Tag Archives: interview

WordNSound MD comes up short for last Episode!

Just recently the WordNSound Content Team asked our Managing Director if she would make time in her busy schedule to scout some up and coming talent for the next Episode of WNS Series and she willingly agreed…

When we check in with her a few days later we found that she had come up short


How many company executives in this day and age can say they actually get their hands dirty? We are proud to say that our Managing Director does!

Before we delve into her  [virtual] sit down with one half of the dynamic duo check out this joint:

Q: The first time I met you, you were dressed in all grey and introduced yourself as Grae Matter. Please introduce Itai Hakim?

A: Itai Hakim is an up and coming South African born and raised multi-disciplinary artist who uses different artistic mediums – to produced what he calls ‘Channeled Work’.

Namely through his performance poetry, singing, writing (songwriter, author and playwright) and acting. Itai aims to revive, on contemporary artistic platforms ancient, cultural and traditional understandings and narratives of legend and myth through his work. Hakim believes that art is an integral apart of of his personal project of healing and education project.


Q: In one of your performances you speak about Grae as another ‘character’ of yours, and that he’s angry. Why is Grae angry? Do Itai and Grae work well together?

A: Grae Matta is dead. I made peace with the reasons behind his anger (mainly direceted at his personal past and the state of his immediate surroundings ( i.e politics, poverty, the state of education etc ) in the Shrines of Haifa while I was on pilgrimage un Israel in 2011.

Q: How and why did 8 Bars Short come about? And what’s the story behind the name?

A: 8 Bars Short is the remainder of a band called  ‘NO IDEA’ which parted ways in the June of 2012.

Nomi and Itani met on campus at a cypher at Wits, later at a poetry slam Itani invited Nomi to and again when Nomi gate crashed a NO IDEA rehearsal on the Wits Lawns.

The story behind the name is while recording the rough cut songs currently on SoundCloud, being newbies to studio settings. After having recorded the instrumental guide for a song, while Nomi sang she noticed we were 8 Bars Short


Q: There are many bands out there. What makes yours different?

A: Apparently we’re different because we’re an acoustic duo which sings folk-soul. Something that has been absent since BLK SONSHINE a decade ago.


Q: Which 3 poets would 8 Bars Short love to collaborate with on an album? And why them?

A: We haven’t thought that far and aren’t really aware of the poetry scene.


Q: On your Soundcloud account you describe your music as “music from the heart for the heart, infused with indigenous folk”.

A: Indigenous Folk came about as a response to assigning our sound to a genre. Our sound is a mix of a number of genres (blues, jazz, classical, indie) Indigenous music and folk music are influences we draw from. At best we’re still figuring it out, but the closest descriptions have been Country Soul / Folk Soul


Q: Could you please explain this; the sound of your music as Itai Hakim as a solo, and Itai as part of 8 Bars Short.

A: Both sounds are quite nascent,  but come from a place of self reflection and questioning.


Q: You are signed with Motif Records. What has your experience been? What advice would you give other artists looking to sign with a record label?

A: Being managed by Motif has been good. Our advice to upcoming artists is to stay true to their own voices and to protect their work vigilantly.

Just a point from me: Motif is not a label, it is a management company.


Q: What have been the highlights of your journey as an artist?

A: Having a conversation with the audience through our work.


Q: What challenges have you faced as an artist and how did you overcome them?

A: Biggest Challenge: Being true to myself.  Overcame Challenge: By being true to myself.


Q: What can we expect from you at the next Word N Sound Series?

A: 8 Bars Short will just be sharing who they are as per usual.

video source: http://vimeo.com/91839339

Now hurry up and go check out more of the brilliance available on their Sound Cloud Page before Saturday –  https://soundcloud.com/8barshort


PS: Thank you boss lady!

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Kagiso Tshepe’s writing is quite difficult to describe. We’ll simply say its beautifully mystical and even enchanting at times.



