Word N Sound in partnership with British Council Connect ZA is proud to present Chris Redmond’s “Tongue Fu”; a UK based spoken word & live music experience that has taken the international scene by storm.


Poetry, but not as you know it…amazingThe Guardian UK

Dubbed one of London’s liveliest and best attended spoken word experiences, Tongue Fu is a riotous experiment in live literature, music, film and improvisation; frequently surprising, sometimes hilarious, often poignant and always unrehearsed.

From 28 February to 4 March 2014 in partnership with Word N Sound Poetry Series and British Council Connect ZA, Tongue Fu will be making its debut on African shores with a 3-city tour namely Johannesburg, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

“We are excited about hosting this ground breaking poetry format and look forward to seeing how it will work with a mix of poets from 3 countries including the UK, Australia and South Africa” says Qhakaza Mthembu the Managing Director of the Word N Sound Company.

The Tongue Fu South Africa Tour will kick off in Johannesburg on 28 February with an interactive workshop focusing on new literature formats, audience development and the monetization of literature and spoken word. March 1st 2014 will see the first live event take place at the Word N Sound Poetry Series held at the Market Theatre Laboratory in Newtown.

Featured poets will include Chris Redmond (UK), Australian Slam Champion Luka Lesson, South African spoken word pioneer Mutle Mothibe; and 2-time Word N Sound Award Nominee Vuyelwa Maluleke. The performers will be supported by Arthur Lea (keyboard), Lerato Lichaba (guitar), Ross Ramsunder (Drums) and Thembinkosi Mavimbela (Double bass).

A digital photography exhibition by New York photographer Mike Schreiber will also make its debut at the event. The exhibition will showcase Mike’s most famous works including portraits of legendary Hip Hop artists.

Tongue Fu will the move on to Stellenbosch, where it will be hosted in partnership with the Stellenbosch Literary Project and will be held on 2 March, featuring a band comprised of keyboardist Arthur Lea (UK), bassist Joshua Prinsloo; drummer James Lombard; and lead guitarist Craig Victor. The featured poets will include Jitsvinger, Thabiso Nkoana  and  Khadija Heeger.

The Tongue Fu South Africa Tour will end off with a workshop and performance in Cape Town in partnership with Poetica At Open Book Festival curated by Capetonian literary wunderkind Toni Stuart. The event will be held at “Straight, No Chaser” formerly known as Mahogony Room on 4 March from 8pm. Featured Artists will include Shane Cooper,  Malika Ndlovu (a regular at international poetry festivals ), Tanneman Gam (Jethrow Louw), Koleka Putuma.

The tour is aimed at gaining a wider audience for Tongue Fu while creating collaboration and information sharing opportunities for poets in South Africa and the UK through the workshops and performances.

“We have been working with Word N Sound Poetry & Live Music Series (Johannesburg), Poetica at Open Book Festival (Cape Town) and InZync Poetry Organisation (Stellenbosch) to help develop a network of South African based poetry organisations to create a national circuit that can benefit both local and international poets and the Tongue Fu Tour is another exciting example of how we are achieving these aims” continues Tom Porter _ Head Of Arts at the British Council South Africa.

Event Dates

1 March 2014
Time: 12pm
Venue: Market Theatre Laboratory, 3 President Street, Newtown
Admission: R50

Sunday 2 March
Time: 3:30pm for 4pm
Venue:  Amazink
Admission: R20
NB: Free shuttles from BA building to Amazink and back

Cape Town
Tues March 4,
Time: 8 – 11pm
Venue: Straight, No Chaser (79 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town)
Admission: R30

About The Featured Artists

Chris Redmond (UK)
Chris Redmond is a writer, performer and musician. His spoken word has been featured on BBC Radio OneBBC Radio FourXFM and Sky Arts. He’s performed at London’s Southbank, Koko, Shepherds Bush Empire (with Tom Baxter), Soho Theatre (with Ben Okri), London Word Festival, Bristol Poetry Festival, Bridport Poetry Festival, Kosmpopolis literature festival in Barcelona, and music festivals; Latitude, Glastonbury, The Big Chill and Bestival.

Luka Lesson (Australia)
Luke Haralampou, aka Luka Lesson, is a spoken word and Hip-hop artist of Greek heritage from Australia. With two years of international touring, 11 Writers’ Festivals, 7 years of workshop experience and almost ten years of writing under his belt, Luka has written commissions and performed for the likes of The Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe (NYC), The National Gallery of Victoria, Trinity International Hip-hop Festival, Greece’s pioneer Hip-hop group ‘Active Member’ and China’s most celebrated living poet Xi Chuan in Beijing. He is also the Australian Poetry Slam champion of 2011 and Melbourne Overload Poetry Festival slam champion of 2010.

Mutle Mothibe
Mutle Mothibe is widely acknowledged as one of the pioneering artists of the current generation of South African spoken word. He is a founding member of the group Inaudible which released the acclaimed album “Definition”; as well as Brake Seshions which produced the play “Estar”. In his own right, this multi-faceted author has released the album “In_Sense” and has performed on most major poetry stages in South Africa and has performed in Cardiff, Scotland. 2014 will see his star continue to rise with shows in North-America being planned.

Vuyelwa Maluleke
Vuyelwa Maluleke is a Johannesburg based playwright, poet and performer. She is one half of the group “Purple Jupiter” with whom she has written and performed such riveting poems as “17 seconds”. To paraphrase Vuyelwa herself, at the core of her work are issues that affect women, and she wishes to use her poetry as a medium to tell their stories. She has twice been a member of the Word N Sound top10, as well as being a two time Word N Sound Award nominee; and her eclectic mix of passion and poise will be sure to captivate her audience.

