Thursday, December 10, 2009

V oices from WordSlam 0|4 - JEFFREY JAIYEOLA

Before the Bronx
Ijala intro…

Hip hop came before the Bronx
Didn’t have a name but it had a form
Ijala and ewi over the talking drum
Will leave you all craving, begging for more
When hunters battle rapped, Ijala was born
Ewi the epic rhyme had you chanting along
Deep within our hearts there was a longing for God
We felt He was too far Edumare was pawned
For the deities and demons that were baying for blood
Cattle were sacrificed, we were playing along
They weren’t satisfied, thy demanded our sons
Art form, transformed by bad blood
Became the platform that fuelled the backdrop
Of the horror and the torture from inter-tribe wars
They sold us as slaves but we went with our song
Padlocked our lips but we still had a voice

Malu to re Jandon, Malu to re Yankee
O fi dun si ni, o di corned beef o!

Who said they taught us democracy?
We had it way back since the Oyo-mesi
Hmmmn…Oro Pesi
The Ayan was the DJ and his talking drums the MC
Along with seven councilors regulating autocracies
Oba to ba buru won ma nsi’gba fun ko lo ku
An empty calabash given as present to tyrants
Implied suicide, the king became his hangman
We also had our own three-tiers of government
The Oba, Olori-Ile, and in the middle the Baale
In Berlin they shared us in absentia
Deliberated our destinies but we were not there
Turned us to colonies, well God forgive them
Superior hominids, the way we view them
Don’t be fooled Sir, all men are equal
Put a cut on any man, what’s d colour of his serum?
The songs of our fathers always had a meaning
Regardless of the side that the crowd was leaning
With our art and our craft, we desired to see Him
We had the ileke in the place of bling-bling
Our forebears break-danced to the beats of bata
But now all we know is “shake it like that”
Whatever in the world happened to our psyche?
Break dance was banned by Raji-Rasaki
They tried to stop a movement in its rapid advances
Hip-hop had re-awakened in the 70’s Bronx
In our boarding school in the ‘80s, the news came to us
Dancing and flashing torches we scratched lockers with coins
To that African generation hip-hop was returned
African hip-hop is restating the obvious
It started from here, throw away your assumptions!

Author's Profile


Plumbline (Jaiyeola Jeffrey) is an uncanny blend. Geo scientist, Poet, Songwriter, Author and Hip Hop Rap/Spoken Word artist.... he was born in Lagos Nigeria,in his Lagos Island hometown (he will vehemently oppose you if you declare Lagos a 'No man's land').

As a kid, he was influenced by Local Poets like the late Mamman Vatsa and later on caught up with the works of the Late Ken Saro Wiwa. he also read almost anything he could lay his hands upon, including Yoruba poetry. Shakespare and a host of other poets would later make their mark on his mind. By the time he was in high school, he started writing his own rhymes and short stories which continued till the University. He had a career to pursue, and since no one would understand a Scientist with a passion for the arts, his pieces were only performed during his stints as Comedian/Musical Programme Anchorman.

A long hiatus followed, during which time he obtained a first degree as a Geologist and a Masters in Applied Geophysics.He would later pick up his pen with a passion to make his mark and contribute his own quota.

He performed at the Open Mic session of the last Wordslam 3 and Performs regularly at Spoken Word Events like Anthill 2.0, Chill and Relax, Taruwa and of recent, Bespoke Poetry.

Plumbline was involved in the Poetry For Charity Vol 1 and 2 Project along with other poets, which was compiled by Chiedu Ifeozo. He currently runs a blog called RANTINGS OF THE TALAKAWA, which he describes as Tantrums of the disenchanted.

Voices from WordSlam 0|4 - REZthapoet


The other time when I was out,
my bluff called to ask after me
checking to see if my self esteem is as he desired,
low like my hard-earned salary
because it pays bluff to see me maintain that status quo
my physical took (down) the message,
pending my return as I was gone in search of soul
this bluff, dictates
this bluff, indicates
what attitude is right,
at what magnitude is right
and at what angle they can be put up in the face
this bluff, ushers my caravan of wishful regrets
haunts me like a broke heart, who can’t (even) pay love back in debt
my bluff, is the child of the intercourse
between these winds and my cautions
born of extortions, a cheat
because he, has learnt making me calls on toll-free
so if you think (that) talk is cheap,
pick a phone and call my bluff

my bluff - tough, rough,
because, he is a bully
he, lives in my conscience,
as that voice of evil that pricks me in goodies
if actions were drums, then he’ll come in the form, of repercussions
his discussions’ excursions beyond boundaries of boredom
manifests like the sounds of fears from deep inside my nightmares
I dare, think before leaps
writing wrong scripts is relative,
he knows yet he’s trying to act a nemesis
trying to act, a genesis
of this fear
of that fear
of all that is and not fair
so please, if he calls back, tell him I am not here
tell him I sleep and slumber
I am of flesh and perfection only lies of yonder
that I’m putting him to defeat,
beneath my carpet, he will forever live

and let it be known that my mind is switching lines
and I’ll be fine because, he’ll never be able to call me again by these numbers

