Oakland musician gives a quick beatbox lesson

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Tommy Soulati Shepherd sits with a picture of Mexican artist Frida Khalo behind him on his wall as if she's watching over him as he beatboxes into the camera on his tablet.

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In front of him are yellow sticky notes that he pulls off one at a time to write out sounds with a Sharpie. "Buh! Tuh! Kuh!" he says, mimicking instruments and record scratches with his mouth.

If you don't know what beatboxing is, Urban Dictionary defines it as the attempt made by one to vocally replicate the sounds that would normally emanates from a drum set, drum machine or drum loop through a series of noises or popping sounds made with the mouth. "Beatboxing" is used throughout the hip-hop scene, and talented "word beatboxers" can be found in several urban settings.

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Shepherd is a co-founding member of the East Bay inter-generational musical group Alphabet Rockers, along with Kaitlin McGaw. The band also consists of four teenage members to "create music that makes change," according to their website.

Tommy was excited to record a beatbox lesson for ABC7 from his home in Alameda, which you can watch in the player above. He and the group are deeply entrenched in the Bay Area community, and he says they will continue to help the community through the COVID-19 crisis in any way possible.

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