Monthly Archives: January 2014

Awards: Mutle Mothibe

Mutle Mothibe’s ‘Mutle Meets Justin’ has been nominated for a Perfect Poem Award.

 

What would you say makes up a “Perfect Poem”?
According to me, the perfect poem is judged by looking at both the execution of content and the performance of the piece in such a way that the audience both resonates and understands the work. The goosebumps and tears are my confirmation in most times.

How do you feel about having your poem being nominated for such an award?
I feel honoured that people see the efforts I put in my work. I am excited about the idea that people actually enjoy my alien work than I am about the award. The fact that I’ve been chosen means someone resonates with it.

Tell us about your poem. What was the inspiration behind it? How was it received by the audience? What did you want us to take away from the piece?
The poem was inspired by the struggles I went through as an artist and I wanted to write a motivational letter to myself. I wanted to insure that Mutle does not quit, and that he must continue working hard through the toughest of times.

The audience loved the poem, it showed me how global the message is and that almost all the artists I know resonate with the struggles. I hope people can refer to my work when they feel a sense of distrust in art. Art can be quite testing.

Who would you say is in the best position to judge this category?
I think the audience is in the best position to judge this category; they were the spectators and the ones at the receiving end of my work.

Awards: Rennie Alexander

Rennie Alexander’s ‘The Rains of Modjadji” has been nominated for a Perfect Poem Award.

What would you say makes up a “Perfect Poem”?
A perfect poem would only depend on the scale you are using to measure the poems with. In this regard according to how poems are judged on the Word n Sound stage, the scales would be writing capability and performance. If a poet executes both very well then that would be considered a perfect poem.

How do you feel about having your poem being nominated for such an award?
I feel humbled.

Tell us about your poem. What was the inspiration behind it? How was it received by the audience? What did you want us to take away from the piece?
The Rains of Modjadji is a poem about African myths interpreted in a modern society. The poem scales down ignorance to old customs that ruled black culture. This poem is a reminder, an inspiration for Africans to reconnect with their traditions and cultures through recognising their past. It was received well (I believe), the responses have been incredible. I wanted to show the audience the world through my eyes with the poem, even if it was for three and a half minutes.

Who would you say is in the best position to judge this category?
It would be great if it were established South African Poets.

Amongst the nominees, which poem would you say is the “Perfect Poem” (besides your own of course)?
None of the above according to my scales.

Awards: Lucas Serei aka Pilgrim

MVT_9793Photographer: Morne van Tonder

Lucas Serei aka Pilgrim, earned himself a much-deserved spot in the 2013 Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League Top 5. He is nominated for a Best Newcomer Award.

What has been your biggest learning curve in the competition with regards to your writing or performances?
My biggest learning curve from the Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry League experience is that poetry is viewed differently in different environments. I got to learn that my writing style needed to change in order to accommodate my true identity. I have also discovered that my performance still needs some form of modification and also to find better mediums to present my poetry, as poetry evolves every day.

If you could change anything about the slam what would it be?
I think the judging system should be changed. Poetry is subjective; perhaps include someone in the judging panel who is not familiar with one of the performers on a personal level so as to reduce biasness.

What about your poetry do you think sets you apart from the next poet?
My poems define me as a person. I don’t talk a lot but if you want to know parts of me that are hidden and how I live my life, you will find them in my poems. My poems are my true experiences. I don’t write a lot of fiction anymore which also clearly proves the reflection of my life in my poems. Looking at, for instance, the last poem I performed at the Festival, it revealed a lot about me on a deeper personal level.


What does the Best Newcomer Nomination mean to you?
I had a goal to achieve and it was that people should hear about my story and if I win, it will mean people heard and could relate to my experiences.

Should you win the Best Newcomer Title, do you think it will place more
or lesser pressure on you to do well in this year’s Open Mic Poetry
League?
Winning, according to me, will place less pressure on me. I don’t like pressuring my poems or anything because I believe it taints the quality of my work. I don’t like forcing poetry because of an important accolade or social status but that doesn’t mean I won’t be consistent and work to evolve my work.


