By E L Brown
DT’s correspondent arrived late to the second Spoken of 2018, and was soon very sorry that they had. As the last rays of sun blessed the courtyard of The Old Brewery, the host Lana V Symone was ushering people inside for the second half of the programme. What followed was an intimate and, at times, moving evening of spoken word, live music, and all round memorable performances from members of the local community.
Spoken organiser Haylee Venus has created a warm and welcoming space to showcase a wide variety of local talent. Some were seasoned performers, while others were still honing their acts. All were received with warmth, and followed by a hail of supportive clicks from the audience. The performances were inspired by three key themes: Love, Youth, and Identity. Performers spoke of the magic and misery of relationships; the fun and frustration of dating. Some acts were a celebration of living culture – others mourned histories lost to the horrors of slavery. All seemed to speak to the difficulties of self-expression, when personal identity shifts in response – and sometimes in opposition – to social pressures.
The three featured acts of the evening gave distinctive, but equally captivating, performances. Naomi Sparrow paid homage to Amy Winehouse, incorporating lyrics from her most devastating love songs into a heart-wrenching poem about love and loss. Divine Justice was a crowd favourite, leaving the audience in awe of his effortless, lyrical explorations of life’s journey. Burning Poet, accompanied by the lilting tones of a saxophone, had the audience enraptured with his loving tributes to ‘real’ and ‘melanated’ women. Both the host and the DJ showed off their skills, and even the audience was invited to join in a traditional song, led by Miles on the Mbira (or ‘thumb piano’), originating from the region now known as Zimbabwe.
When the performances drew to an end, audience and artists alike stayed to mingle in the warm light of the hall. In Spoken, DT has found an event that offers people the chance to connect with genuinely inspiring Tottenham talent – while giving local artists a supportive space to showcase and develop their creativity.
The next Spoken will take place on June 12, 2018. Find out more at facebook.com/Spokengift1