Now performance, this is where the writing moves from the writer to other entities, the writer dies and the teller lives, this to me only happens when the poem from its raw state has worked with me, said all, healed or destroyed me, I never take out a poem that hasn’t either given me life of killed me.” – Kagiso Tshepe

1.  Your style of writing is often described as abstract, surreal and at times ‘dark’. How would you describe your own style?
*sigh* Definitions. I would first acknowledge that at least someone out there takes time to think about my writing till a point of definition. There is no denying that I’m from a peculiar, almost benighted background of story telling and was inspired by abstract, surreal and mystic texts. This has been a great source of inspiration for someone who possesses nothing of the knowledge of what is ‘real’. I would however classify my style of writing as Magical Realism, because, though fictitious, there’s an obscure reality that I pack in the writing, recessive to the willing ear.

2. Do you find it difficult to balance being a writer, performer and a graphic designer?
It was quite tricky in the beginning because the three art forms would somehow forcefully intersect, where I would be designing and a poem would descend and interrupt the visual art. However with acknowledging that all faculties are part of me and my purpose (if this doesn’t denote any self centered interpretation), so through the years I have managed to hear when one calls and answer only to that at a time. But this is fun, I must say. A great awe overwhelms me often upon witnessing the faces of poetry that reveal themselves in my designs. It is so cool!

 3. What can we expect from your showcase on Saturday?
Initially this was conceptualised to be a ‘redemption’ performance, I thought I would want to used this platform to exhale the enigmas that I have been experiencing, I thought it would be a show to break the agony walls within me. But with the date crawling closer, I realised that I will only be attempting to justify my impermanent sufferings, which would then render me a pity poet…So the idea has evolved to magical, to Truth, to fun, perpetual euphoria, it is now about Love, Dreams and cool things. 🙂 So expect all the above mentioned. Not pain and tears.


4. Do you put as much effort in performance as you do in writing a piece?
Writing has its own time and power, this is the magical part of my life! The tears that happen in this process, the joy! Now performance, this is where the writing moves from the writer to other entities, the writer dies and the teller lives, this to me only happens when the poem from its raw state has worked with me, said all, healed or destroyed me, I never take out a poem that hasn’t either given me life of killed me. For me performance is about the people, I’m done with the god within and I become then the evangelist. There is no compromising whatsoever here, I perform and say things the way I would like to hear them. I visualize a poet that would still or steal my spirit, then relive that enchanting experience that so graced me in my solitude. They are both cool things.

5.  What has been your most favorite performance on the Word N Sound stage
Maaan! I have seen Magic embodied and enunciated on the Word N Sound stage, from my good friend Conelius Jones, Mutle Mothibe, Andrew Manyika, Kabelo Kilobyte, Sir Alexander, Rantoloko Molokwane, maaan! How can I forget Ntate Thabo Manoto, that was one of the best performances I’ve seen this year, to the sisters, the queens, I have inhaled, back to my head, my hair straying to unnamed realms during many performances on this stage. This is POWER! Really cool.

6.  “It took us the whole day to discover the night”, this is a line from one of your poems, what was the inspiration behind this particular line?
We were astronomers once, our minds sharp with the names of the stars and their emotions, we knew the moon and sun by name, but never the time that governs our perception of life. This was a line about how ‘enlightened’ one can perceive and even believe themselves to be, however failing to decipher the macrocosm of simple things. We are indeed smart, but things such as pride, egocentrics, shame, money, friendship and others, still play a mock of us. Moreover, those who know tend to think they have a special position in life. Oh The Absurdity of it all *smh*…so yah…this is fun, and cool too.

7. Which performer have you always wanted to share a stage with and why?
By the tender arms of fortune, I have been able to share this Magic of a thing with many spirits I regard as great. But my highlight here would be sharing the whole show with my Channelmen, Sibusiso Simelane and Itani wa Mbira as Basic Channel. A beautiful Brotherhood. I would however like to fuse most of the Brothers in the WnS family within one poem, this would be POWER!

8.  Outside of poetry, what else inspires you?
I’m greatly inspired by many forms of art, from photography, music, pencil sketches, to observing different oblivious bodies in public spaces. But the greatest of all is gospel music, this for me is King! If I’m not reciting a poem, I’m singing a hymn. Cool much!