Meet the Author


Abdulrazaq Adebola Afolabi is a young spoken word poet also popularly known as REZthapoet (the penname by which he writes most times) with REZ being the shortened form of rezolution (resolution). He studied computer science at the University of Ilorin where he graduated in 2006. He has been writing poetry as a hobby for about 12 years now but did not start performance until 2007. He is presently recording his poetry CD collection and also compiling his poetry collection for publishing. He performs spoken word poetry weekly at different poetry events around Lagos metropolis, the notable ones being Konscious Poetry lounge, Taruwa, Poetry potter, the Anthill 2.0, Chill and Relax, at private Occasions (like weddings and birthdays) and also at some other poetry events. He is very active online on different poetry platforms like the (poetry portal) and he also has a large following on that predominantly make up a larger proportion of his online reading audience.

Voices from WordSlam 0|4 - Edaoto

Osaaa mo pe Yoruba nimi
mo je adulawo Ife sa lorirunmi
Osaa mo pe omo Awoyokun nimi oo
Lagos nigeria Ife sa na ti danran mi oo
Omo to so le nu o sapo ya ko ni
emi oni fowo osi juwe le iba mi
omo to so lenu osa po ya ko ni
emi oni fowo osi juwe le iyee mi

adulawo ni mi
osa gbooko mi
adulawo ni
osaa rawo mi
adulawo nimi
osaa gbo npa asa mi
oosaa gbohun enu mi oo

Our names tell stories
Our names tell stories
Our place get histories
Our place get histories
Dont let us forget our histories
cos in it lies our victories
Blackman dont let us forget our histories
cos in it lies our victories

Adulawo nimi etc

Our names tell stories
Our names tell stories
Our place get histories
Our place get histories
Dont let us forget our histories
cos in it lies our victories
Blackman dont let us forget our histories
cos in it lies our victories

Adulawo nimi etc

toba je adulawo nie
ko ye ko gbagbe asa re
toba je adulawo nie
ko ye ko gbagbe itan re
toba je adulawo nie
koye ko gbagbe esin re
to ba je adulawo niee
koye ko gbagbe oro agba awon adugbo re oo.

Voices from WordSlam 0|4 - CornerStone

'crazy world'
i looked though d window
i saw d widow
she cried bitterly ooh my child
bullet in d loin of d only begotten son as

he laid help silly in d pool of his blood does

who has to protested us have b hurting us

whata brutality in our city.

i don't wanna be here again
i don't wanna feel it again
i don't wanna see it again crazy world.

drop your arms
kill no your brodaman
peace is d chief thing we need in d world,

why nuclear weapons, why intimidation, why religious war,

why are destroying mankind
all fingers are not equal d same blood flows into dare veins if dare is love let it flow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

V oices from WordSlam 0|4 - Unche Nwadinachi


My ebony goddess
Idol of my heart
How come thou
So cursed with beauty

Dark luxuriant hair
Black shinny eyes
Well- shaped nose
Juicy red lips

Pointed lemons
Hot made hips
Oily spot free skin
Smooth straight legs

My black queen
Even Satan will fall
For you
And quench his hell
Just to woo you

My ebony goddess
Adorned with oil of “Elaku”
Your skin glows
With a dark ochre-coloured tinge
Sparkling like a stream
Glistening of a million stars at night
Your succulent thigh is the idol
Of eight hundred “foam factories
Only the artistic shape
Of your demarcated lips
Can inspire the sights of blind sculptors
The closeness of your cloaked nipples
Can incite the hunger
Of renowned lawyers for breast milk
Even infatuation for you
Do purify my canal addition
The vanity of your charming beauty
To me is a treasure of eternity
Every particle of your form
Bears a unique article of fulfillment
My ebony goddess

Meet the AUTHOR

UCHE UWADINACHI, born on the 3rd of march 1977 in lagos to christain parent Mr and Mrs Abel Evangeline Uwadinachi.

His early school education was at Jimoh Ojora Primary School Lagos and Sari Igaumu high school Lagos. Lagos State University Ojo was were he had his University education and did his National Youth Service in Nassarawa State.

Uche, a performance poet, hail from Imo state in Obowu Local Govement. He was the winner of ANA Lagos(Association of Nigerian Authors) Poetry Festival Prize 2006 and Pakistan June-poetrycraze online contest 2009. The author of 'SCAR in the HEART of pain' a poetry collection(2009) and a Former Editor of AJ city Express Newspaper.

He is a music artist of a two man band-kamazaiah(May and Flame), with an album in the market titled 'lifted'a gospel compilation under the sound factory label-music company of 'Nija lowa' by Omotola Jolade.

Also, he is a movie actor, featured in top Nigerian Movies such as; Real love(doctor), Love of my life(supervisor), Adam and Eve(detective), Missing Angel(ticket boy), You broke my heart(police officer), Haunted love(police officer), Vicious tunnel(police officer), Who kill dele(witness), Superstory(armrobber)and many others.

He was the President of Tourism Club Wamba (NYSC2007/2008) Nasarawa state, where he won a recommendation award in Nasarawa state for constructing an Ultra Modern Toilet and making of 60 sign posts in Government Science School Wamba, Nasarawa state.

