Friday, 4 December 2015

"BARDS WITHOUT BORDERS" KICKS OFF

400 YEARS SHAKESPEARE ANNIVERSARY

10  International poets show their mettle at Hackney Showrooms
Finally after few sessions of building and creating the public was entertained.  Quite a jovial, supportive, beautiful audience...

Audience chilling before getting  in

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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

A WORD FROM SHOREDITCH

Shoreditch, Hackney, early evening.
Shoreditch the cradle of partying, clubbing and mixed messages
Words and inventiveness in advertising. This is a mini Selfie by the way.

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BUSKING AND DRUMMING IN BRICK LANE

This is one of those Sunday Afternoons.
Brick Lane has become an exciting, vibrant spot of London. Hundreds of visitors, local families, lovers, tourists, peddlers, musicians and artists flock here especially on weekends. Akin to Camden Town,  where all sorts of things happen. Or Porto Bello ,  West London. Maybe even Shepherds Bush . Brick Lane has a different feel to those three though.  A mostly South Eastern Asian feel. The smells of Bengali and Indian food is one hint. But there are many other cultural beats. Like ...what?

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Monday, 23 November 2015

SHAKESPEARE 400 YEARS - Diary of Events

BARDS WITHOUT BORDERS- Stepping up
Second rehearsals at King's College


We met at the entrance; before even signing in, slid immediately in-n-n-nna Shakespeare mode...
Hugs, jokes and handshakes sandwiched in the chilly room somewhere above the Strand traffic. Yup. Supercharged. Even as we trudged to the lift, an assigned task. As usual.  In twos or threes. Discuss this. Reflect. Check out that. Not a minute wasted. Best thing about this project is the work ethic...


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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

BRIEF WRITING SURGERY AT HACKNEY COOP DEVELOPMENT


The drizzle might have put one-off. But you don't stay home on a Saturday afternoon.
Not unless you are writing something.
Or if that very writing actually needs evolution, encouragement and what else?
The surgery I attended with EIGHT other poets on Saturday 14th, November, 2015 was about writing development.
 Writer Development Manager, Eva Lewin of Spread the Word, flanked by poet Laila Sumpton during the 3 hour afternoon workshop at Hackney Development Coop in London.

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Monday, 16 November 2015

DIARY OF SHAKESPEARE'S 400 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

BARDS WITHOUT BORDERS
Rehearsals Kick Off at Arcola Theatre

Laughter- Words- Voices -Images-Fun


There were some amazing lines oozing from session leaders Laila Sumpton and Arne Pohlmeier's lips. One that stood out most ( for me) was Arne Pohlmeier , constantly, referring us as "you Poets usually are good with that"- which was what we were. Standing and sitting and shouting and working on speech. For that is what William Shakespeare reminds us. Words, poetry, words, drama, words, poetry, speech, words.
Literature...


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Thursday, 12 November 2015

40 YEARS OF BRITISH TANZANIA SOCIETY

Lovely maandazi- which people in the West call Dumplings...made throats feel sweeter.
It was an evening to remember with loads of fun, rhythm, laughter and chatter. Pic by F Macha

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

HOW KENYANS MADE US PROUD IN LONDON...


 Proud to be Kenyan. Ubwabwa rice with the Flag colours...



 Mohammed Juma from Mombasa served Ndizi Choma and Nyama Choma made from Lamb or Fish. Scrumptious!

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Saturday, 8 August 2015

THE UNPUBLICISED DEATH OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POET- AMIRI BARAKA



London poet and film maker, Nadeem Din- Gabisi speaking, briefly, to our blog this week.


When I was a teenager in the 1970s,  Leroi Jones belonged to the generation of the Black Panthers ,  Malcolm X ,  Martin Luther King, Amilcar Cabral, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Mangaliso Sobukwe, Abdulrahman Babu, Kwame Nkrumah,  Mwalimu Nyerere , i.e. the liberation movement against colonialism and national dignity.

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Sunday, 5 April 2015

WOMEN ONLY MUSIC FESTIVALS- an opinion

The news that a new festival only dedicated to women is getting stronger in France, is extraordinarily,  special. Festival Les Femmes S'en Melent aims to promote women musicians only. I was watching its founder and journalists talking  on France 24.com TV on Easter weekend 2015.
 On one hand it is hurrrah for the anti discrimination window. Like having gigs ONLY for reggae or blacks or albinos or disabled or any group that has been sidelined and left out for ages.

Tanzania's bassist  Muhtaji,  daughter of the legendary Mbaraka Mwinshehe, on stage with Twanga Pepeta in 2010. Pic from Michuzi Blog

 One of those involved ( could not catch his name) said everything in the music industry is mainly, male dominated. Men players, engineers, promoters and women are oftentimes groupies, dolls, objects of pleasure, muse, etc. That the percentage of female musicians in festivals and gigs is very low compared to men. 
Agreed. 

A journalist added that women musicians are never taken seriously. Sold through magazine covers, paraded as beauties and objects of social attention.
Fine.
I watched, listened and pondered.
One side agreed.
Another side of me, questioned....
Let us look at Beyonce. One of the biggest selling female musicians today. She has an all female band.  But when she performs, the camera just sits on her. Images of her legs, face, her dancers and hips are magnified and zoomed  zillion times. 

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

MY RECENT BOOK- PRIOR by James Berger



Of shoulders like continents and  love in Ferrari



Many years ago when I first met Jim Berger in  Tanzania  we  shared art, music and literature constantly. He was one of many foreign teachers working at International School Moshi.
During those pre-internet days when there were no social networking forums,  this sort of open exchange was uncommon and quite uplifting for two young writers from totally different cultures.  I  thought he was a very abstract writer. We are talking 1981 and 1982.  As a young African author  I thought like (the rest of my generation ) that literature and art should serve a purpose.
Stimulate, educate, liberate. Message art. Bob Marley, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Gil Scott Heron, that type of line.


Back then,  my writing was still in its infancy.  I had been an active  journalist for around five years. Had  few poems published. Was in a music band called Sayari.  Had just won a BBC Prize in 1981......little going on yet... not a total beginner, nevertheless.

Fast forward,  thirty something years later and in stumbles James Berger’s “Prior” 2013 collection.  I don’t think James has changed. He is still writing the same way. It is me who has a different perspective. James Berger is now a senior lecturer at Yale University, a professor running workshops and classes on language and literature. The man is still the same, yes, but with few more tricks up his steadily, evolving sleeves. Yes. Jim Berger  in evolution. Plays trombone instead of guitar (like those Moshi days), married with kids.  
 James Berger in London, Summer 2014...

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

EWI -POETRY AWARDS NIGHT - AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CENTRE LONDON

Another super duper  Exiled Writers Ink! ...occasion.

Amnesty International  offices in  London.
 Hidden along a quite street ...in an area renowned for clubbing, young students, business and so on. But here we are seated talking of literature, rewards of literature, beauty of literature, lull and love of literature. Winners of literature... writing swimming pool.  Words power...




 Dr Jennifer Langer of EWI comperes the evening watched by Dr Fatieh Saudi- collecter of all the poems for the 2014 competition. As the dazzling evening hurtled, Dr Saudi also read a poem about the 1982 Lebanese bombing. Chilling memories.

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