Boomshaka Visits MTV In New York, Performs At Woodie Awards

Alysa Teichman

By Alysa TeichmanThe Daily Northwestern

A video clip on Boomshaka’s Web site attracted attention from a casting director at mtvU, and voila – eight members of the troupe were on their way to New York City within a few days.

The casting directors from MTV’s college network said in an e-mail that the network wanted the Northwestern drum-and-dance troupe to perform for the second annual Woodie Awards, a music awards show that spotlights lesser-known indie bands. The show will air at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Boomshaka performed a piece after the opening act, typing on computer keyboards and drumming on buckets to introduce some of the show’s performers. Although their name likely will not be announced, it will appear during the closing credits, said Communication senior Kevin Brown.

“I don’t want to paint this picture too brightly,” Brown said, referring to the fact that their piece will introduce other performers.

Brown, one of three co-directors of the troupe, arranged the trip with producers at mtvU. Because mtvU’s request was on such short notice, he told the producers that traveling to New York City would not be feasible unless mtvU covered expenses, he said.

“As fun as the trip was, it was quite stressful,” Brown said. The eight members of Boomshaka had only a half hour to write their piece for the show once they arrived.

The performance emulated a rhythm piece titled “Unplugged” that was conceived by Jared Kassebaum and performed at the spring show “This is a Test” in 2004.

The group boarded a plane Tuesday and went straight to the MTV studios, where the members rehearsed their routine for only the second time since they found out they would be performing.

“Everything was such short notice,” said Weinberg sophomore Jeff Krauss, another co-director of Boomshaka. “Even the day of our performance, things were getting changed because they were looking for something more specific.”

Even after MTV footed travel, lodging in Times Square, car service, food and access to the show’s after-party, members of Boomshaka were not sure they would appear on the show.

“We basically felt like we had to impress the producers there if we had to be on the show at all,” Brown said. “We kept showing our material to more and more people to get our name out there.”

Their soundcheck, which happened minutes before the taping of the show, was the network’s final decision to keep Boomshaka in the show.

In addition to airing on mtvU, abbreviated versions of the show will run on MTV and MTV2 later this week.

Reach Alysa Teichman at [email protected]