Musical Journeys Across The Continents
Guest blog by Daniel Brill, founder of Rabotai Jewish Acapella Our voices are our strongest form of self-expression. We can speak, we can cry, we can sing, as the sounds created by our voices allow us to connect to the world around us.
Some of the greatest music is enhanced by the magic of our voices.
But what if we created music with the voice alone? What if our voices were the instruments? Welcome to the world of A Capella and beatboxing.
My name is Daniel Brill, and I am the founder and manager of Rabotai Jewish A Capella. It all started about 16 years ago when I met my first beatboxer. A friend at school back in London, Lee Jacobs, was known to be able to make drum beats with his mouth. When I heard it for myself, that was it, I decided that he had to teach me how! After lots of practice, honing sounds and techniques, as well as some sore throats, I realized that there was such a thing called a professional beatboxer. I thought, well if they can do it, why don’t I give it a shot! After starting small, testing things out at a wedding here and a workshop there, it seemed that there was an opening for me!
So I pounced!
I began not just teaching the art of human beatboxing but working with musicians, singers, and other entertainers for all kinds of celebratory events.
Then, I came across A Capella! At first, it was the Macabbeats, then groups like AKA PELLA, Six13, and Kol Zimra (Pella) that captured my heart. After having performed for Coca-Cola at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games as their lead beatboxer, I moved to the US for almost two years to study for my master’s degree at Yeshiva University. During my time in the US, I was fortunate enough to perform with some of the top Jewish A Capella groups in the scene at the time.
Then came Aliyah! I knew the end game was to live in Israel, so after finishing my masters, and performing in France, I made it home. People did ask me, “if you want to be a professional beatboxer, why would you leave the home of beatbox, New York?!”. It is true, beatboxing is the 5th element of hip hop, which originated in NY, but I knew Israel was the place that I was meant to be. If there wasn’t a beatboxing scene in my homeland, I just had to make one!
To my surprise, and due to some networking on previous trips, I found that there actually was a fledgling A Capella and beatbox scene in Israel. Once again, I pounced! I joined as many groups as I could find, and once again ended up performing with some of the top A Capella groups in Israel. However, the dream of founding my own beatbox group and A Capella/Simcha group came when I realized that I could bring more to the scene!
Enter Rabotai! In June 2017 Rabotai (initially called Amen) was born. Having been able to work with so many talented singers over the years, and have found then Musical Director Yonatan Stern, I was able to find many of the singers we have today.
Developing Rabotai Jewish A Capella, and expanding into Rabotai Live Band has been exciting, but then came dream number 2! Coming from the world of beatboxing, I saw what was out there and what was lacking in the Jewish events scene. Having met and trained with some of the world’s top beatboxers back in my London days, I knew I wanted to create a Jewish Beatbox Troupe. The trouble was, I did not know many top-level Jewish beatboxers, as the world of A Capella generally sees beatboxing as an accompaniment, albeit a vital one. It did not generate a large number of professional beatboxers in their own right.
In 2019 however, that changed, when after working in the scene for over 10 years I founded BEATBOX JLM with Raphi Nathan. Raphi comes from the world of DJ-ing, breakdancing, and A Capella, as well as being a serious beatboxer in his own right. We added Noah bar Shain (Musical Director), and Yishai Revivo to the team, and began making waves in Israel! We have even been compared to the top french beatbox quartet, Berywam.
Then came Covid!
Despite the world shutdowns having come at the peak of years of hard work and pushing boundaries, both Rabotai and Beatbox JLM are working hard behind the scenes, developing new material and exciting music that is itching to come out as things open up!
My mission is as true now, as it has been from the start. To excite, entertain, educate and bring joy to others, while being able to develop and push the boundaries of what can be done with the human voice.
At the end of the day, Music is all about making connections. I can’t wait to share the connections I have made with my musical families with you soon!
Check out Rabotai's newest Purim parody!