Uche was the Cordinator of Miss Nigeria Entertainment 2007/2008. And directed in Isaiahfaces-a model agency. He is a music video creative who has worked with artistes like: Ucheboy, Image, Davina(Igo make am), Presh, Praise, Julius Agwu(Christmas), Xproject(Mobaomolo), Kunle Omoalaafin Orun,Azadus etc

He presently working as an Independent Researcher and TV Presenter in a music- documentary programme titled KONTO MUSIC.

AUTHOR'S Contact:


Mobile: +234(0)703 383 7733, +234(0)809 676 1410

Monday, December 7, 2009


ADE Bantu

Aye-Ola Mabiaku

Pictures from WordSlam IV

The fourth edition of the poetry slam was organized by Goethe-Institut Nigeria and Culture Advocates Caucus on November 28, 2009 at Goethe-Institut Nigeria in Victoria Island / Lagos. The evening, compèred by Yinka Davies and Yemi Oyewo, started with school kids reciting poems which they had developed in a workshop with German-Nigerian singer Adé Bantu. Afterwards, several notable spoken word artists seized the stage, including Papa English, Awoko, Edaoto and others. The “Open Mic” session gave upcoming artists a chance to perform in front of the audience. As the sun came down, the literature programme turned into an afrofunk concert when famous German-Nigerian singer Adé Bantu and his band went on stage.

WordSlam IV Poetry Slam

The success story of the poetry slam organized by Goethe-Institut Nigeria in collaboration with Culture Advocates Caucus continued: several notable poets showed the audience the true qualities of the art of the spoken word in Nigeria. The featured poets of “WordSlam IV” were: Uche Uwadinachi, Cornerstone, Ayodeji Akinpelu, Papa English, Funmi Aluko, Ayeola Mabiaku, Awoko, Edaoto and Muri Amulegbajo. The “Open Mind & Mic” session was, like in previous editions of “WordSlam”, giving members of the audience the chance to perform a short poem as well.

WordSlam IV Bantu Concert

The fourth edition of “WordSlam” culminated in a concert by famous German-Nigerian singer Adé Bantu and his band. Adé Bantu’s vibes – a mixture of hip-hop, reggae and afrofunk which he calls “the sound of fufu” – turned what started as a poetry performance into an exciting live concert in the evening. Bantu was raised in Lagos (Nigeria) and Cologne (Germany) and currently resides in both cities. This musician sees himself as an Afropean who is constantly inspired by both continents.

WordSlam IV School Outreach Programme

The “School Outreach Programme” gave poetry-interested school kids from Ajegunle and Ikoyi the opportunity to train their writing and performing skills with a great conductor: Adé Bantu. He was also featured in the fourth edition of “WordSlam”. Bantu showed the kids how to use rhythm and rhyme, how to act on a stage and how to capture an audience. The results of the workshop were displayed along the other performances on the “WordSlam” stage on November 28.

German-Nigerian afrofunk musician Adé Bantu, he played until late that night.

Poet Ayodeji Akinpelu on stage.

Children from Ireti Grammar School performing.

Singer Yinka Davies was one of the two compères for the evening.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

WordSlam IV... Poetry Goes To School

Inspiring Students to Speak Out
By Bayo Olupohunda

(Culled from The Guardian on Sunday, December 6, 2009)

ROBERT Frost's comment that "poetry is a way of taking life by the throat" perhaps best reflects the intentions of Goethe Institut Nigeria and Culture Advocates Caucus (CAC), organisers of the maiden edition of WordSlam IV School Outreach Programme.
Under the tag Schools' Spoken Word-Poetry Workshop, a major focus for the fourth in the Wordslam series is to work with students and teenagers in Nigerian schools on performance poetry with the future plan being that "Spoken word" and "poetry slams" will become popular tools for "building up the creative expression and opening up the minds and heads of the youth towards mobilising them to become active citizens in the democratic process", according to the CAC.
Thus, when I was asked to coordinate the School Outreach Programme, which was facilitated by the Nigerian-German international performing artiste Ade Adekoya aka Bantu, I became instantly excited given my professional understanding -- as an educator -- of the immense benefit the programme holds for students' academic training and the boost the programme will give schools' curricula.
A week earlier, the first leg of the workshop for schools had been held in the Ajegunle part of the state with students from about five schools located in the Tolu Schools Complex, Olodi Apapa, where Ade Bantu and the Poet-activist, Dagga Tollar had held some rewarding spoken word-poetry writing sessions with participating students on various thematic concerns. The Lagos Island project with Ireti Grammar School Falomo students was the second leg, and was no less engaging.
My experience with schools has shown that most teachers are ill-equipped to teach spoken word-poetry. Literature teachers most times regurgitate the works of known poets in a boring and mechanical manner without teaching students how to express themselves poetically; this has contributed to the lull in poetry writing and performance among these age groups, a gap the organisers of the WordSlam School Outreach Programme hope to now bridge with the promised yearly programme in Nigerian schools.

