This month on La Danza Poetica, the spirit runs deep. Featuring the brilliant new album from Canada’s Tanya Evanson, debut EP from Australia’s Mirrah, and a poetic release from USA’s Solange. Alongside, the smooth spirituals of Canadian/American soul sisters: Cris Derksen and Jennifer Kreisberg, Marianne Verville, Sunni Patterson, Shauntay Grant, Queen Ka. And soulful brothers from Canada: Ivy, Ian Kamau, and Shane Koyczan collaborating with the inspirational sister of all activist poets, Ani Difranco.

Acts of creation are the fruits of loving self awareness, focused on a purpose with intention and care. This is activism. This is the maternal spirit of creation - and it is what we need right now. 

Tracklist

Ivy - Il y eut
Tanya Evanson - Leg, A Sea
Cris Derksen - New Women Song (feat. Jennifer Kreisberg)
Marianne Verville - La honte
Solange - Interlude: The Glory Is in You
Solange - Cranes in the Sky
Mirrah - my level
Sunni Patterson - 16 Bars
Shauntay Grant - Change 2.0
Tanya Evanson - Act of Creation
Queen Ka & Yann Perreau - Tabarka
Ian Kamau - The Village
Tanya Evanson - Rock Blanket
Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long - Debris feat. Ani Difranco

Notes on the show

Tanya Evanson’s fourth album, released this month, is the wonderfully experimental and deeply spiritual Zenship. An album of poetics, trance and jazz, Zenship is inspired by the Ten Bulls progression of short poems and images used in Zen Buddhism to illustrate the stages of a practitioners progression towards enlightenment. The calf or the bull or ox, is a metaphor essentially for meditation practice. The verses, by Kuòān Shīyuǎn, were also inspirations for John Cage.

Tanya is in Australia right now performing and running workshops. She will be performing in Melbourne on 23 October - some details here, if you are in town.

Mirrah is a musician, rapper, poet, youth worker and radio host based in Sydney, Australia. I heard her first as vocalist with L-Fresh the Lion. She is just about to drop her first solo EP, titled Life - the first in a trilogy of life, love and music. Equal parts sweet and salty, spiritually grounded, she’s a positive voice in the Australian scene and I’m thankful to be able to include a track in here, ahead of the EP launch on October 16th. 

I haven't paid a lot of attention to Solange Knowles over the years. When someone gave me A Seat at the Table this month, I was surprised at how much it moved me. This album is a deeply poetic, musically complex, confrontational and at the same time soothing and healing, collection of stories. The structure of the interludes and some of the moods puts me in mind of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hilll. More than comparing the two artists - something I do not like to do - I am simply feeling it the same way, and playing it on repeat the same way I did back in 1998.

And then, I came across the book - you can read it online here - which is a collection of the song lyrics and other poems, and images. Apart from anything else, it's nice to see music and pop culture magazines linking the words "concrete poetry" off to the wikipedia definition in their reviews ... I hope that leads some kids onto some new and unexpected paths.

Image of Mirrah: photographer Christopher Woe


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