Young people from Trail and beyond will take their creative energy from home to centre stage this weekend in the city’s first Kootenay Cypher.
A cypher refers to a casual gathering where rappers and the music minded share rhythm, rhyme and flow.
“It’s pretty much hanging out and rapping on a beat,” says Matt Sherbinin, a local youth spearheading the event in partnership with the Youth Community Development Centre (YCDC). “There is no judgment and it is open to anyone who wants to come. It’s an open mike kind of a thing.”
Sherbinin,19, is a Trail musician who first began his musical foray as a young boy with a set of drums. Since then, he’s moved away from tapping the skins to using his voice as an instrument.
“Around the age of 13 I started getting into hip hop and my cousin started to rap,” he said. “I thought it was really cool and started free styling with my friends and listening to beats.”
He soon became obsessed with rapping, which is a creative expression of spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics, delivered over a beat or without accompaniment.
A first time stage performance in Nelson four years ago, led Sherbinin to further opportunities in the spotlight with rappers like Snak the Ripper, a well known Vancouver-based artist.
Sherbinin was part of the opening act for Sirreal, a Comox musician that he describes as rap’s “king of the island.”
“That was my very first time doing something like that and getting paid,” said Sherbinin. “It was random but they felt I was good enough.”
Now the Trail rapper is taking his talent one step further by bringing local youth together in the open mike night Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Trail’s KP Hall.
“I want to get all the youth in the community involved because I know there are a lot of young people who love rap just as much as I do,” said Sherbinin. “And they want to show their talent but never really find time to get together.
“So I’ve collaborated with Meagan (Meagan Zunti) from the youth centre and we are going to try to make this a monthly thing.”
The event is open to anyone, however Sherbinin said it may not be suitable for pre-teens.
“It’s probably not the best for young kids but it is friendly to everybody who wants to come. If they feel comfortable and they can rap and maybe take on some free style if they want.
“Or they can just hang out and listen. It’s all good, whatever the person wants to do.”
Kootenay Cypher admission is by donation of choice, which can be a non perishable food item for the local food bank.
YCDC has teamed up with local youth the create a monthly cypher event, says Meagan Zunti, the group’s coordinator. “Our undertaking is to create a venue where young people can move their creative talents from their bedrooms or the You Tube world, out into the community.”
She said the collaboration creates a space for young hip hop artists, spoken word and slam poets, to perform, flow, battle and connect.
“We wouldn’t be able to do this event without the energy of the youth artists creating it,” said Zunti. “And those who provide our space, sound equipment and audience.”
For more information, updates and specific dates, visit the Kootenay Cypher page on Facebook.