Who were your three favourite poets of 2013 and why?
No Life, Kagiso Tshepe and Roach. I think their poetry is beautifully written. I can’t take that away from them, and they also deserve winning something for their hard work and persistence.

Awards: Apiwe Mjambane

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“My poems tell everyday stories in the most childhood reminding manner. I love simplicity.” – Apiwe

Apiwe has been nominated for a Newcomer of the Year Award.

What has been your biggest learning curve in the competition with regards to your  writing or performances?
Before anything, my greatest obstacle was having to put a perfectly imagined and well illustrated concept into written form. And not just your typical story telling, it needed to be in the form of spoken word poetry. I consider myself as the queen of wordblock… nothing ever comes to mind when I need it most. However, with regards to all my previous performances on stage, I have mostly worked with luck, strusbob! A whole lot of luck. I am an easily distracted person. None of my poems have ever been ready to be executed no matter how hard I have practiced. Generally, I think poems have inconsistent personalities of their own. One can never be too sure as to whether a particular piece is ready to be publicly exposed, because poems are delicate and they cannot be forced into practice. I have grown though, Word N Sound is a great disciplinarian… all I need to do now is to be more confident in my delivery. I want the audience to believe in my story telling.

If you could change anything about the slam what would it be?
With a magic wand? I would most likely add to the audience a people who will show more appreciation towards poetry that is not political and aggressive. We should also recognise artists who have a thing for flowers.

What about your poetry do you think sets you apart from the next poet?
Generally, I have a squeaky voice that annoys people…that should set me apart lol. On the real though, I am on a journey to myself… I will probably stop writing when I have arrived. I am yet to write poems that will remind you of another artist and you will be so bored with me. But I believe it is all part of developing as an artist. Though I must say, my poems tell everyday stories in the most childhood reminding manner. I love simplicity.

What does the Best Newcomer Nomination mean to you?
I am honoured really. I do not have enough words to express my gratitude. It was not an easy year for me in terms of writing. The way I had to undergo plastic surgery a couple of times just to write the perfect poem, you have no idea. Thank you for recognising my work.

Should you win the Best Newcomer Title, do you think it will place more or lesser pressure on you to do well in this year’s Open Mic Poetry League?
Whether I win or not, I think I still have the responsibility to
keep up with the standard that I have set up for myself.  Of course it would be great to receive this award but regardless of the outcome I know ukuthi ngizobane swekile manje because I am no longer writing for myself anymore. I have an appreciating audience to appease.

Who were your three favourite poets of 2013 and why?
Kahle kahke Bonga is my favourite poet… but ke we didn’t see much of him  last year. So I’m going for Xongi, she invested a lot  in her craft during the cause of the year.  Mandi, because she is consistent and also because I want to be like her when I grow up.  Lastly it would be rude to not mention Elysuim Garcia…lets just say “you don’t know what it takes for a broken poet to pick up a pen again”

Awards: Xongani Maluleka

We first saw Xongani Maluleka on the Next Generation stage where Xavi Black convinced her to join the main slam stage and boy are we glad he did. She has been nominated for a Newcomer of the Year Award.

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What has been your biggest learning curve in the competition with regards to your  writing or performances?
I have learnt that originality is very important thus taking up traits of our idols is a risky and almost an unconscious act. I have learnt to be consistent with my style of writing and performance. It is of the utmost importance that I grow but still maintain a strong sense of originality.

If you could change anything about the slam what would it be?

Personally I would not change anything about the slam. The show keeps me on my toes, requires me to work hard and pushes me to look beyond my gender because im put on an equal platform as male poets. The rules are simple and the competition is healthy.

 

What about your poetry do you think sets you apart from the next poet?

My poetry is unique in such a way that I strive to tell the truth as it is. I speak about social subjects that are usually ignored. I have never been one to sugar coat or sweep reality under the rug.

 

What does the Best Newcomer Nomination mean to you?

It means growth, development, uniqueness. The nomination also means that my work is recognised and appreciated. I feel that I am doing something significant that leaves an impression on people.

