Monday, 7 December 2009

Word explosion by the lagoon

On its fourth rite of expression, the Wordslam -- a collaborative programme between the Goethe Institut and the Culture Advocates Caucus, CAC presented a robust mixed grill of poetry, music, dramatic enactments and even a bit of comedy. It was an explosive evening in the lagoon-front of the German Cultural Centre on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos on November 28. Old notables and regulars of the four-edition old Wordslam, which the CAC dubbed ‘Feast of Poetic Flights’, met and gave vent to creative expression in the medium of poetry coming though Spoken Word and performance poetry.
And to cap, the Wordslam had on stage the international reputed German-Nigerian act, Ade Adekoya alias Ade Bantu, whose ‘Sound of fufu’ is a regular meal on global entertainment TV channels such as Channel O, MTV and Ben TV.

Remarkably too, the Wordslam, obviously the biggest live poetry event yet on the stage included a sc hool dimension to this edition. Prior to staging the edition, the project had gone to selected schools to conduct a workshop, which was anchored by Ade Bantu assisted by Dagga Tolar in Ajegunle, and Bayo Olupohunda in Ikoyi area. The students of the schools were paraded on stage during the main event that Saturday. These were students from abou five schools in the Tolu School Complex in Oodi Apapa; and those from Ireti school in Falomo. The students drew loud ovation, especially for the depth of their criticisms of the socio-political system, especialy the abject neglect of the schools manifested in lack of qualified teachers, lack of facilities and absence of a conducive environment for learning that tend to hamper their educational progress; thus endagering the future of the country.

After the students’ presentations came the main acts of the Wordslam -- the afro-musical poet, Edaoto; the Reagge-inflective spoken word artiste, Cornerstone; the flutist and folk singer Awoko, the romantic poet, Uche Uwadinashi, the young revolutionary social commentator, Ayodeji Akinpelu and the lady fondly called ‘Priestest of the Word’, Ayeola Mabiaku. Others included the fresh voices on Wordslam stage -- Funmi Aluko and the Ghetto soldier, Papa English. The stage also made room for the Open Mind & Mic session, which brought out the creative power of such tested poets as Plumbline, Anago Priest, Nonnie, Sandra and Bob Eket and others.
Expectedly, Ade Bantu was the big masquerade as declared by the compere, actor, poet, Yemi Oyewo (who was paired by the singer, performer, Yinka Davies). For many who turned up, Ade Bantu represents the quintessential live poetry performer -- as he blended his essentally afrobeat sound with rap, reggae and even hip hop. His is a mix of all the best in African and contemporary world music traditions; and his stage work is electric such that he kept the huge audience that had gathered as early as 3pm glued to the venue till about 10pm. Of course, he was rewarded with fat ovation.

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