Monday, October 6, 2008

Eleshin Oba in Death and the King's Horseman

Sage the Rage on rampage!

Ajankoro in the House Awoko in Performance
Ropo Ewenla, anchor person
Dede and cousin, Ayeola Mabiaku
Edaoto having fun giving the audience a treat
Cornerstone on centre stage

Wordslam 2: another feast of poetic flights, stirs the stage
Tony Okuyeme

Memories of stimulating performances at the first edition of WordSlam will be rekindled as the second edition holds at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.During its debut held at the Goethe Institut garden in Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, July 5, Wordslam, a poetry performance project made bold impression in the hearts of stakeholders. Although, many thought that the rain would not allow the event to hold, the organisers, Culture Advocates Caucus and the Goethe Institut, were not discouraged. And clearly, the resilient spirit and determination artiste was demonstrated, drawing inspiration from the theatre axiom ‘The show must go on’.Poets, artistes, culture activists, trooped to the venue to be part of the engaging moment with poetry in action in spite of the rain. Indeed the performing artistes and the audience were not distracted by the downpour which continued on-end.They sat stubbornly and stuck with the artistes, defying the troublesome rains that kept disorganising the technical set-up, and eventually disrupted opportunity for technical rehearsals, to witness the melody and rhythm of the poetic performances dished out by 10 specially selected artistes. Budding and aspiring poets also featured in the programme.Entitled: “The rage of sage mounts the stage”, the event started with an ensemble of drummers thrilling the audience with a festive parade. Then the voice of the eclectic poet, Sage Has.son mounted the stage with his famous work Rage with accompanying staccato from the drums. Ropo Ewenla, actor, theatre director and poetry activist came in strongly throwing the house back to the good old days of the celebratory hunter’s chant amid a rhythmic trip of the drums. It was not just an outing of poetry presentations alone.Jumi Fola-Alade, poet, vocalist and lyricist entertained the audience. She mimed a track from her CD, Imole to which the fleet-footed Muri Amulegboja gave an exciting dance interpretation. Their performance drew loud applause from the excited audience.This appeared to have set the stage for a fascinating experience. Ewenla, indeed lived up to his billing as the compere of the event. He was not just a compere, he took the audience into an interesting moments of chanting, singing.Thus, the stage was set for a poetic performance dialogue with the audience, as Iquo Eke mounted the stage in a dramatic style. Eke who has performed in several poetry events, including Word&Sound, Poetry Potter, Lagos Poetry Festival, swayed in as if in poetic trance. Say my name, she sang, thrilling the gathering with her mellifluous voice and her inviting steps. While she kept engrossed in her imaginative presentation, Eke reminded them of the Caged Bird. And she came on with Voice from faraway lands to sign off her performance.While the rain continued in torrents, the Iremoje poet, Akeem Lasisi, poet, journalist and performer countered it with the power of the Word. “Well, rain is of God, and word is also of God”, he began. “After all, in the beginning was the word...”, he echoed. Akeem Lasisi, appeared to have appeased the rain with some lines in Yoruba. And like magic, the rain petered out to mere drizzles till it eventually stopped. Poetry captivated minds, spoken words, soothed hearts and rhythm caressed chilled body. And, everything melted into one another like a confluence of rivers that makes a mighty ocean.With Lasisi’s inspiring performance over, it was the AJ soldier-poet, Dagga Tolar that took the audience through the antics of what the poet describes as politrickians. Tolar presentation dwelt largely on how the thieving elite had decimated the soul of the land and made life nearly unbearable for the masses. The audience had a stimulating time with the poet.Habeeb Ayodeji, whose stage name is Awoko, sang beautifully to the soul of the accoustic guitar. Awoko paid tribute to children and the seeds of tomorrow; warning errant parents to ensure that whatever action they take today would affect their hope of tomorrow. He was obviously referring to the unhealthy situation when quarrels among the elders in the teaching profession and the political class have left the young ones ever vulnerable... prowling the streets like hapless orphans.Jazz music from a band of veteran musicians led by the bassist, Nik Abel ensured that it was not just an occasion of poetic excursion. Reggae musician, Cornerstone, fondly called the spokesman for the motherland, thrilled with his song, profound in philosophical postulations about Freedom. Muri Amulegboja’s adaptation of oral poetry in contemporary dance, singing the praise of the rain was imaginative. Edaoto’s performance - a mix of poetry, music and dance - was outstanding. He thrilled the audience with his participatory and energetic poetry.Present at the event were Amb. Segun Olusola, Odia Ofeimun who was a Special Guest and performer at the event, Toni Kan - Corporate Affairs Manager, VISAFONE, Dr. Oyeronke Oyewumi, Jude Dibia, Kayode Aderinokun, Nduka Otiono, Dr. Ralf Teepe, Consul-General, Germany Embassy and others.

This Saturday, another performance feast is expected on stage as Wordslam 2: Feasts Of Poetic Flights holds at the Samarkand Tree, Entrance D, National Theatre. Featuring are the young but dynamic poets, who were the headliners for the first edition. Sage Has.son, Edaoto, Cornerstone, Dagga Tolar, poet philosopher; and Awoko, the multi-instrumentalist, flute-poet.The event, which is scheduled to start at 3p.m., will also feature some of the stars from the first Open Mind and Mic session, such as Ayodeji Akinpelu, Lanre Ari-Ajia, Aye-Ola Mabiaku, Segun Eluyemi, Uche Nwandinachi, Ras Banjo.According to a release by the organiser’s of the event, there will also be a performance by Segun Ola and Seun Beckley, from the Republic of Benin, as well as the drum-poet Wale Olaoye, the scion of the legendary traditional drummer, the late Oba Laoye.

culled from Nigeria Compass