About Me

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Choreopoet, Performer - of song, music,poetry playwright,director,publisher, composer,multi-media artist, journalist, blogger, creative visionary arts, cultural activist, sojourner, urban griot,chamelon dreamer

Monday, 30 November 2009

Identity the compass & the chamelon

I listened to a wonderful turkish woman ella a novelist talk about the act of writing as channelling, women as storytellers and carrying on the oral tradition- personifiying Istanbul as woman in her books, the idea of being a nomad and quoting Rumi that 'identity is like a compass' e.g. I am rooted by one leg of the compass in my jamaican antiguan mandinka akan heritage working class englishess and the other leg a libertine bohemian nomad gypsy shifting completely round a global world - shapeshifting and weaving many different strands - ellas conversation continued with a geologist who had studied and written about the story of sand its strange quirks longevity on the planet and its ubiquitousness the different materials it is made up of whether it is from a cold climate or a more tropical one - sand moves around in so many ways I always think of a desert scene when I conceive of this piece deserts are very poetic a place so meaningful with much resonance - storytelling magic and mystery in themselves with secrets hidden and revealed I love the shifitng forms that form the movement of desert and therefore its rhythm there is a macro and micro to this rhythm in everything daily rituals -rhythm in seemingy simple movements of our life our own unique movements I wan to explore to know my own chamelon dance I am a chamelon who dreams

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Those that came before womens art 20th century

I splurged extravantly on a book on womans art by tashen yesterday and what a rich purchase it turned out to be despite the financial tightrope currently so many individual women artists of the 20th century women of colour of were noticeable by their absence bar one or two - american women dominate (is it about size available art markets, educational institutions teaching feminism etc.?) but I found alot of the european work a lot stronger more risky in some cases - so much about the body, inside out , reshaping spaces, shifting the perceptions of things, reworking and crafting (some of this is very hard work !) the way audiences particpate- small to large scale works and the use of different narratives -it is the narrative bit that interests me the most and the use of technology in particular the use of artifcial light, patterns and different urban contexts I am still exploring a bespoke language of movement dance and rituals its importance what it creates and how this weaves with language words and of course music - setting location and context how they are all interdependent most of all the forging of a new way of communciation specific to the ' isms - (no order) middle aged black woman working class polysexual 'invisiblly' disabled, second generation jamtiguan english

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Grist to the mill - University Symposium

I am pleased to be selected and invited to take part in a Live Arts Program as part of a Leicester University Symposium - titled Materialism vs Intangibility it will allow me to share some ideas, work in progress about the piece and develop it further in terms of how those ideas are delivered and received - contested spaces i.e poetic theatre, my notion of choreopolectics (choreography, poetry and dialectics) an afrocentric feminist perspective exploring - colonial -post colonial discourses regarding cultural arts of the diasporas of African India and China in locating unversal links between them- reintrerpreting and revisoning them in a modern english context using poetics/orality , bespoke movement music and digital visuals relocating them at the centre of meta narratives highlighting human agency in struggle and adversity leading to transformation - to begin to interrogate the contested spaces between people cultures and material economics some dynamicic traversing of nonlinear pathways as motifs to illuminate the interweaving of cultural strands, from ancients in Greece, Kemet /Eygpt, Dravidian and China civilisations This was written by me in May of this year - now I need to focus on addressing this in a up to 30 mins performance piece at the Symposium (well some of it !) in a few weeks time good to know there are some resources for this and I have already some very good if challenging ideas on delivering it I still need to focus on the current ACE G4A grant application however - I can see after speaking to the Literature Officer and the head of Writing East Midlands I can offer young peoples and other targeted groups workshops be from the project for spring summer new year 2010 as part of the Lyric Lounge 2 - the symposium live art performance therefore is grist to the mill

