Mary B. Martin School of the Arts will present the documentary film “SHU-DE!” with director Michael Faulkner as part of the South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers on Monday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. in the D.P Culp Center Auditorium.
“SHU-DE!” follows Baltimore beatboxer Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero on a journey halfway around the world to participate in a music festival and throat singing competition in Siberian Russia and, as he calls it, create an “oasis of unity through musical collaboration.”
In Tuva, Talifero begins this pilgrimage and two unique vocal forms – Khoomei, or Tuvan throat singing (incorporating multiple pitches at once), and beatboxing, or American vocal percussion – and cultures intermingle and find common ground.
“With ‘SHU-DE!,’ I set out to feel the rhythm of an energy and place and do my best to make a ﬁlm in such a way that a viewer would feel present on the same journey…” Faulkner said. “One of the greatest things about the making this ﬁlm for me has been experiencing the kind of wonder that comes with being lost in a new world. Every moment, every experience contained the potential for discovery.”
Alash Ensemble and Shodekeh met during a 2011 tour, which brought the Tuvan musical group to Baltimore for the first time and sparked a musical journey still developing to this day. Alash was impressed with the way Shodekeh’s vocal feats meshed with their own unique vocal tradition and invited him to join them in Kyzyl, Tuva, to participate in the 50th birthday celebration and International Xoomei festival in honor of the legendary Tuvan throat singer Kongar-ool Ondar.
Shodekeh has honed his skills as a professional beatboxer and vocal percussionist in Baltimore, where he met Faulkner at a nightspot. With just a knapsack, he makes the sojourn to Tuva to study their music and culture, while sharing his own vocal artistry.
While there, he leads a group of Tuvan teens in a popping and locking demo, develops a form of throat singing that incorporates beatboxing, participates in Kuresh, Tuvan wrestling and encounters and/or collaborates with Alash Ensemble (that invited him to Tuva); Kongar-ool Ondar; the Tuvan National Orchestra; Hazmat Modine; Garth Stevenson; Annie Lynch; and Ugulza, Andrey Mongush and Mayya Dupchuur.
“This film is a great demonstration of how artists from very different cultures can come together and find commonalities,” said Anita DeAngelis, director of Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at ETSU. “It’s really a beautiful exchange, and it also I think gives us some insights to a part of the world that most of us will never get to visit and most of us have never heard of.”
“We filmed ‘SHU-DE!’ to be sort of an ‘opera-mentary,’” said Faulkner. “Cinematographer Trey Hudson and I set out to make a documentary that a viewer could live in and experience as if present at the actual moments of filming.”
The ETSU screening is free and open to the public and will be followed by a Q&A and reception with Faulkner.