...Why Students Need Spoken Word-Poetry

The entry point for today's youth has been hip-hop music. Using the rhythm of this musical style, youth have been encouraged to start writing and performing poetry. This is a relatively short jump for many teenagers, who have grown up on hip hop, but a huge leap from what they had always thought poetry was limited to. Through poetry and spoken word, participating students in the WordSlam sessions, were encouraged to view their daily lives as an inspiration and material for their work.

They were also made to realize that throughout history, poetry has been expressed in many ways, and not just the cold, boring ways that they had become familiar with the literary genre in school.

This new cultural phenomenon among teenagers, helped by the success of the WordSlam IV School Outreach Programme attempted to give a voice to young people who have found much of the literature and the poetry they encounter, especially in school, to be irrelevant to their lives, and sometimes an insult to their cultural and ethnic identity.

This type of poetry appeals to students because it allows them to express themselves in their own language, and gives them the chance to address issues that they find important. The workshop provided a good opportunity for self-expression.

Poetry necessitated scratching below the surface, plumbing emotions students are often afraid to share with their peers. The students revealed long-hidden troubles they'd been otherwise reluctant to divulge. I noticed a closer sense of community forming in a classroom, where students regularly share their own poetry.

Through the medium of poetry and given their social background, the students more easily understood and identified with their classmates' sadness, fear, loneliness, rage, excitement, awe and pleasure. Poetry also helped the students define who they are. Poetry is a much freer form than prose writing.

Even students with limited language skills can excel in poetry. The workshops promoted individuality and creativity; it allows students to expand their understanding of what they are writing. The environment established for the poetry workshop valued and appreciated students' different ideas and allowed them to express original thinking.

Some students as seen from Tolu school were allowed to write several poems, while others only wrote one as found among the Ireti Grammar school students. Throughout the poetry writing, a wide variety of art supplies were provided. The students were allowed to use these materials both during poetry writing and vignette creating. The materials afforded the class with the means to fully express their own feelings and ideas in the poetry.

At the workshop, students felt more comfortable undertaking a topic that might otherwise be intimidating. In addition, publishing the students' work validates their role as both a writer and an artist, roles with which many of them did not identify prior to the workshop. This new role helped the students to recognize that what they do in school is important and affects their lives.
The students were given the opportunity to share their writing at the end of the workshop and performed them at Goethe Institut during the Wordslam event on Saturday. Students who ordinarily pass on the chance to share their work read their poems. Each student was applauded for his or her writing and many offered compliments.

The responses of the audience as the students presented their poems allowed them to understand their work is important and they are capable of producing art that others appreciate.

This lesson was exciting and enjoyable for both students to experience and Ade Bantu to teach. I knew it would be an engaging lesson and the students could feel the enthusiasm and as it spread. He was able to watch the class generate good ideas, express those ideas on paper in various forms of poetry and compile them into a variety of unique experience.

The Wordslam School Outreach Programme will ultimately encourage students to write about and discuss issues relevant to their lives. It will give them writing prompts that seek to develop their own voice and urge them to confront modern-day social issues head-on. It will also help in harnessing the potentials of students-poets, which will form the bulk of generation next spoken word- poets. The revolution has begun.

Ade Bantu: Portrait of the Artist as a Teacher

Ade Bantu the Nigeria-Germany born international artiste, who facilitated the two workshops for students in both schools, had a firm grasp of the subject and the activities in the classroom. He took the students through the various stages of spoken word-poetry writing, yet letting them express their minds freely. The result was later seen at the Wordslam IV show at Goethe Institut on Saturday November, 28 where students made passionate spoken word-poetry presentations with various themes to the delight of the audience.

He demonstrated an understanding of the limitations of the students in grasping concept taught. His performance at the workshop showed an artiste, who is at home with the teaching of spoken word poetry to students incorporating various concepts of poetry writing in form, content, rhymes etc.

Olupohunda educator and writer, coordinated the Ikoyi leg of the Wordslam IV School Outreach Project.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ade Bantu, Azadus, Sage & Others in a Concert this SATURDAY

WordSlam is here like plane
Come let's fly in poetry like bird,
Poetry Slam is here again
Let's put our fun in order, not tamed!

This Saturday, the performance stage in the premises of the Goethe Institut @ 10 Ozumba Mbadiwe, opp 1004 Flats, will be mounted by artistes of VIBES and SWAGGER, starting from 3p.m prompt.

Sage Has.son, Uche Nwadinachi, Ayodele Akinpelu, Awoko, Aye-ola Mabiaku, Funmi Aluko, Cornerstone, Edaoto and several other spoken word artistes will take the central stage at the early hours of the day.

Also, some collected students from our "School Outreach Programme" will be presented to the audience and art community.

Ade Bantu, the Ni-German ( Nigerian-German) will then take you on a musical tour in body and soul with his Band.

Azadus is a guest on Ade Bantu's stage, so don't miss the fun and celebration of poetry and music.

ENTRY It's absolutely FREE
And seats are surely LIMITED


Monday, November 23, 2009

WordSlam IV - School Outreach Programme Phase 2

The second phase of the School Outreach Programme, a school poetry workshop kick-off today on the Island. The workshop started at about 1p.m at Ireti Grammar School, Ikoyi, today, Nov 23rd, 2009 and will end on the Nov 25th, 2009.