 

Should you win the Best Newcomer Title, do you think it will place more or lesser pressure on you to do well in this year’s Open Mic Poetry League?

I wouldn’t say that it will put more pressure on me but, it will encourage me to do better. As artists we place our own standards sometimes without intention, we raise bars that we must continue to escalate, this award is also one of the bars one should strive to never come down from, but should improve upon.

 

Who were your three favourite poets of 2013 and why?

Kagiso Tshepe (Elysium Garcia): I had never met him before; I had never heard anyone express themselves with such great precision. It truly sounded like he is curving a marble statue with extreme carefulness and turns out extremely amazing. He made me cry with his ‘Church of Assholery’ piece. He made me realise that it is ok to be broken.

Vuyelwa Maluleke: what drew my attention to her at first is that she is Hot! She inspires me to write for women and about women. Her poem ‘Big School’ sits very close to my heart because I’ve always had issues with the pronunciation of my name, and I am glad that she told my story.

Xavi Black: I know he is not a poet but he made me become my own favourite poet. He introduced me to the WNS Slam and platform. At first I thought he was crazy, but he saw potential in me and I am grateful that he encouraged me to take part in the slam.

Guest DJ: truejOnes

Our first show of the year kicks off with quite a bang. Not only are we featuring our Open Mic Champ alongside one of Scotland’s best performers but we also have the 2nd Annual Word N Sound Awards…and a guest DJ. We caught up with truejOnes ahead of his set at Word N Sound tomorrow…

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What is the best song to start the day with?
The song I start my day off with is usually the one I wake up singing, and this often changes. Today I woke up singing The Temptations rendition of the song Message From A Black Man, its a 70 classic, which became one of the sounds that defined the black panther movement.

What is the one line that hits you hardest?
“no matter how hard you try you can’t stop me now”

So you’re playing at this Saturday’s gig. Why did you agree to play a poetry gig?
Poetry and music have been married from the time of the Griot. Poetry for a while had lost its fire for me because it became a tad too predictable. I am currently on a search for my history through music and this is taking me down roads that have rekindled a love for the spoken word . The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, Amiri Baraka, and Camille Yarbrough to mention a few come to mind. These Africans in America influence your Don Matera, Molefe Pheto and a host of South African poets. So to answer your question I agreed because its part of my quest and the discoveries are useless unless shared. dig?

And who or what are your influences when it comes to music
” This is a black music revolution ” I am influenced by musicians who as Baraka put it; are not abstracted from their communities needs, aspirations and common cause. This usually means I dig into a lot of music from the 60’s-early to mid 90s. From Fela to Diggable Planets.

My parents were a primary and grand influence. Pop played Miles and Mama played Nina.

You aren’t just a Dj, I’ve heard you call yourself a creative monster. What else do you do?
I create art with a pencil and paint brush, a camera and chisel , words and so on. Essentially I take a creative approach to everything. Like how an accountant always looks at the numbers of any project, I find the creative perspective.

Working on anything interesting? I heard about a project with musical genius Daniel Nubian?
Ssshhhh, I can’t give away too much but I can say that Daniel Nubian is a genius who has allowed me to share my love of African music . The collaboration project basically takes Afrogrooves and makes them modern dance floor relative without losing their substance.

So what can we expect from you on Saturday and what are you expecting from WNS?
From WNS I have no expectations. I would be honored to be met by open minds and ears. From me, well one should expect black history, love and passion wrapped in rhythm and beat. Jams to make your souls move.

Sounds awesome Lastly, what song should the Word N Sound massive listen to right now
The song I woke up to mentioned earlier.

…and the nominees are…

The 2nd annual Word N Sound Awards are on their way and we need your help to honour those who have worked hard and stood out in 2013. The Word N Sound Committee shortlisted our Top 10 showcase and opened it up to the public to hear who they thought most deserving.

