High street

Edinburgh's Christmas night with beatboxing musical duo, Jamie MacDowell & Tom Thum

In the past, Edinburgh’s Christmas involved their Christmas and German Markets, the ice skating rinks and other amusement rides. The city is always decorated with strategically placed fairy lights so it feels magical, but this year it seems the city has really outdone itself. For the first time, I was excited about participating in the city’s Christmas fun.

Anthropologie’s Christmas window display

The George Hotel

The Dome’s customary brightly lit pillars

Festivities at St Andrew’s Square

We, the OH and I, usually visited the markets for some festive fun, but this year we knew we couldn’t miss the Tom Thum and Jamie MacDowell show. We’d seen Tom Thum performing at Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 where Jamie had made a brief appearance. None of us in the audience could believe Tom’s beatboxing talent and for some reason, the two of them worked really well together.

If you’ve never come across beatboxing before (I haven’t before our friend invited us to the Fringe show!), basically the artist uses his/her own voice to create all sorts of sounds. Tom Thum uses Chaos Pads to record segments of sounds made with his vocal skills which he then combines together to create impressive music or familiar theme songs.

Warning: the following video contains motion and flashing lights which may not be suitable for everyone.

For one night only in Edinburgh, Jamie MacDowell and Tom Thum performed at the Speigeltent at St Andrew’s Square. Jamie and Tom had already been touring around Europe and a few other destinations for two and a half months and Edinburgh was their last destination before they returned to Australia.

You could tell these two guys had real talent: with their voice, the technology they used and with performing. In the space of about an hour, Tom took us on a journey of sound, where we heard a Jazz performance with Beeping Tom, travelling through Australia 15 thousand years ago, through to the London clubbing scene and a rave club in Berlin, where we then listened to a traditional sitar in India to a pipa (a pear shaped stringed instrument) in China.

Not only that, when Jamie asked for requests from the audience to challenge Tom’s vocal skills, he somehow managed to create sounds to the effect of dolphins doing the dirt and, get this, a Scotsman with his cat riding a horse in the Wild West. Yes, I don’t know how he did it either. The comeraderie between Jamie and Tom kept us, the audience, thoroughly entertained and I couldn’t remember a time when I laughed so hard when watching a live performance (at one point, Jamie sent out his double, Will, without Tom’s knowledge and he got the shock of his life when Will turned around).

If you get the chance to see them live, I would definitely recommend it. You can also purchase their music from Amazon if you like them.

For more information on what’s happening this Christmas in Edinburgh, take a peek at the Edinburgh’s Christmas website.


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