Monthly Archives: September 2013

Interview: Epic The Scriptwriter

Story-telling is prominent in my music and I’ve always acknowledged the importance of audio and visual art. – Epic The Scriptwriter

EPIC
We caught up with Epic The Scriptwriter ahead of his performance at Word N Sound – Season 3 | Episode 8.
1. What was your first thought this morning?
Lol. I’m over this music thing but cant’ let go coz I love it.
2. What is the inspiration/reason behind the name “Epic The Scriptwriter”?
Besides people around me influencing how the name has evolved I’ve always wanted to do film hey, I did two years of it and I always felt my music was more visual then audio. Story-telling is prominent in my music and I’ve always acknowledged the importance of audio and visual art. Oh and I think it sound cool…but you gotta say the whole thing, like ‘A Pimp Named Slickback’ lol
3. Tell us about your latest album. What is it called, who did you work with and what kind of sound have you gone for?
I’ve recently just dropped a mixtape, so this offers me time to play around and restructure this album and may result in a few changes title wise and adding even more songs. The album tho is designed to describe me. not trying to fit in AS a hip hop head anymore or a battle/commercial/underground rapper doing music that feels good to me. One may find it’s created to have more mass appeal than my previous projects; which is true. With this one I’ve decided to not be afraid of change in the industry…embrace it and find a way to still make good music and work for me.
Download the mixtape here.

4. How have you made use of digital platforms to create or distribute your work?
Oh man, since I was a kid based in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape you are not in the media hub, far from it in fact, so it helped people from PTA, Jozi and Cape Town hear and follow my music.
5. What are your thoughts on the digital culture of music? People do not necessarily buy albums anymore, they download tracks and share it with their friends. Is this killing music or helping it spread?
That’s a tricky one neh, I’ve always felt the most you could benefit would be people attending your shows, buying your merchandise and endorsing your name. Album sales are good but it’s better to be heard then not to be.

6. What do you think about the state of hip-hop both locally and internationally?
There’s so much music out there and it’s so much easier to spread it, especially with good financial backing. So what’s happened is, obviously there will be more crap coming out. We then tend to think hip-hop is dying but those still doing it have set other bars and I like where hip-hop is man. It’s the biggest sub culture in the world right now so lets stop complaining about music dying and dig deeper for good music and push that up. SA-wise, same applies, I guess. We still need to find our identity though…few people make it hard for us to come up as ourselves, others are still killing it though.

7. Name your three favourite local (SA) hip-hop artists. What stands out about them?
Oh man…I’m a fan of some of the people I work with hey. I guess I’m exposed to too much of their work. Jbux, Hishaam, Sibu and Onerve but I feel some people out there. On writing I enjoy, ProVerb, Tumi and Zubz, maybe because I grew up listening to them but they very sincere in their music. I respect the guys out there taking it further like AKA, Khuli Chana and Reason…sorry, 3 was hard!

8. What is the greatest hip-hop song of all times and why?
Yoh…how can you…uhm…for me, it would be Stan by Eminem. That’s the scriptwriter side of me.

9. If I wasn’t a hip-hop artist I’d be a…?
Probably go wrap my Psychology major up and do something with that (realistically). But I would love to study film and write songs for people, not rappers, other genres.
10. You’ve recently moved to Johustleburg. How are you settling in and how is this city and its hip-hop scene/culture different to PE/Grahamstown?
It’s big…yall got it big! I still get home sick but I’m really liking Joburg! There’s so much more to do. It is your licence to dream even bigger, prove you can be a big fish in a big pond

Interview: Ian Kamau

Canadian hip-hop artist and poet, Ian Kamau, is back in SA and after he rocked our stage last year, he’s decided to pop in for a visit…and another killer performance tomorrow at Catz Pyjamas.

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1. We had the pleasure of having you in South Africa last year, what have you been up to since?
Since last time, I’ve written a first draft of a book about my first time in Africa in 2007. It is about the identity of a non-African African descendant visiting the continent of Africa. I have also been accepted into a renowned theatre residency in Toronto and plan on moving forward on a project relating to mental health in the black community when I return to Toronto this time. I also have begun to produce new music, no words yet, just soundscapes that will evolve into songs as I get more time to record.
2. How did you feel about the crowd’s reaction to your work at Word n Sound last year?
I didn’t know what to expect last time…I came with both poetry and music and was pleasantly surprised that I was accepted more as a writer than a musician. It felt like the audience was very interested in the words, so I stopped the music. I never know what people will respond to.

3. Did your trip to South Africa influence any of your new work?
My South Africa trip last year greatly influenced me as a person and I expect will influence my work going forward, it influenced the book and a theatre work I’ll be doing soon and of course, the new music I plan on working on over the next year.


4. What did you enjoy most during your last trip to South Africa?
I enjoyed the ability to travel throughout the country from Cape Town to Johannesburg and Pretoria; last time I went through Port Elizabeth, East London, Grahamstown, Bloemfontein, Peitermaritzberg and Durban. I was blessed to be able to travel to so many places in South Africa and meet so many people, some of whom I know count among my friends.

5. With reference to your being here before, what are the challenges you faced when putting together a set for your performances?
The challenge is making something that is adaptable enough that I can tailor it to an audience, my ultimate situation is to have a band so we can change anything at anytime.. maybe one day I’ll draw a big enough crowd to warrant bringing three additional people with me. Because I consider myself both a poet and a musician sometimes it’s hard to know what people want from audience to audience or what combination of things people want. It’s hard to tell but I roll with the punches and ask the audience a lot of questions when I’m unsure, it is a participatory experience performing for people.
6. Which cities in South Africa are you looking at visiting?
This time I’ll be in Jo’burg, Pretoria, Durban, East London and Cape Town. I’ve had inquiries about some other places too..,hopping they pan out as well.
7. Rumour has it you plan on traveling beyond the borders of South Africa during this trip. Where will you be visiting?
I just came from Zimbabwe and after I have a performance in Namibia and will be travelling in Ethiopia, not sure if I’ll be doing a show in Addis Ababa but I will be there for while.


