March of this year, I was invited by Drake Music to explore a collaborative experience with a group of artists from Graeae Theatre. Both organisations are dedicated to the breaking down of barriers and challenging preconceptions of artists with disabilities.
After a couple of meetings with John Kelly, my collaborative musician partner and composer of the music for the Paralympics opening ceremony 2012, we decided on an idea for a pretty cool commission based on the concept of tunes, lyrics, compositions – “music that has changed your life”, personally, politically and socially.
John and I’s musical and lyrical worlds collided and found harmony in music for drastic political and social change. Continue reading
… an honour, blessing, and a straight up bligh of the greatest degree. To perform on the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage with Baab Maal, to have him compose music to your poetry, to sing on the same stage and have him say in his alert, bright voice, “Yes you. Very good, you are very good. You have much sincerity”… I am still reeling. Speechless. In the light of that performance, I shall be recording with Baaba, Lemn Sissay, Inua Ellams and TJ Dema this Sunday 29th July recreating the whole QEH event at a private studio session with friends. It couldn’t get any better(…or maybe it could!)
OK groupie attack over (just about), the reality is that I have been listening to Baaba’s music and following his story of Blood Line Royalty to Musical Royalty since the early 90’s and I would never have thought that Poetry could bring me to this place.
Lemn Sissay invited myself and many other prestigious international poets as part of the Olympic Poetry Parnasuss to write to the theme of the journey of the African diaspora. Word Sound Power was the title of the event and I opted to write a poem based on Continue reading
In between the years of 2001 – 2004 I was doing a lot more singing with bands and choirs. More than what I am known for as poet. This year I have been asked to perform quite a bit with musicians. It’s been a joy. I shall be posting more footage and audio of these performances later on.
But these Zohar collaborations in 2003 peaked with me going to Los Angeles , performing on a stage embedded in a huge cliff face in the middle of the desert, with a huge manmade lake to the side with the reflection of the an incredible sunset reflected in the gentle ripples. It was a great time.
“Augmenting the spectral disembodied voices, live singer Zena Edwards brought a brooding neosoul intensity, her pleas for peace resonating wonderfully in the center’s cultural-bridge-building environs.”-Viva la Revolucion, Gustavo Arellano http://www.laweekly.com/content/printVersion/37109/
Music: Erran Baron Cohen
Lyrics: Zena Edwards
Sunrise – Mystikal Love
Too Much Too Soon
Desert Child – Live in Los Angeles, 2003
On 26th Jan, I’ll be headling at SUPA FINE – a night of Spoken Word and Music accompanied by Jon Speedy from JSB, the soulful, dynamic, conscious poet Oness Sankara and the beautiful vocals of Bianca Rose. If you don’t know these ladies, it time to get to know, they’re some of London’s best female artists in their field. Click names for vibrant more info…
The venue The Hideaway (in North London) has high quality Italian food too, so you can book a table and enjoy the soul food of Poetry and great Italian grub
It’s £5 on the door but there’s a £3 concessions guest list, so drop me an email and I’ll put you down if you fancy it. This Continue reading
If you don’t know, get to know – Jazz Verse Box. It’s the brain child of Jumoke Fashola and last month I was invited to be part of a Jazz Verse Box Event with a special twist of being part of the Brit Jazz Festival. I was billed long with Charlie Dark, Soweto Kinch, Sh’maya and Hollie McNish but COLLABORATED with world class musicians – Simon Wallace on Piano, Winston Clifford on Drums and Davide Mantovani on Bass – who made my poems come aurally to life for me, in the moment, in the true Spirit and Style of Conversation.
When Comfort Cydelle of ONIt Promotions invited me to be a part of an event called Leaders of the Old Skool, the first thing I thought was “about time”. Don’t get me wrong. Its not like I’ve been sitting around waiting to be acknowledged. But I was getting a little concerned at the trajectory the spoken word live scene was taking without recognising the graft of those who have gone before to make the scene have the possibilties that is has now.
The spoken word scene has exploded in London over the last 5 years and some of those poets who have gone before us are lost to those who are considered up and coming now. its a dangerous path to tread when you don’t know where you are coming from even when you are pioneering and forging new paths. I myself have to pay homage to Jean Binta Breeze, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lemn Sissay and Dorothea Smartt for paving the way for likes of me as Afri-Cari-british poet, who performs her work and female at that.
Here is an snippet of my performance.