The first phase which held last week at the Bola Ige Millennium School in Tolu School Complex, Ajegunle was indeed interesting as Ade Bantu took the students through the usage of rhyme and rhythm in poetry and also the ethics of poetry performance. Dagga Tolar - the Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Lagos Chapter and the popular AJ poet, was the host and coordinator of the wordshop.

As we start the Island phase of the workshop today, we hope to have an interesting, educating and interacting sections with the Ireti Grammar School Students for the rest of the days as we did had with the Ajegunle students.

Be rest assured that Nov 28th is going to be the bomb as Azadus has shown his interest in joining the main act, Ade Bantu, during the Concert segment of the day.

Countdown to WordSlam IV

We announced the 4th edition of the biggest poetry slam in Nigeria - WordSlam - last month and we are happy to let you know that we received considerably large amount of submission.

The School Outreach Programme that is an integral of this edition of the project has been quite interesting and educating with the Ajegunle students. We will be on the Island next week to continue the workshop.

It's barely 8 days to go. Next week Saturday is the performance day at the Goethe – Institut.

Concert Evening:
Sat, Nov 28, 3:00pm

Goethe-Institut Nigeria
10 Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue,
opp. 1004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Snacks and Refreshments will be offered.

Ade Bantu’s vibes – a mixture of hip-hop, reggae and afrofunk, which he calls “the sound of fufu” - will turn what started as a poetry performance into an exciting live concert in the evening. We invite you to explore the transitions between spoken and sung words and to be part of a unique rhythmic experience.

Put it
On your diary
Save it
In the reminder
On your phone…
Tell it
To a friend
Who will not
Forget it
And remind you
Of it…
Please -
don’t miss it!
It's WordSlam!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

WORDSLAM 0|4 - School Outreach Programme

Building on the success of previous editions of WordSlam, Goethe Institut and Culture Advocates Caucus take poetry to secondary schools under the title: School Outreach Programme.

The 3-day workshop started on Wednesday, November 18, in Ajegunle with more than forty students of extreme intelligence and it will end today. With this workshop, Ajegunle students have proven to be among the best by all standards.

All things been equal, we hope to open another 3-day workshop on the Island next week prior the main event on November 28 at Goethe-Institut starting at 3:00pm.

This edition of WORDSLAM is going to be the best. Among the featured poets will be renown performers like Sage Has.son, Ayeola Mabiaku and Ayodeji Akinpelu. Many more will mount the stage ranging from different backgrounds like rap, reggae, classic poetry to performers in the tradition of griots. The “Open Mind & Mic” session will, like in previous editions of “WordSlam”, give members of the audience the chance to perform a short poem as well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WORDslam 0|4

Goethe-Institut Nigeria and Culture Advocates Caucus
cordially invite you to

WordSlam IV Presents Bantu & Band
Poetry Slam & Concert

The success story of WordSlam continues with its fourth edition including new features: As in the last three editions, WordSlam IV will start offering a platform for notable spoken word artists from all over Nigeria and will culminate in a concert of German-Nigerian musician Ade Bantu and his band. This edition of the poetry slam reaches out to the youth; the results of a workshop with secondary schools, conducted by Bantu himself, will be presented along other performances by poets, lyricists and modern griots. Ade Bantu’s vibes – a mixture of hip-hop, reggae and afro-funk which he calls “the sound of fufu” - will turn what started as a poetry performance into an exciting live concert in the evening. We invite you to explore the transitions between spoken and sung words and to be part of a unique rhythmic experience.

Concert Evening:
Sat, Nov 28, 3:00pm

Goethe-Institut Nigeria
10 Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue,
opp. 1004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos

Snacks and Refreshments will be offered.

Related Websites:

WordSlam:, Bantu Crew:
For further information, please contact:
phone: 01 774 6888, 01 461 3416, e-mail:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Call for Participation at WORDSLAM 4

Dear Poets,

The organizers of WordSlam (Culture Advocates Caucus & Goethe Institut, Nigeria) are delighted to inform poets and spokenword artistes that the 4th edition of a feast of poetic flight - desired to encourage young people to express themselves through the medium of poetry, has been scheduled for the last week of November 2009.

Also, this is a call for participation at the event, which we hope will be more exciting than the previous editions.

Should you will to be part of this event, bear in mind that WORDSLAM is a platform for the presentation of live poetry performances, featuring all the tendencies of our traditional folk poetry rendition. The subjects covered by this form of poetry rendition include everyday experiences, history, culture, religion, politics and many others.

Please let us know your intention on or before 31st October 2009. Send in at least two poems you would like to perform, plus a short biography of 200 words about yourself and your career.

As we prepare for the most exciting edition of WordSalm, we bid you an atmosphere of eternal muse.

Yours faithfully,

Aderemi Adegbite
Project Coordinator,
Culture Advocates Caucus

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Music and verse at Word Slam III

By Obidike Okafor
March 2, 2009

The Atlantic Ocean served as the perfect backdrop for Word Slam III, held on February 21 at the Goethe Institut, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event titled, the "Third incarnation of the Poetry Slam," was to consolidate the gains of the last two editions, held in July and September last year.