Saturday, 21 November 2009

You are not really alone

Wow so good to be travelling or surfing this wonderful world of weaving - there is a sort of feeling of travelling without borders on what is known as the worlds wide web ! So I have been linking in to arts culture websites in Europe looking at those sharing knowledge information about arts and culturally diversity only to fidn not much infromation aobut someon elike my self there thisis not new so where are the organisations and groups and individual artists specifically Black and Ethnically diverse women making and producing work ,and having discourses about this ? I know they are there and I will find some of them for sure but there seems to be a whole of funded and projects and programs for certain geographical areas and communities in Europe I could not find anyone that looked like me its not quite what I was looking for so its best to make contact and contribute to the discussions anyway I offered to map my blog to see if other may be curious about wha thappens when you are a black woman artist in England looking to do an ambitious project ... I will see what transpires - as always going west was different the USA always provides ample websites information on Black women artists, cyber feminsts , critical discourses, fantastic events etc this is my kind of heaven the vicarious thrill of it all to see other really interesting women artists exhibiting, analysing and documenting work - I love the language and realise that what I had read and remembered all those years ago abou the internet being a good place for women to cross and move out from all sorts of boundaries- the way we would use our innate skills and ways of working it all leaves me heady but you do have to be enfranchised so you need the computer IT social media literacy skills etc. to be in with it all and time ( the most elusive for many women) how many women of colour and limited means opportunites have that ?

Friday, 20 November 2009

Opportunty Knock Backs

Adversaries met so many before - so there are those who would keep back information about public resources, funding other opportunties even if it is part of their job description - at any one time people can have any number of agendas but barefaced truth, boldness and transparency allied with stunning talent and creativity always wins the day then uncanny knowiness gut or instinct with habitual long range futuristic thinking, superlative communication skills across a really broad diverse range and the patience of Job (biblical stalwart) - this sounds a bit competitive but it is not its just the way it is for some us I include myself because I think what I do every one else does and this is not always in contrast when I meet people similar to my self e.g.in my amplified leicester group its sort of like socially and creatively 'falling in love' with all the attendant happiness- it becomes more intriguing as it is complicated with a background like my own that defies fitting neatly in to any one category of experience at all -but takes in a vast varied journey with so many fissure, cracks and changes of value of which is immeasurable -Bob Marley is a pertinent aid at such time I find turn the negative to the postive' 'creatively play' with all that would appear to stymie great dreams and plans - now writing a few wickedly vicious limericks as I did the other night to be shared with maybe one other person for now - inspired by those that seek to block my progress is one thing but it is the ongoing flow of people and events that really piques my interest it is ok if people do not get it straight away or its over there head or they are nervous and think it very brave - my work ideas -it is all about attuning - 'stepping down frequencies' to achieve congruence or to split and take different directions - it is interesting to me to recycle all this over time one way or the other - the converstions, work etc. this project has its own unique rhythm, pace turns, different events it unfailingly moves along knocking up more and more momentum - on one level I am so loving it all

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Being sparked up despite calamity

So I had a confimation for the booking in Derby the price modest - but we cut to fit no problems on that one, plus they were the first to support for a booking I still need a firm date form Nottingham venue they are hard to get on the phone I will try email I am getting close to finishing the application I need a couple more profiles I am about there with letters of support and testimonials which has been a truly illuminating experience -to see how people see me and my work (you cannot always see yourself - you need the different views) I never took time to collate them before much too busy doing) the Project Steering Group members own profiles when I read the ones I had so far collectively there is so much skills and knowledge expertise one member having DDA and much much more besides it all feels just that they really are the ones for this particular project - there are a lot of journeys with the people - who are involved here although we are all one one journey in a way I spent some time gazing at a big screen in town today and I saw my short film in my head up there with excerpts of the performance and other clips on there I felt proud and excited I had argued strongly for the screen to be there I am interested in communicating with people audiences in different spaces the street has a special resonance with me

