AMEDIOR ELIKEM, known on the Ghanaian poetry scene as Elidior The Poet is set to release his debut EP, MISFIT. The EP which took two years to make touches on the subject of social justice, politics and reproductive health issues. Elidior The Poet has been performing for years across the country and in this interview reveals the inspiration behind MISFIT and what he intends to achieve with his debut spoken word/poetry tape.
Truth is, I’d wanted the title to be in Ewe but I couldn’t get the correct Ewe name for Misfit-ELIDIOR THE POET
You have been involved with poetry for some time. Tell me what inspired you to take up poetry as a medium of expression?
The need to communicate my experiences, observations and propose my ideas to the world inspired me to take up poetry.
Your EP, Misfit, would be your first body of work and have been in the works since 2013. What inspired your choice of EP title?
The process of writing Misfit started somewhere in 2013. The reality I lived, the reality that WE lived in while growing up coupled with the stories to be told informed the choice of the EP title. Truth is, I’d wanted the title to be in Ewe but I couldn’t get the correct Ewe name for Misfit.
How many tracks are on the EP and themes tackled on it?
Misfit is made up of 8 spoken word tracks. It’s a bit difficult to categorize Misfit under a particular theme. But themes like, reproductive health, sex, choices and dreams will lend themselves to Misfit. The ultimate theme is representation, in ‘Misfit’, I get to represent people. I get to become who society calls a ‘misfit’.
Share with us, the whole creative and recording process of Misfit knowing you were still in school?
The creative process of Misfit has actually had me mature as a person and as an artist. It wasn’t easy for me to stay focused on the project. Trying to balance school and this project was just hectic. I’ve realized that recording is also an art on its own. It’s not just about writing and memorizing. I had to dig deep into memories for me to be able to write some of the pieces.
‘I’m driven by the memory of the eleven year old me playing ‘four corners’ with my friend only for him to end up in prison, and I, on the other side. I’m driven by my cousin dying due to the complications of an abortion’.
Anybody who has followed your works would notice your poems are laden with politics and social issues. Is this focus driven by personal experiences or observations?
I’m driven by both personal experiences and observations. I’m driven by how the system failed us and how we are failing the system. I’m driven by the memory of the eleven year old me playing ‘four corners’ with my friend only for him to end up in prison, and I, on the other side. I’m driven by my cousin dying due to the complications of an abortion. I just want to wake my views up!. I just want to share stories, propose ideas and get the conversation going. I just want to empower people!
How angry are you looking at the social injustices pervasive in today’s society and the world at large?
Sometimes, I wonder what went wrong with people. How did we become this wicked? The anger felt towards social injustice is not something I can fully express. I love representing people so you can only imagine how angry I am at the spate of social injustice going on in the world.
And what’s the role of the poets/artistes in helping make the situation better?
“Your tongue became public property, the day you were born”– Poetra Asantewaa.
As a Poet, it all starts with your tongue. But it should go further than that. Yes. We know that the system is broken and social injustice plagues us but how does you describing the conditions we are already aware of, in complex rhymes solve anything? I strongly believe that after we write what we write, we should put structures in place to condition the issues we write about. That’s our responsibility as poets.
Your most know poem ‘The System’ touched on abuse of political power or influence. Is it the case that people are unaware of the wrongful use of power or that; people are scared to fight the system?
People are not afraid to fight the system.The problem is, the people are unaware of the power they hold. The market woman does not know that her vote means a lot so she will vote because a particular political party was founded by someone from her hometown. It’s very simple, it’slike we’ve all given 1GHC to one person to prepare Banku for us but the person prepares “tugyimi” rice instead. We have every right to punish the person. It’s an US against THEM affair but the sad thing is, they always win because we don’t realize the power we have.
You’ve performed on various stages and organized poetry at KNUST campus. Do you remember your first stage performance? How was the experience?
I will never forget my first performance. It was not an actual performance but a rehearsal for a performance. It was with SASA-KNUST, that experience was what established me as a spoken word artist and I will forever be grateful.
It was SUPER awful, and words were not minced when I was being told how bad it was. I remember calling a friend after the ‘performance’ narrating how it all went down and adding that I wouldn’t do this thing called spoken word again (LOL). I couldn’t perform or write anything for like 6 months that was how bad it was.
The poetry scene today looks vibrant and exciting. Yet some say the genre is crowded by many pretentious poets. What do you suggest must be done to ensure quality and not quantity?
There should be a regulatory body for spoken word/performance poetry to ensure that certain standards are kept. This is something that 100%, the 2014 Ehalakasa slam champion is proposing. I think we should all get on board to make this happen. I just await a day that spoken word will have a nomination at the Music Awards or better still, an award show for Performance poetry/ Spoken word in Ghana.
What do you intend to achieve with Misfit? Any last words to the world?
I just want misfit to spark debates, create conversationsand contribute to the change we need.
Last words. Be you. Believe in yourself and stay connected to GOD.
Elidior’s EP MISFIT would be released on 28th December, 2015.
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