Two Sydney artists, two great communicators, have joined forces to inspire us to action. Candy Royalle & Kween G combine - and seriously, what a combination! - for a confrontational, unapologetic track about racism in Australia and the world over.
A spoken word video of Melbourne rapper 1/6 is being shared far and wide today and that fact gives me hope. That when truth is simply spoken it resonates. That we stop and listen. That we take it as meant, and work together to manifest more truth in our daily lives. This piece, writes 1/6, "was inspired by and in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It's purpose is to help raise awareness of the ongoing race issues happening not only in America but worldwide."
Ivana Akotowaa Ofori is Akotowaa, out of Ghana, 18 years old and wise as wise is. Spoken word artist and writer, the self-coined "lexivist" - word activist - she describes this poetic song as "a fresco of riffs and picks, claps and voice tricks, and of course, #SpokenWordOnBeat."
I think this is the greatest compliment I could give to a spoken word album, to be honest: that it can be listened to and that it can also just be heard. It doesn't demand close difficult attention, but invites it. It is music that is as lovely to listen to as any folk music I tend to want to hear on a lazy Saturday afternoon. And it is also storytelling, as rewarding as any novel.
Rafeef Ziadeh is a Palestinian performance poet and human rights activist based in London. Following on from her 2014 release Hadeel, the new album We Teach Life is a beautiful development both poetically and musically.
A powerful poem by Abdul Hammoud, directed by Charles Williams, filmed by Aaron Farrugia
Checkpoint 303 releases 13 new tracks in May, in collaboration with Palestinian singers Jawaher Shofani and Wardeh Sbeit and poet Jihad Sbeit.
It feels good to be writing about two Australian spoken word long-play releases in the same week. And particularly good to be writing about a release from a storyteller who tells the heart of this country, and who is taking storytelling to a whole new level.
The first time I saw Joel McKerrow perform live he was onstage alone belting out the poem Ugly Words, which features as the coda of this new long-play album, Welcome Home, with an urgency that surged and waned multiple times, from a tongue-in-cheek slyly self-knowing beginning to climactic shouting torrents of words that made it seem he might leap from the stage headlong into the audience, gather them all up and lead them on a poetic revolution through the streets.
Here’s a snapshot of now, in Melbourne’s vibrant live spoken word scene.
Accra-based poet, musician and filmmaker GhaliLeo released this video a few days ago, influenced by African-American jazz, hip hop, metaphysics and neocolonialism
This beautiful poet, beautiful voice, critically important story, captured with a very light touch by Luka Lesson on Kabalko Island …
Aja Monet’s new EP is a courageous collection coming from deep within the living art of storytelling.
Released in September this year, a full concept spoken word album from Bologna’s Matteo Buratti.
Back in February, Anthony Joseph released Time, a collaboration with bassist and singer Meshell Ndegeocello, and for me, the spoken word album of the year so far, by far. Since then he’s been touring that collection of spoken word funk, jazz, roots, far and wide. And this month, three remixes take three tracks into new territories of sound.