9. What are you thoughts on the current state of Joburg poetry?
Yoh, the poetry in Johannesburg is so massive! I was immensely impressed by the Power I saw at the last show from new faces, they have so much creativity and performance. The heads (I call them heads, the elders) their evolution each show is Magical! I think if we can grow so much as to a point of utilizing the media that is in our world right now we would see how great the art is within us here in Johannesburg. If more videos could be uploaded on the internet and poems recorded and posted abroad, this will not only be a revelation to just South Africa but the whole world. I respect every single poet or writer that exhibits their work in this jungle of an area in terms of the arts. It is not easy, but they have found portals through which this art breathes and lives. Power!

10. If you could change anything with just your words, what would it be?
Whoa! Such a giant of a question. I’m not one to speak of Love or even have poems around this phenomenon, this is because words have found a way to belittle this divine principle. If one day I wake up to a reality where I can speak of Love, I would really like to shift the many entangled perceptions of Love as we now know it (mind you I don’t know its primitive state, also). The theory of relativity is not cool (no offense to sir Albert) for this reason this universe of ours has been so much fragmented by the many definitions and interpretations of Love, of Oneness, of this God of a thing…if I could, I would take all these gods and make them One.

Interview by Sibusiso Simelane

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Mpho Khosi is a simple scribe, a storyteller in poetic rhythms and  a passion filled performer…and the voice behind the dopest version of our national anthem.

“Poetry has always had an important role in society, it is just that some poets go into poetry with other ideas and motives in mind.” – Mpho Khosi

1.  How far do you want to take poetry as a career?
I have always enjoyed writing, so I would love to actually work on becoming a well established publishing poet, and also look at going into writing short stories. I believe that for us to preserve our stories, we need to write them out, thus we can never lose them.

2.  How are you feeling about your upcoming showcase?
The upcoming showcase neh, I honestly cant wait; I have found myself preparing a set that will be a showcase my old pieces and a couple of new ones. It will be a culmination and summary of what I have been up to since I started performing.

3.  You write a lot of narrative poems, what attracted you to this style of writing?
I love short stories, but have found that my stories tend to be too short. So they instead find a better identity as poems, this is also a fear of mine that one day people will see that I am actually not a “poet” in the poetic sense of the word, but rather a story teller. so, basically my narrative poems are inspired by this love of short stories and story telling.

4. Do you have any poems that never make it to the stage, and if so, what happens to them?
I have quite a few poems that never see the stage, but these are not just thrown away, they are compiled and put into “QUIETLY loud” an anthology I am currently working on.

5.  Are there any local poets that have an influence on your work?
I am more of an old school poet, and have found that the old voices even if they don’t influence my work, but they offer me a guide of what conviction of purpose is. the likes of Ntate Sipho Sepamla, Ntate Vusi Mahlasela, The Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile, Ntate Lesego Rampolokeng and an arsenal of others.

6. Three books that you think every writer should have in their collection?
1. How Can Man Die Better by Roger Porgrund (a biographical look at Robert Sobukwe”s life).
2. Indaba My Children By Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa (one elder with whom I would love to sit.
3. I write What I Like by Steve Bantu Biko.

7.  Do you think poetry has a significant role in society?
Poetry has always had an important role in society, it is just that some poets go into poetry with other ideas and motives in mind, they look at poetry as an instant ticket to fame and glory. poetry is a weapon, we just choose whether we want to use the weapon for the greater good of mankind or for our own selfish reasons….

8.  What are some of the challenges that you have faced ever since you decided to be a performing artist?
Being broke, but I have a very supportive family which allowed me to cope and focus on the work at hand.

9. Do you think poetry is always political and controversial?
Poetry is a reflection of life, so it would not exist if it only focused on certain aspects and left out others. So; I think poetry is multi faceted and therefore cater for different audiences.

10. What inspired you to write you own rendition of the national Anthem?
Azania neh, I honestly don’t know. This was a rhythm that somehow crept into my meditation and found a home in people’s ears.

Interview by Sibusiso Simelane

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INTERVIEW: Kb Kabelo Kilobyte

He’s a self-proclaimed modern day Spartan who likes to lie to women just to see them smile. Hahaha, just kidding…he’s also an amazing writer and a performer you don’t easily forget.

This month we welcome KB Kilobyte as our showcase act for our September episode of the Word N Sound Poetry And Live Music Series.

