Special announcement: Due to an electrical problem we encountered, tonight's concert is being held at Jordan Faye Contemporary.
Eric Kennedy & Shodekeh
$15 general/$10 students
A human beatboxer, Hip Hop artist, and collector of musical experiences.
Self taught with no formal musical education, Shodekeh has been capable of
executing the fine art of beatboxing since the age of nine and has been
presenting the vocal form as a serious practitioner since the age of 19. By channeling the various concepts of instruments and sounds through the human voice, he can vocally embody many musical tools or emulations which include drum kits, didgeridoos, ocean waves, turntables, woodblocks, synthesizers, helicopters, congas, wind, sleigh bells, crickets, horns, bass guitars . . well, you get the idea. With his rhythms, he is always seeking to interface with many varying genres from Blues to Classical, with or without an apparatus and has also enjoyed completing musical interpretations of visual works/gallery exhibits at Towson University, Oberlin College, and The American Visionary Arts Musuem. Working as a musical accompanist within dance programs for such places as Patapsco High School and Center For The Arts and The American Dance Festival have also brought a vast amount of inspiration into his career, as well conducting his non-formal musical learning experiences in and out of classrooms known as "The Beatbox Lab".
Artistic travels from CBGB's to The Peabody Institute have kept moments
increasingly challenging and stimulating for this young artist, and as long
as there's an eardrum, mic, or speaker system to be demolished or altered by
yours truly, Shodekeh will be there willing to rock in the soundscape of the
He currently serves as faculty and musical accompanist for Towson
University's dance department and The American Dance Festival at Duke
University. He has completed a number of high level music commissions over
the years including opening for President Bill Clinton at a Maryland state
reception with The Coppin State University Choir, "Witness" with VT Dance at
The Kennedy Center, "Fuse Muse" with percussionists Brian Prechtl of the
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Barry Dove, "The Kandinsky Beatdown" at
Virginia Tech University, "The Urbanite Project 2009" with Urbanite
Magazine, the Conference on World Affairs at The University of Colorado
(2008-2010) and "Transformations: New Directions in Black Art," a 2009
conference of African American Art presented by the Maryland Institute
College of Art and Harvard University.
He has also won many awards and honors such as his 2006-2007 residency with
The Johns Hopkins Modern Dance Company, The 2007 Artist Studio Residency at
The Creative Alliance at The Patterson, grants and commissions for The
United States Embassy of Lithuania's 2009 and 2010 Month of American Culture
Program and placement on The Maryland State Arts Council 2009-2012 Touring
Artist Roster Program. He is also one of the 2011 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize
Eric Kennedy, a Baltimore native, is a drummer, vocalist, percussionist,
educator and composer. Eric's introduction to all styles of music and early
music training was initiated by his musical relatives, who also cultivated
his love of jazz. Before the age of five, Eric began his development as a
percussionist and singer performing with a family/neighborhood band and
singing in the Timothy Baptist church choir.
Eric attended the Baltimore City Gifted and Talented Exploratory (G.A.T.E.)
Program at Harford Heights Elementary School, where he began formal study of
music and art. As a student of the GATE Program, he also co-composed,
arranged and performed music for an award winning student short film. Eric
continued his arts education at the Baltimore School for the Arts studying
classical percussion and voice with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
percussionist John Locke, Donna Di Stefano and the late Dr. Nathan Carter.
He later transferred to the Music Careers Programs at Frederick Douglass Sr. High School directed by Ms. Jewel Churn and received extra-curricular
instruction from legendary Baltimore drummers Johnny Polite and "Peanut"
Saunderlin. After high school, Eric moved to Philadelphia to work with the
world music ensemble Our Time Is Now and continue his personal study in
ethnomusicology. In Philadelphia, Eric came under the tutelage of Sun Ra and
received private instruction from legendary drummer Edgar Bateman.
In 1990, Eric and Our Time Is Now moved to Holland to perform and travel
across Europe and record their debut recording, The Pursuit of Happyness.
Two years later, he found himself in French Guiana, playing with the Victor
Sabas Trio and studying the rhythms of South America, Central America and
the Caribbean. During this period, Eric discovered a passion for composition
and began writing in myriad styles which reflected his diverse experiences.
His current catalog of compositions boasts approximately 500 compositions
and sketches of multifarious cultural influences and rhythm styles.
