Listen To ‘Unlisted’ by POETYK PRYNX

For all millennials, who are fearless, chasing their dreams against all odds‘. An apt descriptive note accompanying ‘Unlisted’, the eight track spoken word EP released by POETYK PRYNX, today.

A young Ghanaian, known for his incredible artistic gifts – he’s a poet, writer, saxophonist, illustrator, graphic designer and a graduate in physics (Electronics Major) – POETYK PRYNX is also an activist, with interest in mental health.

According to him, ‘Unlisted’ is a way of facing his fears and airing some of his struggles with life.

First, to face my fear of putting out mediocre stuff. I’ve always had this fear that my work won’t be good enough. So I decided to challenge myself with it.

Also, the past few months has seen me struggle with life, in terms of all the things I want to do and love and it keeps clashing unfortunately with the things my elders feel is right. And I always come to see that, this struggle of mine is a widespread one, So, I decided to work on this project to throw more light on this struggle, hoping that it reaches (every) young people out there  so they see that they are not alone in the struggle.

On ‘Unlisted’ (which is his debut project), he shares thoughts about the state of the arts, life, chasing dreams and self-love. 

The EP comes four days after ‘Kaleidoscope’, an event held to celebrate his birthday with friends. 

Listen to ‘Unlisted’ here:

 https://soundcloud.com/poetyk_prynx/sets/unlisted

Advertisements

Poetra Asantewa undergoes ‘surgery’ in ‘Love Yourself’.

DH6mdnMXsAE-jsk

There’s a story I heard of a young ‘celeb’ who had to deny her identity to save her face. She had stepped out of her house one early morning, under a state of emergency, to an ATM nearer her house in her unpolished state.  After withdrawing the money from the machine, a lady who worked at the bank nudged her with the ‘are you (this person)?’ question. Her response was a simple ‘NO’. She flatly denied herself. Her reason: answering yes would damage her brand. Her ordinary look was bad for business.

The pressure to project a certain look in order to fit in or earn validation from others has always been an item many have grappled with. It’s not a new thing. The difference this time is that the pressure has been notched ten folds thanks to the media projections of what is or must be the ‘standard’ for beauty.

Social media has evidently become a pressure hub since everyone with an account can grimly comment on all shared pictures. These twitter fingers would fire some very uncouth 140 character comment that could leave you questioning who you are in terms of your looks. Those at the receiving end of such vile judgments have been mostly ladies.

A year ago June, (2016), this subject inspired ‘’Love Yourself’, a poem by poet, writer, sometimes singer Poetra Asantewa. The lyrics of ‘Love Yourself’, as the title suggests, is about embracing your flaws. Like Tyrion Lannister told Jon Snow: ‘Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use it against you’ is the crux of the poem.

If the lyrics are inspiring, the video, released six days ago is very descriptive, intense and beautiful. Directed by Eames, this black and white toned video has Poetra, on what seemed like a surgeons table, about to get a surgery performed on her.  A surgery to FIX HER looks to conform to the ‘standard of beauty’ and earn a validation among her friends and society at large.

IMG_20170823_225003

The first image one encounters in the video is the face of Poetra, embroidered in all of its natural glare. The camera rotates in an anti-clockwise direction and posits it at the 90 percent angle. With her braids spread out and eyes closed momentarily, we see a blurred image of five faces examining something lying below them (obviously Poetra). These five faces are the ‘surgeons’ to fix her flaws.

Watching the video felt like watching someone make a power point presentation, where the visuals aptly reflect the words being spoken. The words: ‘Chisel approximately 3.5 inches of flesh out of the waist area. Lift the breasts to a firm position until it is perky and a perfect D cup. Add three layers of skin until the backside can vibrate with a single poke. Tone the leg muscles until men can see their reflection in your gleaming skin. Widen the hips until it is the exact curve of a bass clef’ are graphically captured from the 0.30 sec- 1 min mark.

One gleans an expression of displeasure and lack of enthusiasm with the whole ‘fixing’ as depicted by the straight face that accompanied the line ‘Soften your muscles, don’t be too boyish’, the swinging of head, the holding of her hand by one of the ‘surgeons’ whilst the others make her up and the tears shed attest to the discomfort or stress associated with image enchantment procedure. Eames creatively magnified portions were necessary to emphasize some of the points she touched on.