Photographer: Flo Mokale


“Performance appeals to the eye and ear, BUT, content is for the soul” – KB


1. As a well known performer in both Joburg and Pretoria  what would you say are the major differences between the JHB and PTA poetry scenes?
Let me start by saying that I love and appreciate that Pretoria and Jozi are different, that diversity and the different experiences are what makes this educational and special. What I have experienced in Jozi is that artists are hungry to better their crafts and make it out there, and during performances, when you’re an outsider, you can almost feel the intensity. There is a sense of competitiveness and cut-throat approach to make it.

Whereas PTA is more ‘chilled’. We are more conservative and tend to hold our work closer to home. Pretorians are more into poetry than slam, and I have to say the Consciousness Movement is growing and the PTA crowd is quite receptive to pure poetry!

2. The first time you appeared on the Word N Sound stage you performed the poem “I Lied”, please share the inspiration and experience behind it.
The poem “I Lied” is a true story, I wrote it after I realised I loved the lady I was dating at the time, not based on her looks but for WHO she is and represents, however, of course when I approached her I told her she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. Though we know it’s not entirely true, when know that some women love to be told sweet nothings whereas some of them deep inside know it’s not the truth but love it anyways, remember the last few lines say “so in the effort of true love, thirsty to see you smile, I lied and told you that you are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen”.


3. You’ve been on a lot competitive platforms, please tell us what’s more important to you, content or performance?
After performing and competing in Word N Sound, Shoko Festival in Zimbabwe, House of Hunger, Penseed Poets etc. I would honestly say performance appeals to the eye and ear, BUT, content is for the soul, shows intellect and insight. If a poet is able to perform and add content, which is very do-able they’d be appealing to the majority rather than a select group.

4.  Which poet still raises the hairs at the back of you neck when you watch the perform?
Internationally, Saul Williams, I think his delivery is amazing, how he attaches emotion to every word and how in touch and aware he is of what goes on in the world. Def Jam’s Black Ice is another poet who speaks truth in every poem and is not apologetic about it.



Locally, I’ve always enjoyed Tumi (Tumi and the Volume), even in his hip hop I can still hear how poetry laid that foundation. Mak Manaka’s old school meets the present presentation of his work is amazing as well.



Upcoming poets, I’d say Mandi Vundla, Mutle, Donald the Neosepian, Sbu Simelane, Dee Rasedile, Vangile Gantsho, and Kb Kabelo Kilobyte:). Honestly the list is endless, I know of more talented artists out there.



5. Who do you think is going take the 2012 Word N Sound Open Mic Champion title this year?
Word N Sound has been special this year, the number 1 spot fluctuating  beyond control from one poet to another, with the exclusion of hoping the winner will be me, I’m drawn to the way Purple Jupiter just surprises everyone. But statistically, I think it’s going to be Masai.

6. You call yourself  “The Spartan”. Please explain why you chose this particular name?
Hahaha, after watching the movie 300, 300 times, I got to learn important lessons that I took out of that movie, that a man must fight for his freedom, have a firm vision, love and respect his wife, teach his children the law of ‘Respect and Honour’,work hard, and besides physical strength, have strength of the spirit. Such a man I yearn to become, so I practice to be the modern day Spartan man.

7. Do you believe that there’s such a thing as ‘wack’ poetry, if so, how do you define it?
Yes, after you write a poem, recite it and feel you don’t like it, but you still perform it to a crowd without you yourself feeling it, how do you expect to throw it in a sea of ears like a message in a bottle and expect someone to catch it? Now that’s wack to me. With that being said, any form of poetry is good, depends on the fusion of content, performance and delivery.

8. What can we expect from your showcase?
Honesty, less talk and chit-chat in between and more poetry!

9. Are there any poetry related projects that you are currently working on?
Yes, I’m working with the Department of Mental Pathology at the University of Pretoria, helping physically disabled individuals (cannot speak, walk or write) but having full mental awareness, some have expressed their interest in writing poetry and we’ll be workshoping and training them how to write.

God willing, another performance collabo with Vusi Mahlasela

Compiling national holiday poems to perform at every National Treasury (PTA branch) event.

I’m working on a book due for release this December or January 2013.

10. Give us one word that should never be used to describe your poetry.

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