Spoken Word is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play and intonation and voice inflection. It is a ‘catchall’ that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud, including hiphop, jazz poetry, poetry slams, traditional poetry readings and can include comedy routines.
This art is fast becoming very popular in the Ghanaian entertainment industry, and a familiar part of social gatherings in the country today. It’s almost the norm these days to find a spoken word artist billed to perform at events such as talks, weddings, birthday parties, concerts and even youth programs at churches. Many young Ghanaians have caught on with this new exciting trend in poetry and are making waves with their varied styles n the art of spoken word poetry.
Elidior the poet is one such young man who is sharing his gift and love of poetry with the world.
ThreesixtyGH caught up with him to take a peek into his passion for the spoken word, and to understand what this new Spoken Word hype is all about. Enjoy!
When did you receive the calling into spoken word?
Was I even called to do this? Lol. I really don’t know when I was called but what I know for sure is that, my Dad planted the seed of storytelling in me at a very tender age. Growing up, my dad deliberately kept us away from watching TV. Our only source of entertainment was the stories he told us. We would gather around him and he would tell us stories, stories he had created. I believe that my love for spoken word now is a result of how I got exposed to oral literature at a very tender age. I kept my spoken word poems to myself until late 2011 when I started performing them on chop boxes in dormitories of my senior high school. So let’s say I received the calling very early but I came out a bit late with it.
Would you say that spoken word is a passion of yours then?
Spoken word wasn’t my passion when I began. It was just something I was doing just because I could do it. But along the lines, I realized how powerful it is. So I began to look at it as a tool and use it to communicate my opinions and propose ideas.
What are some of the events you have performed at over the years?
Events I’ve performed at? A lot! Honestly, I can’t recall all of them. But notable ones would be Representing Ghana at the Africa Youth Day in Nigeria, Total Experience, Chaskele, SASA Poetry shows and Moonlight Cafe.
You were part of the group that organized Chaskele. Can you tell us more about that event since you worked on organizing it? Is there another edition coming up.
Chaskele is a platform and an avenue for spoken word poets, artists and musicians We’ve started our open mic sessions at KNUST and we’ll be in most tertiary institutions very soon. Our next edition will be in October. This year’s edition will be BIG. Watch out for it.
What do you do before a show? How do you prepare?
I rehearse a lot. I rehearse even when I don’t want to. I bully myself to rehearse so that when I’ve got a show to be on, I can relax and make sure my emotions are in check. Minutes before I go on stage I say a prayer and that will be it.
Who inspires you?
All the spoken word artists I’ve come across inspire me but ultimately where I want to be, inspires me the most
Spoken word has become quite popular in Ghana over the past few years. Do you think it is here to stay? What effects will it have on the entertainment industry?
Our entertainment industry is really needs Spoken Word. Most of our musicians feed us with junky stuff by singing and rapping nicely about nothing. With this ‘culture’ we think that anything that comes in a form of an audio or behind a microphone is either to make us laugh or dance. (Our definition of entertainment). We are not used to picking anything useful from anything that comes in the form of an audio. Spoken word serves as the alternative. I strongly believe it’s here to stay because we NEED it.
What messages do you spread in your spoken word pieces?
Most artistes use spoken word pieces to express their thoughts on pertinent issues or basically let people knew their creativity with punch lines. I talk about life, I talk about social issues.
What impact do you seek to make through your spoken word?
Every spoken word poem I’ll write will have its intended impact. But generally, I don’t want to go unheard. I want to draw attention to social issues in our communities. With this in mind, I would love to work with an NGO and not a record label in the near future.
Should we expect any new pieces from you soon?
I’m currently working on some videos. They should be out very soon.
Thank you very much for your time
Interview by: Kwesi Otoo, threesixtyGH
Image Source: Elidior the Poet