”You have to look natural but not the kind of natural that makes you look like you just woke up from a 36 hour sleep”

In the second part of the video, the black and white toned visuals are replaced with a colour-filled image of an elegant, ‘well fixed’ Poetra. Like someone delivering a televised speech, she goes on about the need for women to love themselves by embracing their flaws; to ignore this so-called beauty standards.

She was quick to remind all women to be comfortable in and with their body – size, shape, colour – and not seek people’s (either men or women) validatory comments first before loving themselves: ‘Love the part of you you’re waiting for someone else to love before you learn to love yourself wholly’

Poetra further draws attention to one of the big issues that women globally grapple with: their bodies. With fashion magazines, fashion brands and TV shows constantly projecting a certain physical acceptability code for them, women are forced to take certain measures, sometimes drastic and injurious to the health, just to avoid the obnoxious culture of body shaming prevalent today.

You keep running away from your body like it isn’t home. You keep trying to fit your body into negative spaces. Like you aren’t magic’

It’s ironic that, even those who get ‘fixed’ are sometimes not spared the criticism. As it is with life, no one is spared, hence the more reason to embrace who you are. As Poetra rightly observes ‘Everything you do is an open invitation for condemnation, so go ahead and love yourself anyway’.

In regards to the topic of loving yourself, there’s no truth more valuable than her statement above. We at CulArt, therefore realize how important it is for women especially, to embrace this.

EP Review: Holes In A Pair by Slimo

Any avid watcher of the poetry scene in Ghana today would have noticed the vibrancy and energetic efforts at pushing the artform towards the centre of entertainment. 

Poets are leading this effort through the release of various projects-mostly EPs. This year has seen the release of some compelling body of work by some leading voices within the poetry scene; picking up from last year. With the release of these EPs, poets aren’t concentrating on sharing their works with just a handful of poetry enthusiasts in a small room. They are reaching out to a larger audience- both far and near.

Slimo, a performance poet is the latest to join the caravan of EP dropping poets. His 6 track EP, “Hair In A Pair”, is a collection of thoughts and observations on relationships.

Slimo’s love for poetry began in Junior High School but it wasn’t until at the University that he took to performance. He emerged on the radar of many after placing third at the annual Ehalakasa Slam in 2016. On “Holes In A Pair”, one clearly notice his gifts-artistry, nuances, clarity of thoughts. For Slimo, “Holes In A Pair” is a reflection on a flaws in relationships: between a father (Sugar Daddy) and daughter; Mother and Daughter; Man and Life; Girl and an Ex”. 

The stories on the Spider 64 produced EP are, according to Slimo ”inspired by real life experiences of a lady”. It features Elidor The Poet, Jeff Joen and Tommy Maverick

​ The EP’s ‘Intro’ present a poet who trades talking or speaking for rapping. It’s the musings of a jilted lover who completely extricate himself of any blame: ‘said I’m the cause of all this but had your mind made up. Just to look good in the eyes of the people. Don’t you do that with your make-up?’.

On ‘Sugar Daddy’, his descriptive writing comes to light- he describes his characters and situations in vivid detail: ‘margins of his singlet shows/ the armpit of his shirt are soaked in sweat‘. Employing a skit from the classic ‘I Told You So’ movie as a contextual tool, he brings a tone of comic relief to a serious subject. ‘Sugar Daddy’ is a story about infidelity- a young girl dating a older married man whose wife is being banged by the young girl’s brother. He aced on how he eneded the story.

‘Her Mother’ is a ‘how to be a lady’ letter from a concerned mother to her daughter. She takes cognizance of today’s fashion culture- short, tight, skimpy and cleavage showing crop tops-worn to win likes on social media. Her conservative views on dress codes stems from the fact that ‘there’s no proof that decency was different than it is now’. She emphasizes the notion of ‘you get addressed by how you dress’ especially in attracting the right guy: ‘You search for the right guy is like a mirage in a desert with thirsty nomad’.

‘Is life unfair?’, that’s question ‘Fruits’, the bluesy/country-esque guitar driven piece seek to unravel. ‘Fruits’ explores the relationship between Man (humans) and Life. With vox pops serving as anecdotes, Slimo eschews the notion of pre-determinism. He regards failure as a human choice (life is not fair is a cliche that denote failure). He bemoans the often crazeof blaming life for what it offers rather than taking the blame for how ones life turns out. In his view, ‘life is fair if you make yourself useful’.