This third edition featured, for the first time, a two-day workshop at Studio 868 on Victoria Island, led by poet Lari Williams and Germany-based musician, Ade Bantu. A first-time participant at Word Slam, Bantu also anchored the programme, which featured many performers, including: Sage Hasson, Jumoke Verissimo, Awoko, Uche Nwadinachi, Iquo Eke, Segun Eluyemi, Dagga Tolar, Cornerstone and Edaoto.

The opening performance was by a brother and sister, the sister giving a rendition in Yoruba while her brother accompanied on the talking drum. The next performer, Francesca, was also a first timer. She recited a poem titled, "Do You Know My Mother?" It was powerful, but the audience seemed more drawn to her pronunciation of Mother (which sounded like "mada").

Next, Kelechi performed "Colourless," though the poem had little by way of meaning, with phrases like "Colourless yearns for an identity." His performance detracted from whatever he was trying to say somewhat, as he kept taking nervous glances at his paper. Brainstorm was next to step up, with a smooth transition from rap to poetry and back again.

Then the experienced performance poets took over. Uche Nwadinachi, 2006 ANA poetry winner, recited "Ebony Goddess," directed at a beautiful female from the audience. "Even if Satan falls for you/ I will go to hell just to date you." He followed with "Teach Me"--a poem name-checking the slain Dele Giwa and Bola Ige.

Iquo Eke, a performance poet who has participated in events like Poetry Potter, held the audience spellbound with her sensuous poem, "Earth, Wind and Fire." It comes with lines like "In you, with you/ I catch fire, I burn/ You are the wind that fans my passion to a raging inferno." Her second piece, "I am" talked about her roles as a poet, child, friend, wife and mother.

Ayodeji who came on after Eke, was introduced by Ade Bantu as the rapper who wears agbada. He started with rap and then switched to poetry, talking about leaving a legacy that will outlive him. Segun Eluyemi thrilled guests with his ‘nose job'-a unique ability to play the harmonica and flute through his nose.

After an interlude provided by the Crown Troupe of Africa, Word Slam opened to unscheduled performers in the Open Mic. Many of the aspiring poets that rose to the Open Mic challenge were students of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University and the University of Lagos.

One of the highlights of the event was a segment featuring Jumoke Verissimo, performance poet and author of "I Am Memory", rendering snippets from "Ajani."

Then it was a rain of mostly reggae-inclined performers who used the power of the spoken word not only in their poetry but music too. From Dagga Tolar, to Papa English and Cornerstone, the Rastafarian spirit was well represented. The recurrent themes in the songs were issues of society, poverty and politics. Awoko, who is now a regular (he featured in Word Slam II), gave a powerful performance with his flute and song in Yoruba and English.

The strong hinge on Africaness gave his work a strong bite that made an impact on the audience. Lari Williams was also on hand to give an offering of a short poem. Sage Has.son got the audience on its feet with words that were interesting, funny, and in one case, leaning towards the explicit. Edaoto brought the house down with Afrobeat sounds, his electric display on stage got people dancing till it was time to go home.

Ade Bantu said he was pleasantly surprised by the creativity and originality on display at Word Slam III. "At first I was sceptical, but now, I feel honoured to have been the presenter of this programme," he said. The outstanding poets will help spread the art of live poetry performances in schools.

Writers Toni Kan and Jude Dibia also graced the event, as did Afrobeat musician Seyi Solagade who said, "Poetry is a way of expressing the beauty of life."

Culled from

Monday, February 23, 2009


• Fraternity of the poetesses from left Nonnie, Jumoke, Iquo and Chinneye

• The veteran, Lari Williams

• Uche Nwadinachi

•Dagga Tolar

•Chinneye with fellow Open Mic & Mind poets

• The ecletic rapster, poet Ayodeji Akinpelu

• The spoken word exponent, Sage and friend

Rapturous excitement over rap poetry at WordSlam

By Anote Ajeluorou

IT was a perfect scene for a perfect occasion reminiscent of a moonlight tale at the fireside in the village. However, there were no old men or women conducting affairs here. Only one old man was present and he took the stage when the young ones had held sway; perhaps, a sign of times. The only regret was that it was an African tale being told on a foreign ground. Aside that, the first edition of Word Slam this year was a huge success.

Word Slam III is a live performance of poetry, an open reading and oral performance that brings poets and poetry fans alike together to enjoy the rich tradition of a verbalised art form. And at the Geothe Institut on Victoria Island last Saturday, a large number of Nigerian youths gathered to give expression to their repertoire of poetry to an appreciative audience. There was much to savour by the huge audience in the various readings and performances. The god of poetry walked tall on stage that evening under a tree on an evening with a stretch of water behind the podium to add picturesque excitement.

If anything poetry is the least beloved form among the three literary forms. Prose fiction takes centre stage while drama follows. Poetry is usually seen as being too intellectual and academic. But the evening in view lost that boundary. It was an evening where poetry came down from its exalted height and shook hands and smiled with all.

