Category Archives: Events

Are you ready for SA’s toughest slam?

S5Ep1_7FebFB Get excited for your first dose of poetry, as we unveil our newly branded 5th Season of the Word N Sound Poetry League.

Kicking things off in Season 5’s first Episode of the Poetry League is the reigning Queen Of The Mic, Her Majesty, Thando Buthelezi – whose ethnically infused style of writing coupled with her witty word play creates a body of work unique only to her. She will be accompanied by 20 of Jozi’s dopest poets all gunning for her spot on the throne.

Have you got your eye on the Poetry League Champion title? Make sure you arrive early to sign up for SA’s toughest slam.

So join us for what promises to be the hottest poetry premiere of the calendar, as we anticipate more thrills, more spills, more spoils, more props, more poems and more everything. Episode 1 comes as a welcomed reprieve for most poetry lovers who’ve been starved of poetry thus far, so the only question is: are you ready for this year’s Word N Sound Poetry League?

Join us at the Market Theatre Lab in Newtown, doors will open at 12pm, the League kicks off at 1pm. The Queen of the mic showcases at 4pm.

Tickets will be sold for R50 at the door and space is limited.

…in #WordNSound we trust…

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And the Award goes to…

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Glitz! Glam! And… Poetry?! If the guys at the Word N Sound Live Literature Company are to be believed, then there is nothing wrong with this picture. This is the setting for the upcoming Word N Sound Awards, an occasion for the Company to honour the artists who have generously shared of their talents on the Word N Sound stage throughout 2014. The 22nd of November will see many of the poets and audience members descend on the Market Lab in Newtown in a flurry of glitz, glam and (yes) poetry.

The 2014 Word N Sound Awards mark the culmination of a year that saw the company launch the Spoken Freedom Festival and South Africa’s first ever poetry booking agency- Poetic Act; take their production “Slam For Your Life” to the National Arts Festival; and produce the 4th Annual Word N Sound International Youth Poetry Festival (headlined by Buddy Wakefield and Lebo Mashile). Whilst they are showing no signs of slowing down, the Word N Sound Awards provide a much needed light hearted occasion for everyone to let their hair down and take stock of what a rock n’ roll year it’s been.

“We see so many talented people on our stage every year, and 2014 has been no exception. The Award show gives us a chance to thank the artists, the audience and our partners. They’re also an entertaining way for us to collectively take a moment, and recharge for 2015”. Andrew Manyika, Word N Sound Marketing & PR Director.

The Award ceremony features the following categories: Poet of the Year, Best Newcomer, Best Showcase, Open Mic Champion, Perfect Poem and WNS Hounours. Voting for the Best Newcomer and Perfect Poem Awards will be open from 3 – 15 November. All the nominees and voting details will follow so keep your ear to the ground.

 

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Previous winners in each category include:

2012
Poet of the Year: Mandi Poefficient Vundla
Best Newcomer: Kaelow No Life Cords
Best Showcase: KB Kilobyte aka The Spartan
Perfect Poem: KingNova – The House That We Built

WNS Honours: Myesha Jenkins

2013
Poet of the Year: Kaelow NoLIFE Cords
Best Newcomer: Apiwe Mjambane
Best Showcase:  Modise Sekgothe
Perfect Poem: Manufacturing Kings – Elysium Garcia

WNS Honours: Xavi Black

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Poetry Corner to host Francesca Beard (UK) and Msaki

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The Word N Sound Live Literature Company will host UK poet Francesca Beard in Johannesburg during her trip to South Africa. Francesca is in the country for the Open Book Festival in Cape Town UK courtesy of the British Council Connect ZA

She arrives in Joburg on 15 September and will be hosted by our CEO, Thabiso Afurakan Mohare. “Opportunities such as these allow artist from different backgrounds to interact, share knowledge and inspire each other,” says Thabiso.

Francesca will be take part in various activities which include a workshop, performance at Poetry Corner and networking with local poets and artists.

Pre-Festival bumper edition of Poetry Corner
In addition to Francesca Beard, Poetry Corner will also feature Msaki, a performing and visual artist from East London. Her main expression vehicle is folk music with elements of indie rock and progressive jazz. Her appreciation of simple melodies, warm harmonies and afro-rhythms is evident in her live performances.

…But wait, there’s more!
Wednesday 17 October will also see seven of the best poets battle it out in the exhilarating Word N Sound Secret Slam. There’s R1000 up for grabs, come through and see who will take it home.

