SK Shlomo: Surrender
  • By Ben Dali
  • |
  • 20th Aug 2019
  • |
  • ★★★★

Very few of Edinburgh Fringe’s 4,000+ shows this year are able to boast being incomparable to all others. Enter world record-holding, world champion beatlooping beatboxer SK Shlomo, who combines storytelling with his own brand of music to create a compelling journey through his life and works. Surrender is a glorious and intimate insight into the life and skills of a real world class act.

A glorious and intimate insight into the life and skills of a truly world class act,

Shlomo’s adult show (he’s also doing a family one) is an engrossing personal account of the drawbacks of receiving fame and success, as he addresses issues such as mental health and the effects of social media. He tells his tale enchantingly, intercutting it with beats, samples and songs, the quality of which is an experience to behold. Shlomo deftly manipulates his personally created beatlooping device, Beast, as his fingers glide across the coloured buttons with all the prowess of a concert pianist. The song writing is strong, yet not as anthemic as the beats behind them.

As he shows off his skills, it’s no stretch of the imagination to see how he rose to prominence, with pitch perfect beatboxing covering rave-worthy anthems such as Out Of Space and Seven Nation Army. The beatboxing was my favourite aspect of the music and I had hoped for a little more usage – you can never have too much beatboxing!

Shlomo aims to personalise his show, inviting each audience member the microphone to contribute a single beat that he incorporates into set pieces. This felt like a missed opportunity in which we might be offered an entire noise before the microphone has moved on. Given the likeminded crowd he is likely to attract, and the fact that he had a few minutes to spare, Shlomo might have asked if there were anyone else in the room who was capable of contributing their own beatboxing skills to a track to make it truly personalised (NB: not me).

It’s worth having a quick listen to him first to make sure you like the style of music, as it is not a genre that can be accurately conveyed in words. Fans of his sound should find this unmissable, with some epic music in a live and intimate atmosphere. Surrender is a moving story that should certainly have a wide appeal, and is well worth seeking out for a great story, the best beatboxing Edinburgh has to offer, and some exceptionally phat beats.

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Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

After collaborating with Ed Sheeran, Bjork and Damon Albarn, the record-breaking beatboxer and Fringe favourite SK Shlomo returns with Surrender: a new one-man show charting his life-affirming journey overcoming grief, addiction and suicidal depression. Part wild gig, part devastatingly honest theatre, Surrender blends his innovative live looping and breathtaking beatboxing with epic synths, crushingly honest lyrics and lush electronic layers. 'Fascinating... Dangerously energised performing' (Telegraph). 'SK Shlomo squares up to depression with style' (Soho Radio). 'Extraordinary... It's a revelation' (Bill Bailey, ShortList). 'Slick theatrics and soulful vocal gymnastics' (Evening Standard).

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