La Danza Poetica #3 Steel & Honey

On a tropical contact high, the voices of Barbados, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, poems of love and war, to and from the Caribbean. The third dance was a joyous thing to make, seeking out some favourites of creole poetry hidden in my archives, and along the way discovering some wonderful new storytellers. This is just why I do this, to learn and listen, to discover and share! So, here is La Danza Poetica #3 on Groovalizacion web radio.

Read on here for links! Sun is shining!

In the show,writers of the Caribbean diaspora, a rich and varied culture of storytelling. English - the imposed language on much of the archipelago, the imperial language, along with French, Dutch and Spanish. Creole English - a mixture of English and other imported languages. Nation language, brought to the Caribbean from other nations, practised by poets such as Linton Kwesi Johnson and Kamau Brathwaite. Dub poetry and Tuk verse, young poets of Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Haiti, and American based poets and MCs of Trinidad and Haitian backgrounds. We will also take a trip to an imaginary Caribbean island Beach Boys redux from a Dublin based producer.....

First, Melissa Beauvery. Out of Brooklyn New York, of Haitian parentage. Her CD My Grandmother's Tongue depicts her experience as a Haitian American woman, growing up surrounded by the lilt of Creole.

A beautiful poet I first came across via this Global Voices video - get to know her and her neighborhood:

Crossing from Brooklyn to the UK, to Anthony Joseph - poet, novelist, lecturer, afrobeat musician with the band Spasm, creole griot. Originally from Trinidad Anthony moved to the UK in '89. Two Inch Limbo isa funk epic! In the vein of GSH, with a groove all his own. Listen to more here.

To Canada, to resonant poet and performer a true global lady Tanya Evanson, who will take us to Antigua … from her recent album Language for Gods ... via Lord Kitchener, the man who took calypso to England ... and, a new track with a sweet tropical vibe, Dublin's Orquesta covering the Beach Boys' 1989 song Kokomo, with vocals from Jape, Katie Kim and Kathi Burke. 

Floating in our daydream is Kamau Brathwaite from his 1968 LP Rights of Passage – a giant of Barbados, a teacher and a student of the African diaspora, Brathwaite's poetry traces historical links and events that have contributed to the development of the black population in the Caribbean. His poetry and writings are distinguished by its experimental linguistic (and often multilingual) explorations of African identity in the West Indies. (>lifted from I don't know where you might get hold of the LP, this is a recording given to me years ago. Look out for the cover in garage sales, I guess!

Also in here, French Creole, the story of Tany Myer's poem To My mother - from an installation called Babel Spring by Amie Slavin and Duncan Chapman which toured the UK earlier this year, featuring 40 versions of the poem in 40 different languages. A fascinating project, check it out here.

Paula Obe, from Trinidad and Tobago, a beautiful poet with such command of silence - few poets can dance with silence in their words like this. She weaves a dream of blues and poetry with her voice and guitar, making us think of our sweet … sugar … from her album Afterlife - out of print now but hopefully a re release soon? Meantime click left to hear more at SoundCloud.

... and speaking of sugar, the gorgeous Calypso Rose. Born in Tobago, 1940, calypsonian master of over 20 albums. I have got to watch this movie sometime soon, celebrating a great ambassador, woman, artist, survivor:

Later in the show we trip back to Barbados, featuring two great voices of the current scene, Adrian Green and DJ Simmons - who together for Iron Sharpen Iron, bringing spoken word open mic events in Barbados. Connect with them here. You can buy tracks from these guys, along with some other great artists, from

Also, New York's own giant Juakali, originally from Trinidad, produced by Kush Arora - the Dreadbass Soundsystem album of 2011. Powerful album, this track Living in Babylon is still on high rotation in my head!

The transcendant Jamaican-born, Brixton-based reggae dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Very recently awarded the Golden PEN (read Sarah Morrison's great profile here), Johnson is wrapped in a dubstep track by the UK's Hiatus - Insurrection, from 2011 - the riots of London, the riots of consequence.

More LKJ - great live video of Sonny's letter:

Wrapping up the show with a track from the tribute to The Mighty Spoiler. Warm thoughts to you all, for Christmas, whatever your tradition, whatever your condition, may you give and receive just what is needed.