiences with nothing but just a mike and a speaker
They say when the passion for something takes over you, there’s nothing that can stop you from being one with it. Rajkamal (full name or at least initial?) AKA RaKa Vee, a Chennai-based beatboxer, is an embodiment of this fact. “My day begins early and I head straight to the gym. I come back home around 8 am and from then, I am completely immersed in my beatboxing routine, where the rhythm of my body and my emotions entwine to give rise to sounds and beats that can even put musical instruments to shame,” he smiles.
One would assume that his practice sessions would go on for an hour or maximum two, but no. This beatboxer goes at it for more than 9 hours, with just a few five-minute breaks in between. Why is he doing this, you may think to yourself; is he trying to create a record or something? Well, he actually is! “I want to break the Guinness World Record for the longest beatboxing session by an individual which is 26 hours, currently held by an Italian beatboxer. I aim to do it for 28 hours. I am practising day and night to make this a reality,” says the 27-year-old who has performed in more than 100 shows till date, adding, “People are drawn to my live shows because I am what they call a ‘looper’ in beatboxing circles. I use a hardware device called a Loop Station with which one can plug in a musical instrument, record a loop on the spot and then, use it as an accompaniment to further live playing and/or singing. One can also overdub new performances while the loop plays, a feature also known as ‘sound-on-sound’ recording.”
RaKa Vee’s tryst with beatboxing began a few years ago, when he was pursuing Civil Engineering in 2012. He was a star hip-hop dancer in college who had won many competitions, both inter-collegiate and inter-state. At one such event, he met a beatboxer for the first time and was taken by his art in an instant. “I guess that’s what you call love at first sight. The style, the charm, the effect beatboxing had on the audience – I was impressed by everything. That’s when I knew that I had to learn it too,” he says. After completing Engineering, he pursued an MBA in Project Management and had become busy with academics, but he nurtured his love for both dancing and beatboxing on the side, performing at many private shows and events.
In 2015, he joined a reputed company as a Project Manager to make his parents happy, but he knew he wouldn’t stick to the job for long right from the beginning. “In fact, I had set a deadline in mind – that I would resign 3 years from the day that I joined (in order to save money) and that’s exactly what I did,” he says, recalling how he would get off work soon to drive to Elliot's beach with nothing but a loudspeaker attached to his car and perform for the crowds. “It gave me the much needed ‘after-work’ satisfaction,” he quips.
Despite having a full-time job at that time, he also established BBX India, the first forum of its kind dedicated to Indian beatboxers, in 2016 and started building a beatboxing community – where he was involved in organising competitions and bringing beatboxers from the length and breadth of the country together. “After I saved enough money, I travelled to Poland in 2018 (after he quit his job in April that year) for an international beatboxing event where I met international artistes and started networking with them,” says RaKa Vee.
Since last year, he has been conducting beatboxing classes and also focusing on taking BBX India to greater heights, and making it accessible to each and every budding beatboxer out there. He organised the first Indian Beatboxing Championship in Bengaluru with two international judges and over 100 participants from different parts of India. “There was even a 16-year-old who had come with his parents all the way from Jammu and Kashmir! And a lot of participants from the Northeast too. It was a great event and this year too, we will be organising the second edition of the Indian Beatboxing Championship in four regions — Mumbai, Nagaland, Bengaluru and Delhi — with the finals in Mumbai, probably in November or December. We are looking for sponsors to make it a grand success,” he signs off.