Showcase of the Year Nominees

  • Conelius Jones
  • Inaudible
  • Andrew Manyika
  • Afurakan
  • Rennie Alexander
  • Modise Sekgothe
  • Mutle Mothibe
  • Mpho Khosi
  • Megan Godsell
  • Vuyelwa Maluleke

Showcase

Now there is nothing like hearing a poet for the first time and being utter blown away. The Best Newcomer of the Year seeks to pay respect to poets who were new to the Open Mic Poetry League in 2013.

Best Newcomer of the Year Nominees

  • Apiwe Mjambane
  • Kagiso Tshepe aka Elysium Garcia
  • Lucas Serei aka Pilgrim
  • Mapule Mohulatsi
  • Xongani Maluleka

Newcomer

The search for the perfect poem will never end. And if you are a regular at Word N Sound you’d know there isn’t just one poem that comes pretty close to perfect. We’ve been moved by some masterpieces on our stages in 2013 and now its time to give props where props is due.

Perfect Poem Award Nominees

  • Big School – Vuyelwa Maluleke
  • The Rains of Modjadji – Rennie Alexander
  • Justin Meets Mutle – Mutle Mothibe
  • Manufacturing Kings – Elysium Garcia

Perfect-Poem
Join us at the Market Theatre Laboratory this Saturday as we honour a extraordinary league of writers and announce the winners of the 2nd Annual Word N Sound Awards.

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Profile: Rachel McCrum

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Rachel landed in Edinburgh in the spring of 2010. Originally from a small seaside town called Donaghadee in Northern Ireland, she has lived in Oxford, New Zealand, Belfast and Manchester, and found writing, poetry and literature to be the one constant in a number of careers veering from park ranger to management consultant. In Edinburgh, she joined the Inky Fingers Collective, then operating out of the Forest Cafe in Bristo Place, and a love affair with spoken word was quickly embarked on.

In 2012, Rachel was a finalist in the National Scottish Slam Finals (part of Aye Write! Festival, Glasgow), the BBC Edinburgh Festival Slam, and winner of the International Woman’s Day Slam. She has since performed at Latitude Festival 2013, StAnza 2013, Wickerman Festival, Neu Reekie at Noir! Summerhall, The Golden Hour, Speakeasy with Jo Caulfield, and as part of the ‘Hello Poetry!’ tour. She has headlined nights at One Night In Rio and Fail Better! in Glasgow, and has shared stages with Liz Lochead, Carol Ann Duffy, Josie Long and Phil Jupitus.

Her first pamphlet, ‘The Glassblower Dances’ was published in July 2012 by Stewed Rhubarb Press. A subsequent reviews in the Scottish Review of Books noted her writing ‘moves easily and intelligently between performance and page, as she combines the linear and leisurely flow of the performer with the feel for structure and pattern of a page poet, and a complexity of thought which does credit to both’.

In May 2013, it was announced that her pamphlet had been awarded the 2013 Callum MacDonald Award from the National Library of Scotland. As a result of this, she spent two weeks in Nafplio, Greece as the Michael Marks Poet in Residence at the Harvard Centre for Hellenic Studies.

With Inky Fingers, the Edinburgh based spoken word collective, Rachel has organised writing and performance workshops including ‘They Shoot Writers, Don’t They?’ (a 36 hour writing marathon in August 2011), Poetry Takeaway with the Scottish Poetry Library, an all day zine workshop for National Flash Fiction Day, and ‘CallooCallay! A city wide literary scavenger hunt’ with the Scottish Book Trust for the inaugural Book Week Scotland. She is currently working with Age Scotland on behalf of Inky Fingers to co ordinate the 2013 Luminate Festival Slam.

She has worked widely as a judge for poetry slams and writing competitions, including the BBC Edinburgh Festival Slam 2011, the Luminate! Slam 2012 for Age Scotland, and the Craigmillar Creative Writing Competition 2012.

Rachel runs workshops in performance technique, focussing on working through nervousness for first time performers, and developing physical and preparation skills for performing and hosting events. She has worked with students from the Edinburgh University Literature Society, MidLothian Libraries, and pupils from Tollcross Primary School.

