SAGE FRANCIS, the indie/hip hop performer and spoken word artist is coming to the Róisín Dubh on Saturday April 16 at 8pm as part of this year’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature.
This show will be the Galway debut of a man Pitchfork has described as “a bizzarro-world Eminem, his voice low instead of high; using his ramifying metaphors and serpentine rhyming schemes to decry cultural decline”; while Drowned in Sound said “his talents seemingly know no bounds”.
The Rhode Island native was originally turned on to rap by listening to Public Enemy. His major step onto the rap ladder came with his winning both the 1999 Super Bowl MC Battle in Boston and the 2000 Scribble Jam freestyle in Cincinnati.
Francis built up a dedicated fan base garnered from his live shows and internet buzz. His debut album Personal Journals was much praised for its exploration of topics like sexual identity, death, mental illness, and self-mutilation.
His 2001 song ‘Makeshift Patriot’, released just a month after 9/11 offered a ferocious critique of the American media’s lack of questioning and unabashedly biased coverage of the events. It proved to be one of the few voices of scepticism amidst a musical landscape which ranged from mindless jingoism to near deafening silence.
The album A Healthy Distrust (2005 ) denounced corporate greed and warmongering and his most recent release Li(f )e, continues those themes.
“My career kicked off when I was in this very disgruntled heartbroken state,” Francis explains. “On my early records I delved into my art just to save myself. On A Healthy Distrust I began focusing on political and social ills outside of myself which bothered me. Li(f )e is really just a continuation of that but with the focus on religion.
“Not every song is about religion or how the concept of god that religion pushes on us is man made. It’s always been a part of my lyrical genetics to rally against modern mythology. The title Li(f )e is an amalgamation of the words life and lie. What about life is a lie? Let me count the ways. What we’re told about race, gender roles, beauty, war, food, drugs, sexuality, capitalism, and history – all a gang of lies. I feel it in my gut, I write it with my hands and I speak it with my mouth.”
Tickets are available from the Róisín Dubh and www.roisindubh.net The full programme for Cúirt will be launched on Tuesday March 1 at 6pm in the Hotel Meyrick by Labour Party president Michael D Higgins.