at last night's labyrinth at grace chris read dreamed up the idea of music out of the ground - at various points headphones were there to stop and listen. ipods (in plastic bags) were buried in the ground with a track set to loop. in fact all the ipods were playing variations on the same track - cello, guitar, vocal, spoken word. they were from a forthcoming ep that chris and harry baker are putting together of contemplative poetry/soulful music combinations - watch out for it on proost later this summer. anyway it's about time for a worship trick - so this is no 52 series 4. steve has a photo set here
the design of the labyrinth is the one at ealing common by mark wallinger
absolutely amazing evening last night at bethlehem unwrapped. spoken word is such a powerful format. harry was of course on great form but given the context it was rafeef ziadah who headlined and made an incredible impact. she concluded with this poem - we teach life sir.
looking forward to seeing harry any hour now back from germany for christmas. he is doing one show in london while he is here as part of the bethlehem unwrapped festival. the whole festival looks great. but slammed up on 29 december is a night of spoken word featuring harry, disraeli and others. perfect for a night out after christmas. hope to see some of you there!!!
here's some blurb on the whole festival...
St James’s Piccadilly, London. December 23rd 2013 – January 5th 2014
Through music, food, art, poetry, debate and more Bethlehem Unwrapped goes behind the romanticised Christmas card images of the ancient city to show what life is like for people in Bethlehem today. The festival celebrates the culture and stories of those living behind the wall and their work for peace. Hope, humour and humanity are reflected throughout the programme, which brings together renowned musician and composerNigel Kennedy, chefs Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi, singer Reem Kelani, comediansMark Steel and Jeremy Hardy, activist and speaker Jeff Halper, actor Adjoa Andoh, film-maker Leila Sansour, video artist Larissa Sansour, writer and speaker Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, slam poets Harry Baker and Rafeef Ziadah and more.
Join us for the launch at 6pm on December 23rd for the unveiling of a major interactive art installation and find out about the rest of the exciting programme here.
i got a text from jen reminding me it is international mens' day today - i can't say i knew or noticed any difference in the air but i thought harry's poem real men is as good a piece for today as i could think of...
where the streams come from is a series of 3 poem soundscapes from chris goan out this month on proost. i love chris' poetry. check out listing and ten thousand places if you have not come across them. proost interview chris here and he has this to say about poets
For me, poetry is a spiritual act. It involves dwelling on something in a deep and even prayerful way. The process of constructing words that carry as much honesty, emotion and truth as I am able to bring to bear is at times painful, but mostly is a precious thing. The poems I like most carve a new path into something. They are full of sinew and not afraid to express the dark things - the doubt as well as the faith, the pain as well as the joy, the lament as well as the celebration. Poems like this make me cry (in a good way.) The people who write this kind of poetry often carry damage in some way. We are members of the awkward squad, outsiders who look from a different perspective. Poetry becomes one of the ways that those of us who have been sensitised can apply our sensitivity- a kind of gift.
"one of the greatest things i've ever seen" - that's how harry's show proper pop-up purple paper people was described on radio one ths afternoon and given a 5 star rating! who knows how but chris who picks out a show to review each day for scott mills landed at harry's venue and loved it (if you want to listen on iplayer it's about 1:23 in to the show). joel rang me as he was in the car and had radio one on at the time and was somewhat surprised to find harry being reviewed... the show is in a small basement at the royal oak so expect tomorrow to be packed!!!
i came across this blessing in gerard kelly's book church actually and was pleased to discover it is online on his spoken worship site here. i used it last night at an evening marling a moment of someone journeying on to something new. gerard's words are always wonderfully crafted... i am making it a worship trick (23 in series 4) seeing as i haven't added any for ages now!
May God, in whose furnace faith is forged; in whose being beauty breathes; at whose dawning darkness flees, shine on you.
May the Father, whose love for you beats with a rhythm time itself can’t stop; whose presence in your exile is the promise of home; whose certainties are deeper than the cellars of your city; whose breath is life, breathe on you.
May the son, whose story is a mirror of your own; who has journeyed into darkness to find a key to your prison; who has dived the deepest oceans to find pearls for your wisdom; who has looked into your heart and found a beauty worth the battle; who has written your name on a white stone carved in secret, hold you.
May the Spirit, who has waited millennia to fill you; who shaped the word that moved the wind of the morning that conceived you; who holds the earth on which you stand as an artist holds a candle; who fully knows you, wholly own you
So may God the faithful father, God the scarred son, God the sculpting spirit journey with you
[update: i also saw this blessing for leaders which i have used before had been put online by tom brackett]
so here's last night's footage (part 1 and part 2 here) of the deuxieme semi final of the world cup poetry slam which has three of harry's poems in. having come last in the votes after the first poem he then nails it with 99 problemes and brings it home with paper people! so that's through the first round, through the semis and tonight is the final with the last 5 - england, usa, canada, quebec, sweden. good luck harry!!!!
this week in paris harry baker gets to represent the uk in the world poetry slam finals. jen and i are heading over for a couple of nights to cheer him on - it would be rude not to! should be fun...
quite how you judge between different languages in such a nuanced word dependent art form i have no idea?!
today is international women's day. there seem to be lots of creative pieces out there but the one that i ended up diving into was @applesandsnakes poetry collective twitter feed which simply posts links and gives voice to women poets.
it was at the big chill festival a few years ago i stumbled into the spoken word tent to an event hosted by apples and snakes and two of the women i heard that day are linked to - follow the tweets but try jean binta breeze and zena edwards
random acts is a series of very short films on channel 4 - 3 minutes. tonight spoken word is in the mix with polarbear at 11:05pm. set your series to record. it looks like the people behind this in some way are the wonderful bang said the gun crew who know how to make a night of poetry in south london hit the two poles of raucous and poignant. i have no idea but am guessing this may be the first of several spoken word acts as channel four recorded a night with an impressive line up at bang said the gun before christmas...
apologies if my blog is in danger of becoming a harry baker fan site! but i have to plug what should be a great evening in january in ealing at our local pub with harry performing his edinburgh show. all proceeds go towards a trip he is going on with greenbelt to palestine next year. let us know if you plan to come so we can get a rough idea of numbers...
got a wonderful surprise this morning when sue who is on the cms pioneer training told me her daughter had animated a track of harry's called writer's block. this is from his album rhythm and poetry when he was more on a rap tip than a poetry one. anyway it's an absolutely delightful movie and must have taken an age to make. i haven't actually met flora martyr but she is clearly someone to look out for...