The evening of Saturday 13 August 2011 saw a host of poets and singers come together for a showcase entitled “This Is my Beat”. In aid of Uniq the poets debut EP “Speaking what you thinking” (out now on iTunes). I have to be honest prior to the event I had not even heard of Uniq or any of the other performers on the bill (with the exception of Chaleboy!) But by the end of the evening each and every one of them had made a lasting impression on me. The intimate setting of the Lost theatre on Wandsworth Road, London was the venue for an event which would prove to be personal, thought provoking and inspiring.
Uniq the poet opened the event with a video clip titled the same as her EP “Speak what your thinking”. It was a brief introduction that would set the tone for the evening; she then proceeded to give the audience an insight into how and when she began writing poetry when she recited a piece titled “one year old”. She talked about her first performance at Corks wine bar and her second gig in Aldgate east and her progression in between.
Next to take the stage was Comfort (Art without apology). She recited a piece titled “I want a man” informing us all that she wanted a hardworking, giving and sharing man. What was interesting about her performance was that she also looked at the qualities that men look for in a woman and that women forget that they have never been a man thus do not know how it feels like to be one !. It was a commanding, confident and passionate performance that earned her raptous applause.
The next half an hour or so was all about Uniq as she delivered sensitive and personal performances. “Wait a second” ( a video clip which starred Chaleboy as the object of her affection) told of the familiar scenario of a girl seeing a guy she fancies and the thoughts that run through her mind. “Why am I awake” was tad more serious as Uniq highlighted the issue of being suicidal due to insecurities and lack of acceptance. Both pieces were very thought provoking.
So to the interlude where the energetic host, Mr Cee (very funny guy!) led the audience in a debate about the recent riots in the UK. Oh yes! There was no getting away from the debate even in a relaxed setting like this. A certain David Starkey (Historian who claims white people in the UK are becoming black and this has played a part in the recent unrest!) came in for a considerable amount of stick.
Back to the action and by this time the theatre had steadily begun to fill up. The next performer to take the stage was M’jaiy Chayil a young lady who told us about the god in her, in her piece “God in me”. She talked about how her body is a temple and how she would therefore treat it as such. Lyrically this young lady was amazing and touched on issues that would resonate with thousands of young women up and down the country, another very impressive performance.
As the night went on you somehow knew it would turn more musical with the energetic band on stage. Thus right on queue came Karl Nova (rapper/poet) with the words “More than just music” emblazoned on his sweater. He upped the Tempo with a track that told us about his faith in god with the aptly named “The bridge (Jesus is the bridge)” at first you could have been forgiven for thinking he was singing the nursery rhyme “London bridge is falling down” such was the similar melody but the focus on Jesus soon became apparent.
The rap theme continued somewhat with the introduction of Tshaka Campbell (a man who claims he is not an MC, hmmmm……). I say this because such was his lyrical prowess and speed of delivery (could have easily won the award for the fastest poet alive!) you did need some convincing. A poet who was born in Greenwich, London but grew up in the USA gave a mind blowing performance as he pricked at the conscious of the audience as he touched on a range of issues.
Comedy then took centre stage as comedian Ms Kat Francois gave an energetic performance as she too touched on the riots and the parental generation gap. Rioters were also the butt of her jokes but it was all in good taste and she was very funny!
Unique was soon back on stage showing us more of her talents by taking to the drums and then performing a duet with one Sian Thomas as they did a rendition the popular Jill Scott track “Golden”. Sian’s powerful vocals were noticeable and had me and others wanting to hear more.
As ever the MeFiRi Ghana team were in the house and Joseph Aninkwa took to the stage to give a short presentation on the brand and also the forthcoming WAM Campaign 2011 ( What about me ? remember it’s not about you!). Which was very well received by the audience and Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka (Co-founder of Mefiri Ghana) rendition of the migraine skank drew laughter from the crowd.
The Ghanaian theme continued as Chaleboy informed the crowd his love for Supermalt. “If Supermalt be the language of love drink on” he told us as he revealed the supermalt branded t-shirt he was wearing!. It was a light hearted piece which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. The penultimate act saw Karl Nova return to the stage with the godly theme and had the audience feeling like they were at church with his rendition of the “you are the most high god”.
Ultimately the evening was about Uniq and as she took us through the final piece on her love for Nando’s peri per chicken and the fact that they don’t deliver! The night had almost come to an end, all that was left was for her to salute the crowd (there was special praise for her mother). However one last surprise was in store as all the acts joined Uniq and her mother on stage to sing her happy birthday. It capped a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Ben Jk Anim-Antwi
Below are details of where you can find out more about the acts that appeared on the evening;
Karl Nova; www.twitter.com/karlnova
Kat Francois; www.Katfrancois.com
Tshaka Campbell; www.naturalink.com
M’Jaiy Chayil; www.twitter.com/M’Jaiychayil
Sian Thomas; www.twitter.com/sianthomasmusic