SECRETSLAM

Poetry Corner
Every Wednesday Night
The Light House on 7th, Melville
7 – 9 pm

Wordsmiths “Speak The Mind” at Arts Alive

Speak the Mind 9 sessions have been part of Arts Alive since 2005, with the objective to create a word class platform for local and international artists, and also to revive the spoken word spirit. Fusing music, hip hop and beats with spoken word, Speak the Mind 9 sessions include workshops, live performances and dialogue sessions. The main organiser/creator of Speak The Mind 9 is neither a poet or performer, but runs one of the longest running spoken word showcases. This year it will be taking place at the Joburg Theatre. Previous years have had the likes of Napo Masheane, Natalie The Floacist Stewart from Floetry fame, Nova Masango, The Muffinz, and Def Poetry performer Shanelle Gabriel, who have graced stages from Bassline, to Arts on Main. The show has now expanded to Cape Town in collaboration with Artscape. Due to popular demand, some artists do return to the stage, and this year there are a few, including American artist Queen Godis. Tumi and DJ Kenzhero on the decks. This year, expect to see:

  • Gratitude Fisher
  • Mandi “Poefficient” Vundla
  • Tumi
  • Soul House Project
  • Lebo Mashile
  • Dr Mongane Wally Serote
  • Josh Meck, from Zimbabwe
  • Jazz P, from Swaziland
  • Queen Godis from the USA
  • Efe Paul Azino from Nigeria
  • Mtuabaruka from Jamaica

Here are some short bios on the artists performing:

Soul Housing Project

SoulHousingProject

Bokani Dyer, Sakhile Moleshe, Eugene”Mr Grooves” Ackerman, Al “Dirt” du Toit and Kissangwa Mbouta make up the Cape Town based band. Founded in 2007 by lead singer Sakhile Moleshe and Bokani, the band has played at the Grand Daddy Hotel and the Fifa World Cup Fan Park, as well as many stages abroad and locally. With jazz, hiphop, dubstep and house music as their influences, Bokani and Sakhile compose the band’s music, and they are currently working on their debut album You can hear them on their SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/soulhousingproject  

Dr Wally Serote

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Dr Wally Serote is an internationally acclaimed South African writer and poet. Known as one of the Soweto poets in the 1970s who resisted the Apartheid regime through their poetry and literature. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Columbia University and ho norary doctorates in Literature from  the Universities of Natal and Transkei. Wally’s bodies of work include essays, poetry and novels, the most recent being his 2013 book titled Rumours.

Efe Paul Azino

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Lagos based Nigerian poet and writer Efe Paul has been in the Naija spoken word circles for over a decade. A self-proclaimed book worm, Efe Paul is regarded as one of Nigeria’s top poets. He has performed on many stages and many audiences, from conferences to churches. He is inspired by the socio-economic and political issues of Nigeria. Here’s a link to one of his poems: http://efepaulspeaks.com/video/

Josh Meck

Josh Meck

Zimbabwean born Josh Meck is a jazz musician. Before relocating to Johannesburg is 2012, Josh performed at concerts and festivals in Harare in Zimababwe, Zambia, Stolkholm in Sweden and Durban in South Africa. The bass guitarist has been in the jazz music industry for well over 10 years, has two albums and says his music has a touch of social commentary. He performed at the Arts Alive’s Jazz on the Lake at Zoo Lake on Sunday, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to share at the spoken word event

Queen Godis

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Born and raised in Brooklyn in the USA, Queen Godis is a singer, poet, and director, and “performance art therapist”. In 2001 she founded Queen Godis University, through which she offers life skills coaching and mentoring, aimed at high school and university students, using poetry. No stranger to the Speak The Mind stage, she has also performed in New York, France, and was part of a Choreo-poem workshop in Trinidad. A link to one of her videos: http://www.reverbnation.com/queengodis  

Jazz P

Maputo based Swati artist Jazz P, is a hip hop and soul singer and lyricist who performs in both siSwati and English. She released an album, In My Heart in 2012, is a founder member of the band The Next Generation, and has performed in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique. A link to one of her songs off her album: https://soundcloud.com/jazz-p/sweet-melody-by-jazz-p

Lebo Mashile

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Poet, producer, presenter, MC, actress, author, and mother Lebo Mashile needs no introduction. She won the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa in 2006, she co-founded ‘Feel-a-sista’ spoken word collective along with Myesha Jenkins and Ntsiki Mazwai, she acted on the Oscar nominated film Hotel Rwanda, presented and co-produced the tv show L’Atitude, published anthologies and even had one translated in Germany … we could go on forever. She currently presents Great Expectations on eTV, a show about pregnancy and parenting. http://www.lyrikline.org/en/poems/love-elastic-4119#.VAe4OPmSxDI