With a scintilating opening of an oriki chant by Turayo with Seun Idowu on the drum, the show got underway. And from one performer to the next, hiphop rap seemed such a poor imitation of oral performance. Then Fransisca thrilled the audience to 'Do you know my mother?', where a mother's supremacy was re-enacted. Kelechi's 'Colourless' tells of a world that should be without needless boundaries for a free flow of humanity and oneness. Brainstorm added his 'Huzler' angle to the performance to address a world locked in hard times and how a probable could be found way out of the mess.

Award winning poet Uche Nwadinachi added a romantic touch to a gathering excitement when he performed his 'Ebony Goddess'. When he conducted an ebony black lady to the podium and knelt before her to tell of his fervent love for her, the audience exploded in wild ecstasy. Then he sang, also of love with a lady to a gathering dusk that heightened his romantic act.

During the interlude, Ade Bantu, Germany-based Nigerian rap artist, had commented on the talent shown by the different performers at the workshop he conducted a few days before. He said Nigerians youths were highly talented and called for support for them so they could excel. Instead of engaging in 'Yahoozee' activities, he said, youths could actually be better preoccupied horning their talent as wordsmiths. "I'm pleasantly surprised at young people performing poetry," he enthused. "It is something creative and away from Yahoozee; they need to be supported so they can do their own thing."

But it was budding stage-impresario Segun Adefila who put the performance in philosophical and Afro-centric perspectives. He also debunked the notion that poetry is too intellectual or academic. Adefila opined that African has been taken out of its roots and is now couched in European guises. This, he explained was what was responsible for poetry's seeming difficulty, and why a lot of people tended to run away from it.

Poetry, he said, was an African thing with its roots firmly rooted in African culture. The proverbs, stories and words of wisdom, he said, had African origin until colonial mentality rob us of them all. He said, "Our fathers brought poetry, expressed themselves in poetry; the proverbs, the stories and witty sayings have always been African. Now we're doing it under a tree, like the good old days; it's the heartbeat of our people, to communicate and connect with our people. But the written one is colonial poetry; and we're performing it here. Goethe is reviving our own poetry, it's funny. What is the National Theatre doing?

"So, young people would want to be part of the revolution at giving back poetry to the people, giving back their voice to them."

Dagga Tolar, teacher and Ajegunle community activist agreed with Adefila. But he went further to say that the pop culture was a dead one and that it was natural for youths to migrate to a more fulfilling, purer field, which poetry offered. "When you chain people down for far too long, they begin to express themselves. Hiphop is one-directional; now poetry makes a break from that direction; it's capable of turning this country around. There's hope for the future with this break from the dirt that is hiphop."

Another young poet Efe Paul Azino, who preformed 'In fellowship with the masses', which earned him a loud ovation, stated that Africans have a natural knack for the arts and that the young ones were at its behest. He also echoed Adefila in affirming that poetry has its origin in African thought process. "The spoken word or poetry evolved from us; it's a natural thing for us. People love poetry; it's entertaining and inspiring and easy to identify with," he said.

Elizabeth Hasselgren, an American expatriate found the performance interesting. As a scientist, she said, it was refreshing to see poetry being spoken live.

For Jumoke Verissimo, a poet and copywriter, times have changed and poetry was no longer dreaded as before. She was confident Nigeria would produce the next poet laureate in the world given the outpouring of works coming out everyday. Verissimo also felt that the session was a way of gauging the depths of feelings amongst us, how our environment was treating us and how we were responding to it. "It's a way of trusting people to listen to our different woes," she said. "There's a lot of sad poetry today; it's in response to our psychology. Perhaps with development, a poet laureate might come from Nigeria. Word Slam is beyond rap or hiphop; it's not just about loud music but thinking deep. There's the purity of the mind in poetry."

Verissimo touched on one important point in her summation. It was the depth of themes the various poetry performers dwelt on. There was love and there was what veteran actor, Lari Williams termed 'revolutionary' poetry. Literature is a reflection of life; there was an abundance of that all through the evening as various aspects of Nigerian life was put on display. And as Verissimo commented, it was the 'woes' of Nigerians that were mostly on display, the struggles that sometimes almost amounted to nothing. Perhaps, it was Adefila's 'Malu's Dilemma' a captivating performance that best captured it, of a nation stuck in under-development, of a people toiling vainly to make ends meet. It was a sombre mood interspersed with love and emotive pieces. So that while the performances were themselves a thrilling experience, they were also a sad commentary on our lives, which appears to be half-lived under the grueling circumstances and times we live in.

But there were light-hearted moments as well. Williams' performance of 'Lone walk' from his new collection Heartlines of Drumcall had the trapping of love under the moonlight night. Also Iquo Abasi Eke's 'Earth, Wind and Fire' pulled not a few heart-strings as the audience ululated to its powerful emotional suggestions. Williams also advised young ones to take time to study grammar properly so as not to have a hard time with poetry, which he said posed a problem to most students because they were careless when studying it.

There was background music that accompanied all the performances to give them authentic setting for oral performances of old. Talking drum, guitar and the keyboard were mellow and never interfered with the spoken word.