I also made a sacrifice today with a few quid in my purse I gave and old eastern european lady playing an accordion singing a haunting but beautiful song she was cold and smiled weakly we both nearly cried as our eyes met I sat and listened to her I was reminded of the night before talking with some newly made friends two young feisty women one was very memorable in that she was voluptous tattoos just like a character from my poems as we talked we really clicked on so many levels it was one of those synchronicity moments and I feigned not being being able to bear it but I was totally energised by it we exchanged contacts one describing herself as a blogger and a performance artist afterwhile I left them as I was a bit brassic for getting in a round of drinks in I remember with one of them I talked about myth fables stories of goddesses and Baba Yaga came up I wanted to tell them about the book 'women that run with wolves' one of my favourte books ever and that I will never finish reading it because you cannot - I will dip into it for life this they were very into butoh brillant and very pleased elena is plannign classes in Leicester it all seemed linked last night the old woman I saw in town somehow I keep meeting young people who do reiki too recently -in this week of dire bad luck - magpies everday yet I go on hoping I let myself indulge in a visit to currys shop to get a quote for some tools for me and the project so to speak - laptop vital dgital camera printer and dongle to write, surf, communiciate on the move wondrous and just need to get the dosh an buy it all

So I can get creating more by being sorted for 'creativity on the go ' and getting my artist collaborators busy- the dancer choreographer, musician digital producer and fine artist, then lighting designer producer tour booker and PR (reckon that will be in the new year when I get the dosh) I can comission them but need to update before them via email do a readjusted project timetable from th eone we discussed before and et them into this blog methinks) what I have written seems a bit rhymey I have been in a limerick mode these last few days as it cheers me hope and makes me laugh in a of great calamity weekful of magpies (am I being superstitious ? I have seen them every day on a run ),cars wall crashes, snotty insurance people and a truculent workman, a runny nose (not swine flu) but tired exhausted worn immune system though I put a mountain image top on my pc desktop its signifies my task that set me off thinking about being a 'hermit with the lamplight'

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Drama then the Big Up's

Drama how does someone break your house wall down with their car this is the drama and potential 'rain on my parade' (england is a spectacular shade of grey this time of year also I did cuss out a woman a giantess in Mark & Spencer for rudeness- it dissipated some of my residual anger ) obstacle that greeted me earlier today no injuries just a mountain of stress and hassle to unpick from my head quite upset but resigned dealing with it like everything show must go on right Yay !! how important is it after a start like that - to get Big Up's sunshine in the form of references testimonials etc. when you have done like loads of performances, workshops, programmed events, directed artists and put poetry into public spaces - to get acknowledgement, recognition appreciation all honest and sincere which is so important to me Best bit is the confirmed residency and other support like cooking a fine meal it takes time and good preparation to provide the ultimate experience the cooking analogy never failed me making succesful good music in studios I must say it is only now I have collated all these I really begin to actually see the journey I have been on - because most of the time you are so in the 'moment 'of doing performing travelling etc- I wonder do alot of artists keep scrapbooks or not ? I can see why Jean Binta Breeze needed a Nesta Award to get off the ring of gigs - in order to sit and write something different to what she had written before to have time - needing time hmm not much of that at present I must press on with expanding my ideas writing in more depth wish I could have seen live the South African poets that performed at the Drum having now seen Lebo Mashile thanks to facebook and video their poetry is still able to renew and inspire me Big Ups to Apples & Snakes for touring them I will linking with Rozena Maart (who I met through the amazing wonderful Bbubba) another South African poet for a low down on the South African poetry and literature scene

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Poetry Literature & Blogs

Very interesting just visited Lemonhound's blog (based in Canada) and the discussion there about publishing blogs, authorship, comments and crititical debate and ownership etc. I will be looking into this much further I do like Lemonhound's tweets they are very much about poetry and discussing poetryin an interesting kind of way it I wna tot knwo about networking blogs - well on another tip I have sent off emails to funders to let them know I am hard at it - with progressing the project- it is so important to keep yourself and your work on peoples radar

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Why Choreopoem Live Literature -

