It was a remarkable year for poetry, prose and spoken word performance at the brownbread mixtape. Once again we were proud to showcase many of the incredibly talented writers and performers based in Ireland. Live poetry and prose can be a tricky thing to convince others about, but time and again we heard from audience members how much they loved the spoken word performers at our shows. Alas we have not been able to upload all of the different performers from this year, so you will have to listen to our podcast in 2012 to catch up on the other literary nuggets. For now, take a moment and absorb the wonderful words woven by these masters of the craft. Spread the word, post the links, update your social networks, make the words go viral. So, without further ado, in no particular order, here are some of the best spoken word acts of 2011…
1. Ireland is – Colm Keegan
The year kicked off with a typically powerful set by Colm Keegan, whose poem “Ireland Is” was written for a previous brownbread mixtape. It captures the zeitgeist perfectly and will go down as one of the best documents of this time we are living through.
[For more info: Uiscebot’s Blog]
2. High John – Raven
Raven hails originally from California but has been a Dublin local for some time now. In addition to being a well-known powerhouse poet, he co-runs the highly regarded Tongue Box poetry session every month in The Cobblestone. His poems are highly crafted pieces, expertly delivered.
[For more info: myspace.com/nomanifesto]
3. Raphymn – Karl Parkinson
Karl has a real shamanic spirit, as he channels his own life experiences with his love for rhythm and rhyme that harkens to modern day hip-hop performers like Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. His poems are chronicles or the everyday and the extraordinary . This recording is from a studio session for an album to accompany the Culture Ireland Irish poetry showcase at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City where Karl performed along with Kalle Ryan, Sarah Maria Griffin, Stephen James Smith and Dave Lordan.
[For more info: myspace.com/karlparkinsonpoet]
4. Hymn To The Reckless – Erin Fornoff
Erin is a poet from the mountains of North Carolina who, luckily for us, lives in Ireland now. Her emotionally resonant, lyrically deft poems have been a smash hit at our shows. Erin knocked us out with her poems at our Electric Picnic show, as well as our showcase at Mindfield in Merrion Square earlier this year, but this performance of her masterful poem “Hymn To The Reckless” from our March gig is a barnstormer. It’s hard to believe she has only been performing her own material for about a year. Already one of the best y’all.
[For more: Erin performs a Shel Silverstein poem]
5. Crash – Sarah Maria Griffin
Sarah’s poetry has wonderful whirling blends of tenderness, electricity, fight and foolhardiness. Her future is limitless, her ideas are clearly brimming and the coming years will surely see her grow in stature as a writer. Earlier this year she published her first collection of poems entitled “Follies” which was extremely well received. This session was recorded for the same aforementioned Culture Ireland showcase CD and captures one of Sarah’s typically confessional and captivating poems.
[For more info: wordfury.blogspot.com ]
6. Manhattan – Kalle Ryan
As MC of the brownbread mixtape, I don’t always get a chance to perform my poems and certainly not the more “serious” ones. This was a poem that I have held dear to my heart and it has been written and rewritten several times since my experience of September 11th 2001. I was really proud to be able to perform it in my second home of New York City in April of this year on an emotional night at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
[For more info: http://kalleryan.bandcamp.com/]
7. The Death of the Dollar – Abby Oliveira
Abby is, quite simply, a hypnotic presence on stage. It is n surprise she has wowed audiences around the globe with her mesmerising poems and performances. She often performs as part of The Poetry Chicks on the festival circuit, but on this occasion we were treated to a special solo performance. Poems that pack power, politics, passion and poesy all in one.
[For more info: Abby Oliveira – Facebook Artist Page]
8. The Lake Isle of Innisfree – Smith & Reilly
Stephen James Smith is a great performance poet. Enda Reilly is a great singer and songwriter. Together they are electrifying. Stephen and Enda have recently embarked on a project to record original works, as well as classic Irish poems in a genre they call spoken word sung verse. There is nothing quite like it currently being performed. The marriage of the lilting musical song with the potent poetic delivery makes for a unique experience. In this performance from our show at the Imagine Festival in Waterford, you will hear W.B. Yeats exquisite poem in a way unlike any before. Their album “Arise and Go” is available on iTunes and select record shops nationwide. Buy it. It’s great.
[For more info: facebook.com/SmithandReilly]
9. Hair Loss and Baldness – Fergus Costello
Fergus is the current Munster Slam Champion. He is also a dead ringer for Yul Brynner. In addition he is a hysterically funny and multi-talented performer. A buzzing dynamo of energy and ideas, Fergus is one of our favourite poets and favourite people. He orbits planets you and I could only dream of.
[For more of Fergus: Tell Me Lies by Fergus Costello]
10. Will You Tell Her? – Fabian Montes
Every month, magical things happen at the brownbread mixtape, but every now and again spectacularly mystical things happen like this. Fabian Montes, an LA based poet and former gang member, was in attendance at our Twisted Pepper show and we were lucky enough to entice him to the stage to speak about his remarkable life’s journey and to hear a reading of one of his poems. A slice of a life and a world that was a real honour to hear. Our thanks to him for sharing and best wishes to him in his important work with Homeboy Industries.
[For more info: Homeboy Industries]
11.Cheek, Cheek, Chin and Nose – Colm Keegan
As the year began with a magnetic performance by Colm Keegan, it seems fitting that we closed it with another. This performance of a truly remarkable poem is the best we have ever seen Colm. The room was stunned into silence and hung on every word. Rightly so.
It really was an exceptional year for poetry and spoken word, with some of the strongest, most powerful performances we have seen yet. Please check out our YouTube channel for loads of other brilliant spoken word performances from this year and last year at the brownbread mixtape. On a personal note, it was a very special year as myself (Kalle Ryan) and former brownbread mixtape performers Stephen James Smith and Colm Keegan wrote and performed an ABSOLUT Fringe spoken word show entitled “Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About”. The show, directed by Sarah Brennan, played to a week fo full houses and rave reviews (including a 4 star review in The Irish Times), culminating in an award nomination in the category of “Bewley’s Café Theatre ‘Little Gem’ Award”. It was a huge triumph for us as poets & friends and we believe that it took the Irish performance poetry scene to a new audience and in a new hopeful direction. We hope to revive it for a tour of Ireland in the spring of 2012. Below is an audio trailer for the show and you can find out more at threementalking.wordpress.com
The brownbread mixtape is a free monthly comedy, poetry & music show in the Stag’s Head pub in Dublin, Ireland.
Each show has a theme. Each act does a performance based on the theme. We all have loads of fun. Simple as that.