Last update: 11-Dec-2013 10:14 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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Cascadoo brings Canadian spoken word to Trinidad
From August 12–16, the Cascadoo International Festival of Spoken Word took place in various areas of Port-of-Spain. The event was organised by Mtima Solwazi of the Roots (Reflection of Our Oral Tradition) Foundation.
The festival featured both local and international spoken word performers and included workshops (called panchayats by the festival organisers), open mic sessions, and poetry and music concerts.
Many featured performers and workshop facilitators came from Vocal (Voices of Canadian Artists across Latitudes), a group of spoken word poets with Caribbean heritage.
The T&T Guardian spoke with members of Vocal before their performance at Woodford Square on Thursday afternoon. Each member spoke about their workshop and shared their favourite poet and poem. Find out more about Vocal and the poets below.
Anthony Bansfield (The Nth Digri)
Anthony Bansfield is a spoken word poet and performer based in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Bansfield is the founder of the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and his record Tales of the North Coast was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award and a Harry Jerome award. Bansfield has performed in Canada, the Caribbean and the US, edited and contributed to the anthology The Next Step, which focused on writing by Montreal authors of African descent.
Workshop: Spoken Word 101
“There were three main ideas presented at the Spoken Word 101 workshop, which were engaging the audience, fluency and becoming the performer. We spoke about why we write and it’s primarily for the joy and the fulfillment of it. Writing is a re-creation. As a poet you work with things already in creation and try to put them together in a way that people enjoy,” said Bansfield.
He also said he was inspired by the poet Lillian Allen. “I never heard anyone do poetry with beat and rhythm in the Caribbean language before her. I’d read people with that rhythm like Aime Cesaire and Derek Walcott but hadn’t heard them. So hearing Lillian really inspired me because of the energy and the sound and the Caribbean connection.”
My favourite stanza in a poem: “This poem is dreamed in a deep sleep, on the seventh day, holds chaos at bay, swirls like a Carnival mas band at play, this poem has a will so it will find a way.”—from This Poem by Anthony Nth Digri Bansfield
Wendy Motion Brathewaite
Wendy Brathewaite is an award-winning emcee/poet, playwright, screenwriter and hip hop artiste.
She has performed at Manifesto Jamaica, the Urban Music Awards, on CBC Television and HBO Def Poetry Jam. Lauded by Now Magazine as a “multi-talented, truthful artist,” Currently, Motion is playwright-in-residence at Obsidian Theatre Company. Inspired by her work with the legendary Fresh Arts movement, MotionLive continues developing emerging talent in creative spaces such as St Alban’s, AMY Project, Urban Arts and the Caribbean International Literary Festival.
Workshop: Words in Motion
“It was an opportunity for us to explore working with youth and spoken word arts. The workshop included looking at models for engaging youth and how to explore your own creativity and take that to inspire other young people. It was also about building the next generation of writers.”
“I’m inspired by a lot of lyricists from Bob Marley to Nas to poets like Sonia Sanchez who blend their work with music.”
My favourite line or stanza from a poem is “Beware the day. They change their mind. Beware the hour. It uproots trees.”—from Warning by Langston Hughes
Eddy Da Original One David
Eddy Da Original One David is a spoken word poet and beat boxer based in Canada. He has performed across North America and been featured at numerous literary and music events, including ‘When Brothers Speak’ Spoken Word Concert in Toronto, the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, the art/music/poetry series Soul Deep in Montreal, and the ‘2011 Canadian Beat-boxer Championship’ (as a VIP judge). His work has been published and recorded in numerous anthologies and albums.
Workshop: Conquering the Stage
“We talked about how to get over nervousness, stage etiquette, how to be better prepared to present yourself on stage and getting around new media. We also talked about creating a relationship with your audience because it’s a shared experience and at the end of the performance the audience should feel like family.”
“I’m inspired more by storytellers like Paul Keens Douglas and Slick Rick. These two have influenced me the most with their performance style.”
“My favourite stories are from Paul Keens Douglas as ones like Tante at de Oval and Fire de Wuk. I love how he can keep you laughing but is still political and makes social commentary.”
Osei Manchilde Alleyne
Osei Manchilde Alleyneis a spoken word recording artist, rapper and producer. Alleyne is a former member of the group Butta Babees, who were nominated for Best Independent at the 2001 MuchMusic Video Awards. Alleyne has performed alongside and opened for artists such as Common, Yasiin Bey, Jill Scott and Talib Kweli. He is currently working on a solo album.
Workshop: Conquering the Stage
“Defining the spaces where you perform is important conceptually. The space where you perform is not always going to be a stage as a poet as we tend to move in more non-traditional spaces. We have more freedom because we just use our voices but it’s also a challenge to master the changing spaces.”
“Saul Williams impresses me with his career and the way he’s been able to work full time and even work commercially and make a viable living off of poetry. He’s been able to work in ways that I haven’t always had the courage to. I’m also a fan of Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) because he is a hip hop artist with a poetic sensibility.”
My favourite line or stanza from a poem is “I play it cool. And dig all jive. That’s the reason I stay alive. My motto as I live and learn is dig and be dug in return.”— from Motto by Langston Hughes.
Dwayne Morgan is a spoken word poet who has published six books and throughout North American, the Caribbean and Europe. He has received the African Canadian Achievement Award and the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts, and is the winner of 3 Canadian Urban Music Awards. Morgan has performed for the former Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean, and has shared the stage with and opened for artists such as Nelly Furtado, Alicia Keys, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Mutabaruka and Saul Williams.
Workshop: Spoken Word 101
“We really stripped spoken word down to the basics. We looked at naming and labeling. There’s a difference between being a poet and being some who likes to write poems. Just because you like to write doesn’t mean you’re a poet. So we talked a lot about developing a standard for claiming that title.”
“Mutabaruka is my inspiration. He was the first poet I ever saw. I remember seeing him in videos of Reggae Sun Splash that my parents used to watch and it was really interesting. He always moved me.”
My favourite line or stanza from a poem is “Before bed, I turn on my night light to illuminate my thoughts.”—from Afraid of the Dark by Dwayne Morgan.
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