Both ‘Numbers’ and ‘Blues’ play on the concept of unrequited love and the recuperation process after a break-up respectively. Sampling Nina Simone’s ‘You Know How I Feel’, Slimo whines about the unevenness in relationships; where one party isn’t into you. He questions the trip that is love: if love is that good a feeling, why do you have to fall before you feel it?’

‘Blues’ on the other hand, deals with the difficulty in seeking a perfect palliative after a break-up: do you jump in a new one, curse him for stealing your innocence, taking long walks? Or you still wish he calls you, send you those text, make you a priority?.

“Holes In A Pair” scores high in some aspects – creative presentation of thoughts, right theme songs to aid his expressions, a voice tone that’s not irritating- some male poets like to flaunt their skills and cadences unnecessarily. 

However, there are flaws, minor though as noticed on ‘Sugar Daddy’ and ‘Fruits’, where the transition from song/skits to delivery didn’t merge well. His opinion about how women should dress (on Her Mother) would raise eye browns in some quarters especially the link between decent dressing and marrying the ‘right guy’ Although the EP is inspired by the reality of a lady friend, Slimo excused men of blame for some of their actions that provokes post traumatic love disorder. 

As a debut project, “Holes In A Pair” is a good advert for Slimo. His talents are not in question. How he goes from this point would define him, as an artist, a writer and a creative mind. Every relationship has it’s flaws (holes) and this EP seek to ask the simple question: what is the hole in your pair (relationship)?

Music Review: Serwa Akoto by YOM (Writer Poet)

C_jbrvxWAAA2Qhn

Yom tackles the issue of skin bleaching on his latest poem Serwa Akoto

The name Serwa Akoto has somehow become synonymous to beauty thanks to the classic hit song Serwaa Akoto by the Yamoah International Band released in the 1970s. The name, based off the song title and lyrics, celebrated the beauty of Serwa Akoto. (Note: Serwa Akoto was a real individual resident at Dansoman, Akoko Foto).

The latest act to reference the name is Yom The Poet. His celebration of beauty carries a twist. YOM tackles the subject of how today’s generation perceive beauty: the adoration of light skin and the culture of skin bleaching (or is it toning). Through the character called Serwa Akoto, the ‘African Geisha’, Yom shares his views on this trend; exploring reasons behind it.

Featuring singers Tara and Bella, whose ballads and background harmonies are as ornate as Yom’s words, the two describe the contradiction Serwa Akoto is: ‘Serwa Akoto, African Geisha. She’s beautiful. She don’t know it’. They proceed to tell us how her ‘smile light up the day’.

The first verse situate the poem in context: ‘she aspires to be the crème of the crop so she applies cream to crop out the darkness’.  Serwa Akoto’s motive for bleaching is borne out of her realization that, being dark skinned was a disincentive.  Light skin, holds a lot of power and influence over men (so they say). The advantages-both social, economic and colonial- compels her to ‘photoshop’ her body.

‘Somewhere in the syllabus I suppose someone forgot to teach that,

 A painting possesses more value that a photoshop version’

The subject of skin bleaching (or toning) and the continuous fuss about the measure of beauty has become topical in recent times. In some African countries, measures including banning of bleaching creams has been instituted. In Ghana, the advocacy against skin bleaching is alive. The harmful effects of bleaching are well known. These facts notwithstanding, many women seem unperturbed. Like Serwa Akoto, their actions are borne out of an obtuse cultural thinking (light skin is beautiful or superior) and to an extent, its socio-economic benefits. Yom captures the ‘prestige’ associated with being light skinned aptly: ‘now she speaks in pounds and sprinkles of cedis’, adding ‘her dialogue is unlocked by sparkling Mercedes’.  ‘The Barbie, never been offered a penny for her thoughts/Pennies are often offered for what’s beneath her frocks’, he points out the irony.

Yom doesn’t only chide them for bleaching. He blames society for playing a role in this whole situation including Kwame Nkrumah, when he married Fathia (ha!). He asks: ‘Must we find beauty in this beast disfigured by the pressures of an unforgiven society?’ He muses over the reasons for bleaching: ‘mouths to feed? Or a misguided need to belong?’ (social factor). Yom finally concludes on a leg of despair: ‘African Geisha seems lost yet only she can find her’.

There’s a stunning calmness in the manner Yom delivers his words. They are unforced and languid; rolling off his tongue like they are draped in silk. The background music-a mix of jazz, soul and afrobeats- along with the singing of Tara and Bella hands the poem a soothing sensation. There are moments when the soulful tunes are replaced by high tempo highlife groves. A good stunt to pull for it’s important to cheer the listener after delivering such heavy, disturbing yet truthful message (in the midst of drinking is when thinking is done, as they Akan proverb goes).

