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“Women in “Spoken Word”

Jan 12, 2012, 2:27 PM | Article By: Latirr Carr

Science might be the heart of every generation but Art is the soul. Handed down from one generation to another, art represents the image and perception of a people at every point in time. At the center of the art soul lies performing arts in all its splendour as it puts the artist’s thought in proper perspective and translates bare words into emotions that would otherwise be left to the interpretation of the recipient. It was this desire to describe the artist’s words that led to the birth of “spoken word”; the art of the “guewel” as she sang the songs of history; the captivating beauty of the opera; the rise of the big screen; and the creation of Balafong’s very own Word of Mouth.

Now, our world is experiencing what is a generation still searching for an identity. As restless as this generation is, its dynamism cannot be denied. There is such a hunger for creativity and innovation, that channels must be created to direct that energy towards positivity. Word of Mouth (Spoken Word) recognizes that need and provides that platform. Without structure, one rule only remains – Be beautiful. From writing to performing, the beauty of every expression is meant to take the reader or audience on a journey into the artist’s world of words. Every tiny metaphor, every simple juxtaposition, every bit of literary humor must come at a cost – a moment of losing oneself to one’s creation.

 “....................................

He looked like a monster

This was a stranger

I felt it was blood.

Because all I saw was red

.......................................”

Fatma Sallah/Word of Mouth V/Worn Out Soul

 Poetry also teaches us that “there is beauty in pain”. As contradictory as it seems, Word of Mouth reveals the beauty in but a few words of expression. The artist’s pain as revealed in the words above were brought to life to an audience that were left in tears as she stumbled through the words and left many with tears in their eyes. It showed the suffering of women all over the world in the hands of men that had little respect for their dignity and no regard for their feelings. In what was a tear-filled performance, Spoken Word in “Word of Mouth” had taken an audience through a journey of hope lost and then regained –an inspiration to many who felt such pains in secret.

But Word of Mouth – Spoken Word – is not just about the pains of this generation’s struggles. It represents emotions as they come to the artist. Like a painting of many colors, its hues and shades are as different as our emotions are. From tear-filling emotions to passionate renditions of love poetry, the journey always goes full circle.

“...........................................

There and there he was

An embodiment of rich handsomeness

With long locks swaying merrily below his exquisite cheeks

Dark chocolate cocoa brown skin

Indicating that which had been lathered

By soft, sweet scented soap.................................................”

Rabiatou Ceesay/Word of Mouth V/Rasta Boy

Here the author obviously reveals a dream – a desire that might be somewhat far-fetched. She simply puts into words and then actions a vision of a man. In her piece lies what perhaps is a fantasy shared by women everywhere. A man chiselled into form by a dedicated artist into physical perfection. Her performance was greeted by “oows” and “awws” as her gender were lost in her eyes, finding themselves a part of her whilst the men felt a certain inadequacy that was revealed in their eyes. Again Word of Mouth does not fail in providing the short glimpse into the heart of a people.

However, in the midst of a dream of smiles, a reality check awaits in Isatou Dumbuya’s “Syrupy Sweet Dreams”. This is not a poem but still a true representation of Spoken Word. She tells a tale of a woman and a man who meet in simplicity but finish the journey in what can only be described as a complex of reality. Her story reveals the “Pandora’s box” that is love.

“She saw him, and he was the complete opposite of the lover in her dreams......... Two years later, after they got married, he would come home from work, spent and wouldn’t say a word to her.

They both knew their passion was spent. ....... Before she could say a word more, death came in the room and with it stole away her life and her dreams. He stood there baby in hands weeping hopelessly like a man possessed.”

Isatou Dumbuya/Word of Mouth IV/ Syrupy Sweet Dreams.This is where the journey ends. Performance poetry has entered the hearts of those that have seen it at work. Every month, the numbers of the audience continue to grow and the appetite for honest expression bloom with it. It is easy to call it the beginning but we remind everyone that every person is naturally a poet and finding the right language and expressions to make our poetry beautiful is what remains. This is Balafong’s Word of Mouth.

This was First published in the Standard Newspaper.

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