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Well as Zora Neale Hurston once remaked of black people - 'the will to adorn' I agree in own my writing (poetry allows me this the most ) it is part of my character I have been described as a bit florid or extravagant - which is excellent the best I could wish for my poetry is to to be 'kora - like' its musical effect truly beautiful - this confirms in my own mind my urban griot status which sits well with my mandinka african roots - as I thought about this work it seemed perfectly sensible to me that this would clearly be a choreopoem -I will move my body (its centrality is vital - people are genuinely taken aback by that part- is it because I am middle aged ?) its so apt - in the greek sense of those words but also the nature of the piece - I am able to draw here on the profound iconic work of Ntzake Shangwe -'For Colored Girls' when the term was first used to describe poetic text with physical theatre on stage live literature encompasses performance poetry, orality being key rather than on the page Jean Binta Breeze has been invaluable to me in freeing my poetry performances to utilize fully all my artistic abilities -particularly voice in poetic speech and song -very helpful too is Benji Reid for making me aware of the profund beauty of my bodies own lauguage expression its storytelling - and how to intertwine it with live text - I shared with him my love of butoh asian and african martial arts movements - I do write simultaneously for both page and stage - retaining some of my afrocentric lineage I could go further with this in so far that it is a monologue - embracing many big themes concepts - a conversation with the self - stemming from loneliness (a very interesting word in its myriad meanings in the west) - choreopolectics - a question and answer, a discourse with self and/or audience I know I want to do something I have never ever seen before ( onstage too youth and body beautiful focused) tackling big stuff not clever rhymes, or goverment agenda stuff or whats deemed fashionable right now - stuff no one is focusing on or talking about or highlighting basically something I could care about I would want to pay to see

Flim Flam some up beats

I am pleased ot be lining up a 'dream' team as my project steering group with a Chair or Faciltitator is better - all hand picked by me - they will add so much to the project and keep it all on line the actual list of those involved is very impressive, inspiring confidence - meetings are to be informal and social - with bombay mix and drink refreshments - every there months is the right cycle I spoke with my first funder Igniting Ambition to find out how to apply for 2012 Cultural Olympiad in London I was informed no method agreed as yet so I then gave a bit of an update on my project to show we are still on schedule and moving forward I am still collating testimonials (one from my local authority ) so this is taking some time but that short story length application text awaits - I suppose I am still getting all the information in place. like always do before I sit down and write

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Down beats

As expected November kicked off spectatularly on a bit off a downer -people just not being on point and stuff and all the wolf at the door business as per usual I really make a note of those people who are really helpf ful and those that hinder.. It is at these low ebbs soemtime s that my mind starts whirlign away with ideas thick and fast or slow and random seemingly disjointed but I know there are all connected somehwhere if I caa just find the structure to hang it all on. I fidn my memory mso preocious a these times, I think it is like a flat pack you look at certain times and places and it all expands out throwing out all sorts of things in your face that you kind of forgot but you didn't - just like the way approach making music I think of writing the same like making food in this case a particualrly excellent soup. my stock is the structure to support everythining to come - it will hold the form regardles of what ever tasty morsels I dream up to put in it. Imagination as part of loneliness, as tool, as escape, fleeing reality, self referencing, coping strategy or as another life of potency, potential, possiblities, opportunities, richness what shall it all end up being ? I want more than social history, I want the honesty and authencity of intense human emotions, feelings the alongside stunning contrariness of a life lived in a particular with certain circumstances and happenstances......a uniquely artful life perhaps ?

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Story is.....

The story to date  is... all about being pressured with a deadline to get more moulah, during a period of ridiculous amount sof work and drama. People  around me kicking off left right and centre. How to find the quiet even to think. The dramturg comes up  top  -our three hour session is really stimulating making me think very hard about structure. Going back in time remembering events, chaat hits new stories and stuff  - so much happens !! Approaching a back story process in a very new way for me. On her advice I have read Alan Sillitoes book version - absolutely cracking  so much more to dig into there The lead characters anger, and what he calls his 'cunning' are facscinating. There are some many links for my story  definitely - a monologue I will write - shared our  East Midlands back ground,  a lot of rich context that I will plot in another time another character another life Last night I started free writing from my head - theres so much there but at this stage I let it pour out knowing full well that later on I will be cutting and pruning at it I have no names yet -  no full tale just lots of propositons if some one asked me 'its about overcoming adverisity but is much  more than that I realised this when I was researching Phyliss Hyman's story a magnificent Black Diva- her suicide  having such an effect on me