8. How was performing at the Shoko Festival in Zimbabwe?
Shoko was great, I enjoyed being in a new place and meeting new people, I didn’t have any expectations, I just did what I thought made sense and I think it worked out well. I was very happy to be able to be in front of an audience in Zimbabwe.
9. What should people look forward to from Ian Kamau in the near future?
More music, more writing, a book and I would love to bring the theatre piece to South Africa if at all possible and of course I’ll be beginning to release new music from the beginning of next year.
10. What was the last thing you ate?
The last thing I ate was a bowl of bran flakes 🙂

28SEPT

Interview: Vuyelwa Maluleke

“I want to tell black women’s stories that are indicative of where we are, and how we are people too and not just bodies.” – Vuyelwa Maluleke

Vuyelwa

We caught up with writer and performer, Vuyelwa Maluleke, ahead of her performance at the 8th Episode of the Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series.

Will we be seeing Purple Jupiter again?
I would love that too.

How has being a drama student at Wits influenced your poetry?
Well, it is because of Wits that I have the tools for performance. As a trained performer, I find it creates a nuanced enactment of my work. I get to give my work a voice and movement. I am also made aware that what works on the page doesn’t necessarily work on the stage.

Do you think that there are enough female voices in the Joburg poetry scene?
I have a problem with the word female, it defines women as a pair of boobs and an ass. Alas I will always say no there are not enough women but I was told by an older poet I admire that it is better than it was. But it is still not good enough. As long as it is so, our spaces are limited in growth, and any possibility of a meaningful exchange between various experiences of gender in their navigation of race and social justice.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for female spoken word artists?
To be a woman voice in a heterosexual-man’s dominated, organized and male supportive space which legitimizes women’s contribution to spoken words at their discretion.

What kind of change does your work aim to inspire?
I want to tell black women’s stories that are indicative of where we are, and how we are people too and not just bodies.

Name one thing that you absolutely love about being on stage?
The sharing of stories, that is both terrifying and thrilling.

How do you know when its time for new material?
When people know the words to my poems.

Who or what is the reason you decided to become a spoken word artist?
I didn’t decide on spoken word there is not enough money in it as a career path. It has to be in my DNA, I always loved story-telling, I have explored various modes such as dancing, acting, singing. For me spoken word gave me license to create and direct that story myself.

What topic would you like to hear more of in the Joburg poetry scene?
I would like to see the world on our stages, not just one angry poem after another at poetry sessions. We are people who love, fall in love, we are kind. It is of interest to me see us do love and be capable of love in a world that wants us angry.

To all aspirant spoken word artists, how does one know when a poem is ready for the stage?
Watch and read. But you never really know, even at its fifth edit. Just take it there, the best experience comes from failing, and watching people do the same and come back and succeed.

Catch Vuyelwa Maluleke live on the Word N Sound stage on Saturday 28 September at Catz Pyjamas Melville. Doors open at 12pm, show starts at 1pm.

Oh what a weekend!

THU: Shoko Festival – Harare, Zimbabwe | FRI: Word n Sound meets Remi Kanazi – Diepkloof, Soweto | SAT: Word N Sound Presents Next Generation – Melville, Johannesburg

Word N Sound is getting up to some really stuff this weekend so make sure you come through to one of these events…we promise not to disappoint.

THURSDAY
Afurakan and Masai Dabula will be performing in Harare, Zimbabwe at the Shoko Festival Breaking Barriers Poetry Slam 2013. Last year, Afurakan brought the title home. Lets hope the likes of Ian Kamau and Ewok don’t throw Masai off his A-game. How awesome would it be if SA won again.

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FRIDAY
Word n Sound meets Remi Kanazi (Palestinian spoken word artist) at Glen’s Kitchen, Zone 3 Diepkloof. The event is hosted by the Boycott Diverse Sanction in conjunction with YCL(Young communist league)

On REMI KANAZI:
Born 1981) is a Palestinian-American performance poet and human rights activist based in New York City. He is the editor of the anthology of hip hop, poetry and art, Poets for Palestine (2008), and the author of the collection of poetry, Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine (2011). He has toured hundreds of venues across the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
More info: http://www.PoeticInjustice.net

The line up features:
Kagiso Tshepe
Conelius Jones
Vuyelwa Maluleke
Mandi Poefficient
Nomthandazo
Nkosana Mawethu
Aviwe Amazwi Damane
Lirothodi
Remi Kanazi
Ras Themba

Entrance is FREE! There will be an OPEN MIC LIST. Everybody is welcome!

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SATURDAY
We are hosting our last Next Generation of the year and it promises to be rather interesting. Hosted by UJ’s Fore.Word Poetry Society, Nova Masango and Vuyelwa Maluleke, the show will have its regular open mic slots and a discussion and showcases from Mutle Mothibe, Xongani Maluleka and Mawethu & The Utopian Dwellers.

Discussion:
Queer identities and poetry feat: Nokulinda Mkhize (Sangoma), Liberati (Homosexual Campus Organisation UJ) and Activate (Wits’ Homosexuality and Activism Organisation)

Time: 12-5pm
Venue: Kingston pon 4th avenue
Date: 21st of September
Damage: R30 bux

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Follow us on @WordNSound for updates.

…in #WordNSound we trust…