Born Quintin Goliath, Jitsvinger is one of the fastest rising Cape Afrikaans Hip-hop artists. He derives his stage name from Afrikaans and Kaaps. Initially rapping in English he decided on Afrikaans as the language to express himself in terms if music. He released his debut album “Skeletsleutel” in 2006, and has subsequently collaborated with Swiss-based producer Loris Ramondi, and has toured extensively in Holland with the popular theatre production Afrikaaps.

Thabiso Nkoana
Thabiso Nkoana, occassionally known as Little Winter, Smalls or Thabs grew up in Diepkloof, Soweto.  He has been writing poetry since high school and started performing at poetry sessions in and around Gauteng; Horror Cafe, Xara Books, Es’kiaMphahlela Library, TsaAfrika, to name but a few. He describes his style as confrontational, uncomplicated and lyrical street poetry.

Khadija Heeger
Born in Hanover Park on the Cape Flats, she has a keen interest in history and its’ interpretations through art. With interests ranging from video production, performance to writing, she is a firm believer in the power of words. As an original member of the “And the Word was Woman” ensemble, she’s performed at events that include the Cape Town Festival, Mother City Book Festival and Parliament.

Arthur Lea
Arthur Lea has been hammering honky tonks since his hands could first reach the keys. He sings a retro brand of rhythm n blues, irregular riffs, and southern soul. In and out of London with his own music and other bands, he gigs greatly, writes constantly, promotes events, records, produces, teaches, and generally likes to play. As an integral part of Tongue Fu since 2008, this eclectic musician and improviser provides the soundtrack to the mosaic that is Tongue Fu.

Malika Ndlovu,
Durban born poet Malika Ndlovu is a poet, playwright and arts project manager writer who has performed in stages both local and abroad, going as far afield as Austria, Holland, USA and the Phillipines. She enjoys collaborative work and has been published in a number of local and international journals. Her motto is “healing through creativity” and it is this philosophy that her work seeks to be in line with.

Tanneman Gam (Jethrow Louw),
Born on the banks of the Leeu_Gamka river in the Karoo, Tanneman Gam is a storyteller; poet, indeginous music improviser, crafter, activist, community worker and tour guide. He composes his work in English, Afrikaans and Afrikaaps (Cape vlats creole). He is a facilitator of workshops, and as a performer often performs with Jitsvinger and is part of the award winning cast of Afrikaaps.

Koleka Putuma
Born in P.E., Koleka is Cape-Town based and is a performer and a theatre-maker. She’s a facilitator who shares her skill, hosting writing and dialogue workshops at schools, community projects and interfaith programmes in and around Cape Town. She is a resident poet of Lingua Franca and has some of her work featured on the Badilisha Poetry X-change. Her writing, serves the purpose of questioning the status quo.

Mike Schreiber
Mike Schreiber is a self-taught New York Photographer with a degree in anthropology from the University of Connecticut. His work has been featured in Esquire Magazine, Rolling Stone, TACE, VIBE and XXL. He’s also shot ad campaigns for Mountain Dew and AND-1. His work captures variety of subjects with a humanistic approach to life reflected in his mostly black and white gallery. He has had solo shows in New York London, Miami and Atlanta.

About Word N Sound
Word N Sound Poetry and Music Series
is a platform for the expression of spoken word, not so much a commercial venture as an attempt to make a positive impact on youth in the city.

In South Africa, a country with such a low literacy rate, spoken word encourages curiosity and exposes people to literature in English from a range of cultures around the world. Writing is central to every profession so this is a key skill across all sectors. The Word N Sound platforms bring together older practitioners of literature – elders of 40 years and older – with young people in their teens and early twenties, to encourage and inspire them and to give them a sense of the trajectory of a literary career.

The project has been active since 2010 and has quickly gained a reputation as the most credible and challenging spoken word platform in South Africa. Please visit our blog to review our history, projects and activities.

About Connect ZA
Connect ZA is a major new series of cultural exchanges between the UK and South Africa marking 2014 as a celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa. From 2013 to 2015, the programme will support cultural connections between young people aged 18-35 in the UK and South Africa with series of arts projects and use digital platforms to build creative networks through live music, film, visual art and design.

Projects will range from partnerships with arts festivals and workshops to working with artists, writers, filmmakers and designers. Connect ZA aims to reach new and diverse audiences for the arts and stimulate innovation, whilst forging new collaborations with organisations and individuals on both continents.

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose. For more information, please visit

About Tongue Fu
Created (in 2007) and hosted by poet Chris Redmond (Scroobius Pip’s Beatdown XFM; Pick Of The Week – BBC R4), it is one of the UK’s liveliest and largest spoken word shows: a riotous experiment in live literature, music and improvisation. It is a platform in which a spoken word artist of any description, reads or performs their work, with the backing of a live band as they improvise the music to the performance. The band is asked for music to create a certain mood and the style of recital changes the delivery of the poem. This show is completely interactive, and completely unrehearsed which allows for more spontaneity.

In summer 2013 Tongue Fu picked up 4 and 5 star reviews for their Edinburgh Festival show at the Gilded Balloon. Tongue Fu hosts a regular packed residency at Rich Mix in Shoreditch and hosts other shows at venues including The Southbank, The Roundhouse, The Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room, and the Glastonbury Festival.

The team includes design crew “Creative R&D”; management and agents “Get Involved”; a rotating cohort of musicians, and a rapidly growing roster of spoken word artists of all kinds and lovers of the word.

One thought on “Press Release: POETRY GETS A TONGUE LASHING

  1. Susan morgan says:

    What an impressive line up. I wish I was able to go too.


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