In this blog article, I’ll talk about some of the highlights from the last edition of the Poetry Meets Series at Oyoun in Berlin-Neukölln.
Now let me ask you this.
When you listen to a song, which generally moves you more, the words or the music? I always believed that music isn’t just music; it’s a powerful tool.
In my view, music is supposed to make you feel something, and language has the power to strengthen that feeling. Take the case of Poetry.
The force of Poetry is undeniable – the timing of words, their flow and the emotions they evoke all become even more heightened when put to music.
It’s an enthralling experience!
Sometimes the music reinforces the poetry; sometimes, a dialogue develops between the parties. Ultimately, this connection always results in an extraordinary work of art.
Speaking of that, I’ve recently had the chance to attend my favourite events series in Berlin on this: the Poetry Meets Series.
In this edition, the magic of Poetry meets the improvisation of Jazz.
Before we jump into Poetry Meets Series and behind the scenes, let’s discover the rise and impact of Jazz Poetry.
Jazz has been an integral part of American culture for decades now. It is a type of music with a unique sound, but jazz is also about the poetry that often accompanies it.
Jazz musicians have often used poetry as a way to explore musical ideas and create new musical forms – and vice versa. For example, jazz legend Miles Davis often used the poetry of Langston Hughes as a way to create new pieces. John Coltrane’s music inspired Amiri Baraka’s poems.
Similarly, many jazz compositions have been inspired by the spoken word poetry of Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets.
Jazz and poetry have a special connection that makes them go hand in hand.
The combination of jazz and poetry can create a unique sound that can be enjoyed by both music lovers and poets alike.
The Poetry Meets Series
Since 2014, the Poetry Meets Series has been stirring up the scene, providing a space for talented creatives who believe in peace, love, and togetherness.
With this purpose, poets, DJs, musicians and dancers from Berlin and beyond blend rhythm & blues, soul, hip-hop and jazz. Furthermore, the stage has been graced by incredible artists, each inspiring the audience to come together in mutual empowerment.
Remarkable artists such as DarkMatter, Fatima Moumouni, Baloji, Wayne Snow, JuJu Rogers, Amewu, Kenny Wesley and more have made a mark with their performances. One of the things I love the most about the Poetry Meets Series is the vibe.
Indeed, the touching of the experience, together with the audience’s active participation, is what makes everything special. Having said that, Poetry Meets Series’ Jazz edition VORTEX SPECIAL was a powerful experience: three hours of inspiring music and poetry.
Let’s dive in and explore the artists.
The Poetry Meets Jazz Edition brought together an incredible presence of artists coming from different musical backgrounds.
Let’s start with the night’s main act: the exceptional Yazmin Lacey.
Yazmin Lacey has the ability to move you with her soulful and heartfelt singing. She has been writing songs in her bedroom since she was a child and began performing acoustic shows in 2014.
And that’s exactly what captivated me the most: Jazmin’s meaningful lyrics with the dynamic spirit of jazz. Yazmin’s singing is full of feeling, and her soothing voice has lifted the spirits of all present.
Mariam Sawires & Zainab Lax
Then, for the first time, Poetry Meets Jazz featured an in-house live band composed of great musicians: Johnny Kulo on bass, Sean Haefeli on keys, and Brian D. Sauls on drums. They created a beautiful atmosphere, accompanying the other special guests of the evening: Mariam Sawires and Zainab Lax.
Mariam is an inspiring Egyptian-Australian Contemporary Soul / Arabic singer-songwriter and painter who has been performing and sharing her music and art with many different countries.
People have often referred to her voice as having a spiritual aura, which is something I can relate to: her live show was full of emotions and good vibrations.
On the other hand, Zainab is a talented Community Music Therapist and Multi-Instrumentalist who has dedicated herself to using music to help traumatized refugees.
She has been playing the harp since she was seven, inspiring me to imagine landscapes during her whole live exhibition.
All this, combined with the powerful poetry performances by Quang Nguyên-Xuân, Senthuran Varatharajah and okcandice. Everything was deeply connected, and I had all the feels from start to finish.
The performers, the space, the vibe, and the fact that two members of the def community provided sign language gave me something important. Thank you, Poetry Meets Series, for the music, vibes and inclusivity.
Have you ever attended a Poetry Meets Series event? If yes, what was your experience?
Let me know in the comment section of this article! 🙂
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