Linton Kwesi Johnson to play Spirit of Voice festival

LINTON KWESI Johnson, the brilliant British/Jamaican dub poet and singer will be among the main guests at this year’s Spirit Of Voice festival.

The Spirit Of Voice festival, a celebration of the voice in its capacity to sing, recite, emote, and communicate, takes place from November 6 to 8, but a taster for things to come takes place early next month.

Johnson fuses fierce political commentary and his pride in Jamaican culture through his verse, but music, especially reggae, is the driving force behind his poetry.

His poems such as ‘Mekin Histri’ and ‘Mi Revalueshanary Fren’ use choruses while his verses always have a groove and his language a rhythm. For Johnson music and poetry are one.

“They’ve always been complementary,” Johnson told me when I interviewed him in 2003. “There’s old idea of troubadours, travelling poets, it’s only in relatively modern times poetry and music have become separate entities.

“I have always liked poetry that sings and not this post post-modernist stuff that’s so opaque the poets don’t even know what it means themselves. I think that’s the job of poetry sometimes to speak plainly about important issues.”

Also playing the Spirit Of Voice are the British tenor Martin Toal, Bangladeshi band Rong, Dublin jazz pop group Carosel, Size2shoes, The Big Sing choir, Orlaith Ní Mheachair and Kayla McDonagh, and The Lantanas.

There will also be workshops at Árus na nGael, Dominick Street, and a festival song-recording project where 101 local people will produce the famous Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’.

Launch party

A Spirit Of Voice launch party takes place in Johnston’s Hall, Kinvara, this Saturday at 8pm. Performing on the night will be Galway singer-songwriter Stacey Nolan, described by Hotpress as “uniquely soulful with exquisite vocal styling”; Nigeria’s Toluking, who will perform calypso beats, and slam poet Marty Mulligan.

Tickets are available through www.spiritofvoice.com (€10/8 ).

Call for volunteers

Spirit of Voice is looking for volunteers who have an interest in working in production and event management. Knowledge of music and cultural diversity will help.

Students who wish to improve their skills in festival administration, pre/post production, promotional areas, graphic design, stage and event management, and artist hospitality will get experience working on the festival.

For more information contact Gerry on 086 - 3367129. For tickets go to www.spiritofvoice.com and Zhivago, Shop Street.

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