Village Minds Production presents AMALE

17311027_636436456564388_976597651587048920_o

Village Minds Production and Alliance Francaise presents “AMALE”. Amale as an event will encompass music, drama, spoken word, poetry and dance. The event will happen on the 8TH Day of April, 2017 at Alliance Francaise, Accra at 8 pm prompt

Amale seeks to question the status quo and make ridicule of the gullible nature of man. Poetry performance, music and hilarious dramatic acts will take center stage as Ghana’s poetry and spoken word performers mount the stage to make you laugh, cry and ask questions. Have you ever been to a funeral and heard a bad comment made about the deceased? Have you ever wondered why people get married? Do you really believe in the efficacy of medicines sold to you at Lorry station and in buses? Well, AMALE will put all the lies on stage and let you do the rest of the thinking.

AMALE is a Ga word which loosely translated means, a lie or Lies. Man has accepted everything without asking questions and such attitude has the tendency of destroying us as a people. Performances will look at very touchy attitudes within the Ghanaian society and ridicule them with the sole purpose of drawing the audience’ attention to the ills of society and provoking them to either eschew or make corrections for the betterment of all.

Ghana as a country has imbibed a habit of celebrating persons when they are long gone and cannot see and appreciate what is being done to honour them. Amale will feature poems from Kofi Awoonor, Kwesi Brew, Attukwei Okai, Kofi Anyidoho, Fiifi Abaidoo amongst others. The performance will also feature Nj Braso, Koo Kumi, Brenda Bakomoro, Koo Kumi, Nene Tetteh Adusu and Selikem Geni.

 

For those who do not know, Village Minds Production over the last two years have been known to produces fine and quality theatrical performances. In November of 2016, they staged THE LOVE OF MAMVI, then, in 2016 the performed the hilarious play, HOMELESS all at the Amphitheatre of Alliance Française.

This performance is brewed in the pots of Village Minds Production and directed by WK Dzewornu-Norvor and ably supported by Nii Ayi Solomon and Cygishmel Da’Cherub.

Amale is powered Blaqsheep Multimedia Group.

 

Listen: Mutombo Da Poet releases ‘Fit In’ on Word Poetry Day

‘Looks like I’m surrounded by perfect beings

who try to make me believe that they are flawless

They have no blemish but

I’ve even seen stainless steel rust so I know none is perfect’- FIT IN

This is how one of Ghana’s known poets, Mutombo Da Poet, opens his new spoken word poem ‘Fit In’, a poem reminding us about the beauty in embracing ourselves and our flaws (we are only humans, we make mistakes) -and not bend to the pressures to become something we are not just to be accepted by society or friends.

Released on ‘Word Poetry Day’, Fit In (listen below) highlights the absurdity of hero worshipping (they see their peers as gods because they feel no brain when they touch their temples); lack of self-esteem and confidence (don’t dance to anyone’s rhythm they said but most don’t trust their temples); and the need for self-belief (you never realize potential until you free mindset from those mental chains).

Mutombo Da Poet has been known for being an ‘outsider’ (one who lives on his own terms).He often speaks his mind on numerous issues both in his poems and on social media. On Fit In, he cites his own life as an example to advance his thoughts (I’m not fitting in. Jack is out of the box) whiles bidding all not to ‘confuse my concerns with jealousy’.

He caps off his commentary with these words: I’m not a cool kid there’s no time to impress when death lingers.

 

 

Interview: Poet Dzyadzorm talks her soon to be released EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’

untitled-1-01

Poet/spoken word artiste, Dzyadzorm talks about her soon to be released EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’, her expectations’ what the future holds for her and place of women in poetry.

I had a hunch you had a project in the works. I, however, didn’t see it coming to fruition this early. How long have you been working on The Wine Wrote This?

I officially started working on the EP a few months ago. There are two poems on there that were written over a year ago but everything else was done last year.

The title of the EP sounds interesting. What’s the story behind the name?

I used wine as a metaphor for openness and honesty. I think you’d agree with me that most of us are in our truest form when inebriated. We tend to become more expressive and direct when communicating. That’s what TWWT is about; allowing my mask to come off and being open and unashamed of my flaws and insecurities while still not neglecting my positive attributes. Themes on the EP include femininity, identity, love/romance etc

Apart from Poetra (Asantewa), who is featured on this EP?