She also works as project manager to intiate and co ordinate development in spoken word activity amongst community writing groups in East and Mid Lothian.

When she’s not running around lunatic promoting and performing with spoken word in Scotland, she likes dark chocolate, red wine and roll up cigarettes. And once upon a time, she went sailing.

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‘I was born for this’ – Mandi

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Mandi Poefficient Vundla set a Word N Sound record when she successfully defended her Open Mic Champion title at last year’s Word N Sound International Youth Poetry + Live Music Festival.

Tell us more about this year’s slam. Why did you decide to defend your title, was it harder than last year and who was your toughest competition?
Well…Word N Sound said I couldn’t just walk out on my title, so I actually blame you for my win. Last’s year’s slam was tougher, points went back to zero, it was anyone’s game. Elysium Garcia made me restless though. Winning was affirming though. I was born for this!

Name 3 elements you’ve added or subtracted from you poetry when comparing how you used to write 3 years ago and now.
Things I’ve added: My own voice and a dose of self belief .
Things I’ve removed: Long poems

How many books did you read in 2013 (guestimate) and of those books which one made the most impact on you?
It’s more like how many books have I left unfinished! #Hides The Alchemist though spoke to me, I read it at the right time in my life. I am on track

How do you choose the subject matter you write on?
I write about unsettling issues

What inspires your fashion sense?
Colour.

Mandi2Photographer: Morne Van Tonder

Name 3 of your all time favourite poems\ Poetry performances?
Whoa! What a tough question! 😦 Only 3! Hmmm…

  • Andrea Gibson – Ashes
  • Mpho Khosi – Nkosi Skelela I-Africa
  • Jasmine Mans – Roses-Little Girls

You’ve traveled quite a bit and got to be on the Poetry Africa stage as a performer…what were the highlights of that festival?
A Godly band called Insurrections. The boat ride on day 1 so we could break the ice. Chilling with the poets after the evening shows and the conversations we had. My performance night, I’ve never felt closer to God than I did on that stage that night. That is my best performance to date.

Name your pre performance rituals? (things you’ve found you do mostly before performing whether before leaving home or before getting on stage)
I sit in silence, then I give thanks for the stage, the art-form and the audience. It is in that moment that I am reminded I’m blessed. I always recite a gratitude prayer. Then I breathe, to silence the nerves and I literally zone out of my surroundings until i hear my name.

What are your thoughts on competitive poetry slams and how some poets feel that it sidelines some performers?
I’m tired of that “what about us/me self pity”! IF YOU WANT TO SLAM, SIGN UP ON THE OPEN MIC AND SLAM! It’s a public domain available to those who arrive early at Word N Sound. If you seek non-competitive poetry platforms, there are stages for you to sign up, just do it!

I feel as though people want to perform but they are too proud to be on an open mic stage. They want to receive a personal invite, yet we’ve never seen you strut your stuff anywhere. Most poetry session commence with an open mic. Use the open mic, you never know whose watching!!

PS: If it wasn’t for the OPEN MIC, no one would know my work!

You find a bottle containing a poetry genie and he grants you 3 wishes …
1 – I need more wishes!
2 – I need acres and acres of land, to build an arts center with all the facilities, we need to be productive.
3 – I’d like to own a broadcasting station, make it happen!

What is one thing you’d change about the current state of poetry?
I’d create main stream platforms just for POETRY and we’d explore various ways of making the truth entertaining.

What is one thing you’d want to instantly perfect in your own abilities as a performer/writer?
I have so many concepts I’d love to incorporate in my performances. I need to write more incredible poems in a shorter space of time. These poems take too long to complete.

What is the one thing you wish all up and coming poets could do or understand when it comes to the art of spoken word?
Respect the art. The poet is not bigger than the poem!

Looking at the Mandi you are now in the poetry circles and looking back at the poet you were when you started out…if you were to meet that past self today, what would you say to her?
Had you been this focused from the get go, it would have taken you 2 years not 3 to be where you are today!!! 🙂

Mandi1Photographer: Philani Hadebe

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