Tumi tumi

Tanzanian born Tumi Molekane South Africa Tumi Molekane, famously known as Tumi from Tumi and the Volume, is a poet/MC. Founder of  Motif Records in 2006, which boasts local artists such as Reason, Ricky Rick, 8 Bars Short, Nova, not forgetting Tumi himself. Tumi has shared the stage with great names in hiphop, including Talib Kweli, and recently has worked with the likes of Zyon of Liquid Deep, L-Tido, Zeus, AKA, the list goes on. In the early 2000s he released an anthology called The Black Inside Out. In recent years Tumi has performed at TEDx Soweto, Poetry Africa as well as Speak the Mind in previous years. Next month he drops his next solo offering, called Rob The Church https://soundcloud.com/motifrecords

Mutabaruka

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Born in Kingston Jamaica in 1952, Allan Mutabaruka is a dub poet who has graced the stage of Speak the Mind and Def Jam a number of times. He came to fame in the 1970s. His poems touch on black history and consciousness, spiritual awareness, imperialism and colonialism. He recently released a double volume of poetry, which consists of his old works, Mutabaruka: the first poems and his more recent works, Mutabaruka: the next poems. Not new to the Speak the Mind Stage, it will be interesting to hear what he has to offer this time around

 

Gratitude Fisher

gratitude fisherSibongile Fisher, also known as Gratitude Fisher, is a poet, writer and actress. She started writing in 2005, and in 2009 joined the UJ Poetry Society. She has shared the stage with poets such as Mysesha Jenkins, Likwid Tongue, and has performed on stages at Bassline, the Soweto Theatre, the Market Theatre Lab to name but a few. https://soundcloud.com/gratitude-fisher/a-poem-for-africa

Mandi Poefficient Vundla

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Mandi exploded onto the spoken word scene in 2011, and hasn’t looked back since. Although she was writing since her teens, destiny revealed itself to her and us in 2011. Mandi has blossomed in front of our eyes. Her pieces are personal, deeply moving, reflective, sometimes introspective, almost like the pages in her diary. Miss Poefficient has  shared the stage with Poetry Legends, performed on the Art Alive and the Jozi Book Fair , and in 2012 crowned Word n Sound’s Queen of the Mic, nominated for a Perfect Poem Award. She is to be one of the youngest poets to grace the international Speak the Mind stage   To miss the rush Click Here to Order Tickets Now

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Vuyelwa Maluleke stars in new play

It feels like a great victory when I witness poets stretching their ability beyond words on stage or feature in theater productions.

Mpapa Simo Majola- Playwright and Poet explains how poets are breaking boundaries by mix­ing theater tech­niques, poetry and music to cre­ate a unique per­for­mance style. “The Funeral is a med­i­ta­tion on the changing and think­ing of traditions around death,” he said.

His one-man play speaks of a man who finds himself loitering in the afterlife trying to find his place, chased by shadows, voices and sounds, as he tries to communicate with the living to tell them where they had gone wrong in conducting his funeral

This masterpiece is co- written by Modise Sekgotle and Simo himself. Choreographed by Lerato Matolodi, performed by Mpapa Simo Majola and directed by Modise Sekgotle who is also no stranger to the spoken word community.

But these 2 spoken word artists are not the only poets making waves in­­­­­­­­­­­­­ the theater scenes. Vuyelwa Maluleke known to the poetry community as Vee, the other half of Purple Jupiter, stars in Eve Enslers latest offering; Emotional Creature, a collection of original monologues which chronicles stories inspired by girls around the globe.

Too often girls must struggle between remaining strong and true to themselves and conforming to society’s expectations in an attempt to please. Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, empower themselves, and follow their dreams.

Emotional Creature had its off-Broadway premier in the United States in 2012 but it’s South African rapper Cassper Nyovest’s song Doc Shebeleza in the opening act that helps to localise the production and remind the audience that the production is now in Mzansi.

This play forms part of the South African leg of V-Girls, a global movement of girl activists inspired by I Am an Emotional Creature. If you’re in Cape Town be sure to catch this jaw breaking show.

Written by the women who shattered taboos with THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, the production is set to run at the Baxter Theater from 6-16 August after a successful run in Johannesburg.

Tickets are only R75.

BE THERE!!

