On Tuesday March 4, Cape Town packed out Straight, No Chaser in Buitenkant Street for Tongue Fu at Future […]
On Tuesday March 4, Cape Town packed out Straight, No Chaser in Buitenkant Street for Tongue Fu at Future Nostalgia. The event was presented by British Council Connect ZA in partnership with Poetica at Open Book Festival.
Chris Redmond – founder and host of Tongue Fu – explained the concept: “you mix the music and the words when we do Tongue Fu”. A live band played improvised music in response to poets words and performances. And what magic was created in the moment. The band comprised of Tongue Fu stalwart, Arthur Lea, from the UK, on keyboard and Cape Town’s own Kesivan Naidoo on drums, Shane Cooper on double bass and Reza Khota on guitar.
The poets brought their A-game – with emerging artist Koleka Putuma starting the feature line-up. Putuma commanded the band with ease and the humour in her poetry allowed us to open up and take in her rightly challenging subject matter.
Joburg-poet Afurakan (co-founder of Word N Sound, who were a key partner in bringing Tongue Fu to SA) took up the guest slot. He delivered a sublime performance, his words moving effortlessly between and through the music.
Khoisan poet and storyteller Jethro Louw brought an ancient presence to the stage, taking us on a tour of the urban setting through new eyes. He also called Afrikaans emcee Maniak to the stage, for their upbeat track about Cape Town summer.
Malika Ndlovu brought us home in her signature mix of words delivered with grace, deep passion and fire. Ndlovu is a renowned South African poet and performer, whose work has paved the way for many of us who are working in the field today. Ndlovu’s words come from a place of deep grace, and her performances are driven by her innate connection to the words themselves and the messages they hold.
And then there was the band…how does one encapsulate with words, what these four giants achieved? Arthur Lea met Shane, Reza and Kesivan during soundcheck. There was no rehearsal. And with each poet who stepped to the mic and gave instructions on the kind of soundtrack they were looking for, the musicians created intricate soundscapes, listening intently not only to each other, but to the words which guided them. It is astounding what is possible when this level of listening happens – both to each other and to the respective art forms. A truly amazing night of poetry and music.
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