Expect a potent line-up of conscious acts at the 11th installation of The Speak The Mind Poetry and Music sessions.
The 11th Speak The Mind Poetry and Music Sessions taking place on 4 and 5 November in Braamfontein and Maboneng respectively boasts influential performers that will infect your mind with their awareness, soul and dexterity.
Friday 4 November is dedicated to a free Masterclass/workshop with visiting poets at The Bannister Hotel (9 De Beer St, Braamfontein) running from 14:00 to 17:00.
Saturday 5 November is the main show happening at the Main Event Space, Arts On Main (264 Fox St), Maboneng from 16:00 to midnight.
For the second year running, the festival will feature a dialogue session just before the main performances on November 5 as a way to inspire conversations that will go on long after the last curtain call.
The discussion running from 16:30 to 18:30, will be on the arts, media and state capture dissecting issues such as corruption, censorship and media ownership and freedom. It will be moderated by writer, performer and all round creative, Qhama Dayile.
From 19:00, it’s showtime!
Returning to the South African stage is headline act, Roger Bonair-Agard who will captivate the audience with his spirited performance.
In praise of Bonair-Agard, renowned writer Amiri Baraka described him as “a poet who fixes his experience with memory and uses memory image as an analyser of his experience.”
So vivid and nostalgic are the images Bonair-Agard conjures up with his words, laden with subtexts of migritude.
(Migritude is a term coined by poet and writer, Shailja Patel. A play on the words migrant and attitude, it draws on the history of negritude and refers to a generation of migrants with attitude.)
A native of Trinidad and Tobago and living in the US, Roger Bonair-Agard is a veteran writer, a Cave Canem fellow, and author of four full length collections of poetry, tarnish & masquerade (Cypher Books, 2006), GULLY (Cypher Books/Peepal Tree Press, 2010), Bury My Clothes (Haymarket Books, 2013) and Where Brooklyn at?! (Forth coming in November 2016 from Willow Books).
He is a former member of the Nuyorican Poetry Café Slam team and a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion and founder of the louderARTS Project.,
Bonair-Agard is the creator and facilitator of The Baldwin Protocols: towards an arts based intervention for students of colour in higher learning at the University of Dubuque.
He will give a Masterclass titled, Where Joburg At? inspired by the writing process of his new book, Where Brooklyn At? on Friday, 4 November at the Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein.
Entrance is free, but to secure a seat, rsvp to facebook.com/speakthemindsessions or email@example.com
Nama Xam from Cape Town is a poet, a hip-hop scholar and a cultural activist who advocates for the restoration of the Khoe Khoen and Bushman people – the first indigenous people of Sub Saharan Africa.
A founding member of the group Jy!7 and a willing collaborator, Xam’s charged up music and lyrics encapsulate the experiences of a Khoe Khoen trying to survive and find his place in a marginalising system.
His contribution to the book, Writing What We Like – a collection of thoughts by a new generation of black writers – echoes this sentiment, and shows him to be one of the important voices of our time.
The inspired collaboration between Makhafula Vilakazi and jazz maestro, Herbie Tsoaeli promises to be a treat for the senses.
Makhafula Vilakazi (also the title of one of his poems) is a favourite among Jozi crowds for his fusion of tsotsi taal, English and Zulu in his poetry, interspersed with an uncompromising depiction of township life highlighting social issues such as unemployment and crime.
It is his skilful storytelling and a knack for getting to heart of the matter that makes his performance so powerful and resonant. His debut album, I’m Not Going Back To The Township, released in 2013 is heightened by musicians like Samthing Soweto and Impande Core.
This time he will be joined by uMalume as master bassist, composer and arranger, Herbie Tsoaeli is affectionately known.
Tsoaeli’s debut album, African Time – a soulfully rustic and sophisticated gem with spiritual nuances won the SAMA Best Jazz Album for 2013. uMalume has worked with South African jazz greats from Abdulla Ibrahim, Zim Ngqawana to Winston Mankunku Ngozi. He calls his blend of music, “Jazz Moya” meaning Jazz influenced by spirits.
Completing the spoken word bill are poets: Outspoken from Zimbabwe (co-creator of the hit satirical news comedy, Zambezi News and Production Manager for SHOKO Festival); Nape “Nino” Senong; Icebound Makhene; Nokwanda Zakiyyah Shabangu; Puno Selesho and Cypher Complete featuring Afurakan, a duo that combines music and poems to deliver a thought challenging presentation that sets a new direction for spoken word.
On the music front, you can expect the soothing melodies of the Afro soul sweetheart, Berita, whose 2013 debut album, Conquering Spirit with the national hit single Thandolwethu displayed the prowess of young singer songwriter dabbling in world music.
New kids on the block, folk band Umle will present what they describe as Urban-Xhosa-Folk meets Hip-Electric Maskandi.
Last, but not least, there’s the African sounds of the 2012 SATMA award winning Nathi Bantu (the artist formerly known as reggae star, Nathi B) which carry on the ethos of roots laden afro-soul as being music of the people for the people.
Filling in change overs and closing off the night’s performances will be DJ Themba Lunacy.
Your host for the night will be the effervescent and lovable Kalawa Chikita and spoken word artist in her own right, Busiswa.
Doors open at 4pm.
Tickets cost R120 at Computicket and R200 at the door.
Venue has limited seating capacity.