Spoken Freedom Festival Line Up Announced

SpokenFreedomFest
In a rapidly changing socio-economic landscape, art takes the role of noting where we’ve been and, plots the path to where we’re going. Enter: The Spoken Freedom Festival. This Annual Festival is an exciting showcase of the best Spoken Word voices in South Africa, and takes place from the 3rd of July at the Market Theatre.

The Spoken Freedom Festival is first and foremost an exciting showcase. It provides both audiences and artists an opportunity to witness and partake of engaging artwork through the media of words, music and visuals. It’s a chance to collectively look at how far South Africa has come over the past two decades, and to position Spoken Word as a medium to both chronicle and shape the South African journey in the years to come.

This first edition of what will become an annual festival was born out of the shared visions of both the Word N Sound Live Literature Company, which seeks to provide an accessible platform for poets and poetry lovers to engage issues and enjoy art; and the Market Theatre, which provides a space for high quality theatrical productions to be staged and enjoyed.

“We are excited about partnering with the Market Theatre to host this ground-breaking festival. We look forward to seeing Spoken Word take a more prominent role in recording our collective journey as South Africans .” says Qhakaza Mthembu, Festival Director.

The Spoken Freedom Festival will feature screenings of pioneering poetry videos, an open mic slam and of course, performances by some of the leading lights among the spoken word voices in South Africa.

On Thursday 3 July, and Friday doors open at 19:30 with the Thursday shows featuring Conelius Jones, Makhafula Vilakazi & Napo Masheane; and the Friday show having performances by Vuyelwa Maluleke, Natalia Molebatsi and Multe Mothibe.

The weekend shows begin earlier with the Saturday show starting at 14:30 and featuring Andrew Manyika, Richard Quaz Roodt and Vangi Gantsho. The Final show will start at 15:00 and will see Tereska Muishond, Masai Dabula, Mandi Poeffecient Vundla and Modise Sekgothe taking to the stage.

Shows will be interspersed with an Open Mic Slam, Video screenings, and the four-
day programme will be hosted by the crown prince of Johannesburg Spoken Word- Afurakan Mohare.

The Spoken Freedom Festival will run from 3 – 6 July 2014 at the Barney Simon Theatre, Market Theatre Complex, Newtown. All shows cost R50 and the tickets will be available at the theatre’s Box Office.

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1st Annual Spoken Freedom Festival

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The 1st Annual Spoken Freedom Festival is an exciting and energetic showcase of the best youth Spoken Word voices in South Africa.

Through words, music and visuals, the four day experience will capture audiences imaginations with stories of being young woven with the challenges and the victories of living in a free South Africa 20 years of on.

The Spoken Freedom Festival also serves as a vivid snap shot of how Poetry and Spoken Word will shape South Africa in the next 20 years.

The Festival, hosted by Word N Sound Co-Founder, Afurakan Mohare, will run from 3 – 6 July 2014 at the Barney Simon Theatre, Market Theatre Complex, Newtown

Show Times
Thu: 19:30 – 22:00
Fri: 19:30 – 22:00
Sat: 14:30 – 20:30
Sun: 15:00 – 18:00

R50 at the door for each show.

Line up
Napo Masheane
Masai Dabula
Modise Sekgothe
Vuyelwa Maluleka
Quaz Roodt

Keep an eye on this blog, and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for more names announced this week.

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Word N Sound heads to the National Arts Festival

SFYL

We are quite excited to announce our brand new project in partnership with British Council Connect ZA. We will be taking the first ever Slam For Your Life National Poetry Slam to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July.

Slam For Your Life is an innovative and competitive live literature format that is well placed to deliver a positive impact on emerging spoken word poets in South Africa. Through the theme “Life Is What You Write”, SFYL (Slam For Your Life) aims at creating a credible and nationally recognised youth poetry slam, opportunities for professional mentorship and network building through peer to peer interactions.

Four finalists from Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal will then travel to Grahamstown in July 2014 where the finals will be held and a national slam champion will be crowned.

How it works
Four poetry organisers/movements will be asked to nominate three poets from each of their province.
The organisers/movements will include;
• Slam Poetry Operation Team (Durban),
• Stellenbosch Literary Network (Stellenbosch),
• Ntsika Tyatya (Port Elizabeth)
• Word N Sound (Johannesburg).

Poetry videos of the 12 finalists will be promoted online and opened to a public vote. A poet with the most votes, from each city, will then qualify for the national finals.

The top 4 finalists will travel to Grahamstown to take part in a workshop with UK poet, Lemn Sissay. They will then compete in the national finals that will form part of the “Remix Lab” component of the National Arts festival 2014.