Word Slam III was a production of Culture Advocate Caucus and hosted by the German Cultural Centre, Goethe-Institut. It is the plan of the organisers that excelling poets from the performance will be deployed to schools to assist in grooming students in the delicate art of live poetry performance. This, they also hope, will help to make poetry a lovable subject to students, who otherwise dread poetry. There was also a feeling of eagerness from all quarters about the next edition of Word Slam. Performers came all the way from Awka in Anambra and Kaduna states just to be part of the literary feast.

Culled from: The Guardian Newspaper
23rd February, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009


Yes, tomorrow is the main-day for WORDSLAM.

After the 2-day Pre-WORDSLAM Workshop, all the participants, both performers and open-mic artistes confirmed that this edition of the project is going to the best so far.

What else do expect from a conductor like Ade Bantu, who took the artistes through a hectic journey of rudimentary of performance poetry merged with rhythm. The Nigerian-German artiste, perfected the arts of the artistes on the first day of the WORKSHOP.

Clarity was the focal-point of Lari Williams',MFR, instruction during day two of the WORKSHOP. Soft language, rhyme and rhythm with body-language and stage presence were all said to be the features of performance-poetry, by the renowned poet.

Indeed, you cannot expect nothing more than fantastic performances TOMORROW at the GOETHE-INSTITUT! Come and as experience Spoken-word, Poetry and Music in a SPECIAL way.


Time: 3 p.m PROMPT



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

WORDSLAM 3 with a new PHASE

At the beginning of the this movement, sometime last year (July 5,2008), Culture Advocates Caucus with its partner, Goethe-Institut, promised to take the initiative tagged: WordSlam...A Feast of Poetic Flights, to the street by making it a quarterly event. Then, the maiden edition which, featured poets such as Akeem Lasisi, Iquo Eke, Edaoto, Jumoke Verissimo, Sage Has.son, Cornerstone, Muri Amulegboja, Awoko and Dagga Tolar was held within the premises of Goethe-Institut — the German Cultural Centre on the Victoria Island. Even though the rains threatened to drive the enthusiastic audience off their seats, the sonorous voices of the chanters, the irrepressible messages of the poets and the heavy musicality of the live bands glued them to their seats, not minding whether their clothes got wet or not. The first edition of WordSlam was an amazing success as was attested by the scores of media reports that trailed it, and the resounding applause it
generated from the audience – applause that reverberated long after the light had gone out and far away from the venue of that maiden edition.

The Second edition held on September 13th, 2008, fulfilled the promise of the CAC and Goethe-Institut by putting poetry back on the streets of Nigeria and Africa in general. It held in a carnivalesque ambience of the open air of the Sarmakand Tree at the National Theatre. Again, there was rain, but the feast was just too robust and delicious to be abandoned by the audience that even came from as far as Ibadan in Oyo State and Ile Ife in Osun State. Thus the feast of poetic flights had in so short a time wormed its way into the heart of the Lagos literary circle.

This edition, the third ritual of the WordSlam, is here to consolidate on the gains of the past two editions, and to impress it on the public that Poetry can indeed leap out of the cold pages of the print and become a delicacy in the mental palate of the audience. It will parade five artistes from the maiden edition, and also introduce six artistes selected from the OPEN MIND & MIC SESSION of the past second edition. These artistes include Sage Has.son, Edaoto, Dagga Tolar, Cornerstone, Awoko; Iquo Eke, Jumoke Verissimo, Ayodeji Akinpelu, Uche Nwadinachi, Segun Eluyemi, Michael etc. There will also be a much rebranded OPEN MIND & MIC session – designed to fish out new, vibrant voices that will go into the next stage.

Goethe-Institut and Culture Advocates Caucus have perfected plans to take WordSlam brand of poetry to schools in the spirit of catch-them-young and building the voices of the future. “Education is primary to the WordSlam and its projections, says a spokesman for the CAC.

To start in this new direction, this edition of the project experimented with a 2-day Poetry Workshop, which had its participants drawn major-ly from departments of Literature and English in higher institutions as well as young poets ambitious of making a mark in the genre. Veteran actor, life poetry exponent, Lari Williams, and the Germany-based popular literary musician, whose music draws heavily on poetic chants, Ade Bantu, ran the Workshop.

The organizers also plan that excelling poets from the WordSlam project will eventually be deployed to schools to assist with grooming the students in the art of life poetry performances.

While the dream flowers, you are welcome to yet another feast of poetic flights.

Aderemi Adegbite
Stage Manager,


Time is running

Poets are preparing

Guests are longing...

To catch their groove at WORDSLAM 3 billed for 21st February, this coming Saturday. But before the main event, the performance day, there will be a 2-day WORKSHOP for poets, lyricists and musicians at STUDIO 868.


DAY 1: The renowned performance-poet, LARI WILLIAMS will take the stage to teach performance poetry in accordance with rhythm.

TIME: 10 a.m - 5p.m

DAY 2: The Nigerian-German musician, ADE BANTU will continue from where LARI WILLIAMS dropped anchor. So be prepared.

TIME: 10 a.m - 5p.m

VENUE: STUDIO 868, Bishop Aboyade-cole, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

RSVP: 08022016495