Upon his return to Baltimore, Eric's career began to blossom. As a freelance
drummer he played with Mack Rucks, Moments Notice, the Eubie Blake Sextet
and Big Band, Craig Alston, Ruby Glover, Gary Richardson, the Al Maniscalco
Quartet, the Steve Carrington Quartet and the Kelly Shepherd Quartet, and
co-founded the jazz ensemble Dreamworld. He studied voice with Odell Wilson
and Timmy Shepherd, drums with Leroy Williams, fundamental technique with
Jamal Wilson, brushes with renowned master Clayton Cameron and attended the
jazz workshops of legendary teacher/musician Barry Harris. In the years to
follow, Eric played, toured and/or recorded with, among others, Curtis
Fuller, Phil Woods, Curtis Lundy, Joe Bonner, Larry Willis, Eddie Gale, Carl
Grubbs (2009 Baker Artist Award Winner), John Hicks, Gary Bartz, TK Blue,
Richard Wyands, Virgil Jones, Eddie Henderson, Bunky Green, Ronnie Mathews,
Yusef Salim, Nnena Freelon, Xavier Davis, Orrin Evans, Charles Davis, Reggie
Workman, Keter Betts, Valery Ponomarev, Gary Thomas, Shodekeh, Herman Burney
and Cecil McBee. As a vocalist, Eric was runner up in the 2004 Billie
Holiday Vocal Competition and showcased at Artscape 2010.
Eric broadened as an entertainer as well. He trained with Quest for Arts, a
Maryland based not-for-profit organization whose educational work focuses on
the use of visual theatre to enhance literacy. As Quest's inclusive
membership represents a diverse ethnic, cultural, and artistic panorama,
Eric accompanied a Deaf dance ensemble led by renowned Deaf choreographer
Yola Roznek. He also composed and accompanied the multimedia ensemble piece,
I Carry the Flag, performed at Gallaudet University, Towson University and
the Baltimore Creative Alliance for a primarily Deaf audience. Eric's
theater credits include a 25th anniversary tour with the cast of the
Broadway musical revue Ain't Misbehavin' in 2003, a tribute to Billie
Holiday "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" in 2006, Anunsi the Spider
with the Sankofa Dance Ensemble, The Women of Brewster's Place and Nnenna
Freelon and the Evidence Dance Company's " The Blueprint of a Lady" at the
historic Apollo Theater in Harlem in 2007. His film credits include a
composition featured in the independent film "The Big Muddy".
Eric also flourished as an educator. Eric served three years as adjunct
faculty in the jazz department at the Peabody Conservatory of Music teaching
drum set, voice, jazz combo and jazz history and also taught voice and
percussion for the Eubie Blake Cultural Center and the Mount Royal
Elementary and Middle Schools. He was invited to Sweden to perform and teach
for at the Music School of Malmo with the Gary Thomas Trio. Over the years,
Eric developed and presented a catalog of workshops and clinics for
community centers, churches, schools and university programs across the
United States and abroad. Eric is currently involved in the multifaceted
Project AYA, an educational initiative which honors the traditions of the
Underground Railroad. A special project of In This Together Development,
INC, this project explores coded messages and hidden meanings in the songs
and quilts used along the path to freedom through textiles, song, drumming
and movement. Dedicated to youth and developing artists, Eric continues to
conduct private lessons in drums, percussion, music theory, vocals and
primal performance technique.
Nationally, and internationally, Eric leads his own ensembles and performs
regularly with the Bobby Watson Quartet, NoMad Stories, the Timmy Shepherd
Group, Inside Out (a collective trio with Lafayette Gilchrist and Michael
Formanek), the Larry Willis Trio, the Jeff Reed Trio, Todd Marcus Quartet,
Joel Holmes Trio, and Kinetic Sounds. Locally, Eric is Artistic Director for
In This Together Development, a Baltimore based not-for-profit organization,
whose mission is to bring arts as a means of expression to at risk youth,
will begin a term as Artist in Residence at An Die Muzik (Central Baltimore)
and serves as the project coordinator for the Jazzy Oliver Music Outreach
Program in East Baltimore.
Eric Kennedy is also the Artists-in-Residence at An die Musik Live!. He
helds a monthly drum workshop for all ages.