I had the honour of getting the awesome Ria Bossman on one track on TWWT.

Did you deliberately choose the EP title to absolve you of any ‘blame’; say in a blame-it-on-the-wine context?

I never really looked at it from that standpoint, but it’s possible that I did do that subconsciously. It’s possible that on a much deeper level, I’m trying to free myself of any judgment that may arise. I don’t know.

I used wine as a metaphor for openness and honesty. I think you’d agree with me that most of us are in our truest form when inebriated. We tend to become more expressive and direct when communicating.

Writers and poets borrow experiences from various sources when working. How much of your life’s experiences are found on TWWT?

I would say 90% of it is based on personal experiences. These are also experiences that coincide with those of others around me so the EP sometimes can feel like a tribute to several people collectively.

You once tweeted ‘ Thank God for blank pages that permit us to vent ‘. Can you elaborate further?

I often think of poetry as an ever present friend whose sole role is to listen to whatever thoughts burden (or not) you regardless of how idiotic, flawed or inconsequential it may sound and everyone needs a means to vent and not be chastised for it. I think poetry allows that and I’m grateful for it.

You have been performing for years. I first heard you some 4 years ago. How will you describe your growth as an artiste (poet) over these years?

In one word, interesting! My style of performance hasn’t exactly changed but I have learnt to be bolder on stage and I think I’ve become a bit more diverse content-wise. I’m still discovering new techniques and themes to improve the quality of my performance

Do you have any expectations about this EP and what do you intend to achieve by or through it?

One of my favourite spoken word poets, Dominique Cristina, answers this question best. In a session, she said (forgive me, it’s a bit long)

So for me, the process was, one, beginning to understand that I had something to say. That, two, I had permission to say it. That, three; that permission didn’t come from anybody but me. And that, four, not only was my voice necessary, not only was it urgent, but it was persistent and for always. That I could offer it into a space and not teach you anything necessarily but show up big and in so doing, maybe, it becomes instructive. Maybe, you (audience) recognize that that is also belonging to you. I think that’s powerful”

I share the exact sentiments. My entire journey with poetry has been about the understanding that my voice too is valid and ultimately reaching as many people as I can, hopefully make some sort of difference in their lives.

The poetry space is growing yet there are challenges. What do you consider the major challenge(s) affecting poetry today?

My entire journey with poetry has been about the understanding that my voice too is valid

In 2015 and 2016 respectively, Poetra and Akotowaa released EPs. In a few days, TWWT would be out. How important is it for female poets to take their spots within the poetry sphere?

I think it’s always necessary for women to insert themselves in spaces of influence and the art scene is definitely no exception. In a creative space, that’s dominated by male poets, I do think it’s important for us to bring our talents and varied perspectives to the table in order to lure a more inclusive audience. What we have to offer is not only interesting but transformative as well.

What are your favourites tracks on the EP and why?

Obaa Boni, definitely. Aside tipping my hat to myself several times for it’s dope lyricism, I love the energy it gives out whether it’s being read or performed. I think it’s a powerful piece that speaks to the angst of modern day women and femininity and it’s my proudest piece of writing thus far.

‘I can’t wait to start performing fully and more confidently in my Liberian accent. The hybrid tongue is some way bi’. How does your Liberian heritage influence your work as a poet?

Honestly speaking, I wouldn’t say there’s been much influence in that area. At least, not directly. Individually however, being multinational has had an impact on my character and my view of the world at large. I did write and perform a poem on my version of events during the 1996 civil war. Being Liberian and present at the time simply gave me more insight during that period of unrest.

What or who is your muse? Any reasons?

I don’t have one in particular. There are days when my muse is a thing or a place and others where it’s a person or emotion or event. It’s never been static.

What next for you after the release of EP?

I’ll have more time to focus on Kpodola, a spoken word portal I’ve created to harness the talents of our local acts all in one place. There’s a lot of work in the pipeline so I’m really looking forward to it. Other than that, it’s more poetry, more shows and more growth.

Dzyadzorm is one of the foremost poets in Ghana. She is the curator of Kpodola, a spoken word portal. She has performed on many poetry events in Ghana. Her debut EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’ is set for release soon.

Find her on Twitter/Instagram  @dzyadzorm

Read her works at  dzyadzorm.wordpress.com