Watch this space for more info as Word N Sound and British Council Connect ZA partner up to bring you the first ever Slam For Your Life National Poetry Slam at the 2014 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

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“If It’s Music, We’ll Do It,” says Blaq2sday

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Who are Blaq2sday? When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Blaq2sday is an eclectic band of 5 members from the Vaal, Bophelong. The band was founded in 2011 by Tshitso Makunyane and Mkhulu Tshabalala. They were later joined by Pitso Mofokeng and Molefe sefatsa. To complete the pack, they were joined by Thabo Moralo who started as the group photographer he is now a percussionist in the group.

The inspiration comes from our experiences as artists of different backgrounds but have a common vision of archiving a common goal, which is producing good music all round, for all age groups. So we really don’t have a sound that we box ourselves in. The concept is simple, If It’s Music, We’ll Do It

Who/what has been your biggest musical inspiration?
Above all, it has to be the people’s response to what we do. THAT, is what keeps us going most of the time. Then, the people that support us and help us get things done, like
Bozza. These are people that remind us that we need to work and deliver a quality product, ALL the time.

In terms of creating music, our influences vary from member to member. Because we all bring a different flavor to the band. But we can highlight Motif Records’ Zaki Ibrahim/ Reason/ Tumi, 340ml, Fat Freddie’s Drop, Swedish House Mafia, Khuli Chana, Thandiswa Mazwai, Salif Keita, Tshepo Tshola, Maroon 5, Rasekgantsho (Ntjapedi), Asa and Skrillex just to name a few.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
We write/compose all our songs. Because we were individual artists already before we got together, it makes it easy for Tshitso to compose a tune quick, or either one of the vocalists to write for the tune, or for Thabo to add a lekker drum pattern. So everything we write/ compose ourselves.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Most of the challenges we come across are out of our control; like event organisers and promoters not willing to invest in their events, from marketing to hiring a proper sound system. And of course, not forgetting the special few that see so little value in artists, to a point that paying an artist just makes no sense to them. Anything other than this, that is in our control, is exactly there, under our control. That’s simply because each and every one of us is always willing to stretch an extra mile to get work done.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
The first thing would be understanding how much each member is willing to do, in order to see the band going forward. Secondly, understanding what you want to achieve as a band, why you need to achieve that, and how you’ll achieve that. A band is like a project. Therefore, there needs to be a project management structure, that will see to things being done effectively. Then lastly, the band needs to pull together, in the same direction, to the most of each one’s abilities.

How can fans gain access to your music?
Here are links to our stuff;

Our website: http://www.blaq2sdaysa.co.za
Our iTunes Artist page: https://itunes.apple.com/za/artist/blaq2sday/id873046457?uo=4
Our YouTube account: https://www.youtube.com/user/PrincipleDvine and https://www.youtube.com/user/blaq2sday
Also on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/blaq2sday

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
We’ve performed at House of Hunger (Alliance Francaise Johannesburg), Cup O’ Thought (Alliance Francaise de Durban), Vereeniging Civic Theatre, Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series (Market Theatre), Emerald Casino and Resort, Bara Medical College, 1000 People (Constitution Hill of South Africa), Tanz Live, Katzy’s in Rosebank, Balcony Tv Johannesburg, Lighthouse on 7th in Melville, Puisano Jazz Festival and at the Emfuleni Local Municipality Arts and Culture Summit 2014. Recently, as the opening act for Zahara on her Phendula National Tour by Nedbank and TS Records.

Favorite venues has to be Tanz Live, SkyRoomLive (wherever their venue is now Lol), and anywhere around Maboneng Precinct, Live – The Venue in Durban, The Assembly in Cape Town. That Randlords Rooftop (Balcony TV) was also mean as well.

Our current gig guide as it stands after the Rise Of The Underdogs show on the 24th, we have BlaQ2sday Meets 16th Kollektiv on the 16th June. 16th Kollektiv is the phresh clothing brand that’ll be endorsing the band with T-shirts mainly. Then we’ll be at the National Arts Festival Grahamstown, performing at The Vic, from the 3rd till the 6th of July. Please see more details on our Facebook page ( Blaq2sday ).

What can the Word N Sound family expect from you at the show?
The Rise of the Underdogs event will be a very special one. Because we seldom get so much time to showcase our work, most of it that is. We’ve always had to perform a minimal set. But now this will be different because we can perform most of our songs, especially new ones. And people can get to hear how the album is most likely to sound like. So this will be a first draft listening session of what we’ve been working on.

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