Shodekeh ready to conquer Carnegie Hall

COFAC’s Innovator-in-Residence will perform at the legendary theater this weekend

By Roy Henry and Kyle Hobstetter on December 6, 2021

Dominic Shodekeh Talifero is ready to make history.

Known by the stage name, Shodekeh, he will debut his compositional piece as he joins Sō Percussion on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Saturday, December 11. Shodekeh will be the first professional breath artist and beatboxer to present a compositional work at the legendary stage.

Shodekeh admits that he’s spent the early parts of this week with a case of the nervous butterflies. But as he continues his work as the College of Fine Arts and Communications’ Innovator-in-Residence, he’s ready to showcase his work to the world.

“Working at TU has been a fantastic, whirlwind experience,” Shodekeh says.  “Perfect example, I led two guest lectures entitled Vodality Theory for two sections of Teresa Spencer's Speech & Dialect course taught in the Towson University Department of Theatre Arts, & my presentation focused on the eleven years of scientific, curatorial & performance-based research that inspired my composition "Vodalities: Paradigms of Consciousness for the Human Voice", which will have its world premiere at Carnegie Hall.

“It’s absolutely vital that I seek out opportunities that allow me to better understand how I even arrived at such a milestone, by teaching & sharing my journey with our students.”

This is not the first milestone that Shodekeh has achieved this year. Earlier this year, he became the first hip-hop artist in Maryland to have an archive of his work, which can be found at Towson University’s Albert S. Cook Library.

Read More: Shodekeh is ready to share his voice

Titled Ideations of Potential: Shodekeh's Innovation Lab of Embodied Scholarship & Hip Hop Imagination, the collection launched April 5, and serves as a capstone project for Talifero as COFAC’s innovator-in-residence.

With this living archive, Shodekeh is hoping to use this for more than just a way to document my past and present endeavors as a musical artist. He hopes it helps maximize the archive as an unprecedented “lifelong learning and innovation fellowship of extensive research and continued educations."

“The archive is taking shape not just for myself, but for other collaborators, archivists and students as well,” Shodekeh says.  “I now have a sustained platform from which I can imagine a world of possibilities beyond my own generation & limited time here on Earth.”

And with his Carnegie Hall debut right around the corner, he just remembers his time as a kid, attending Cooper Lane Elementary in Landover Hills, Md. He actually contacted the school to see if he could share his story with the students.

As he looks back at his childhood experiences, he admits that no one from his old neighborhood would have predicted what the future would hold for him—not even himself.

“I'm still processing and seeking to understand where I found the strength, intelligence and imagination to be so consistently defiant in the face of such institutional, cultural and familial obstacles, but I'm certainly grateful that it came naturally to me on some level,” Shodekeh says.