2016 sees the launch of Poetry & Lyrics (Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June 2016 ), a brand new annual festival celebrating the inexorable link between music and verse from poetry curators Poet in the City, in collaboration with Kings Place and artist management agency Rainbow City.
From the earliest moments, people have sought to express themselves in song, told stories and mapped histories through poetry, lyrics and melody.
Over two days in June, Poetry & Lyrics will break down the boundaries between poetry and music to celebrate incredible wordsmiths across punk, pop, classical, spoken word and folk, and show that poetry is an art form made for performance. In a time where poetry is sometimes criticised for its inability to succeed on stage, the festival will highlight how music, poetry and song have been joined throughout history and bring together music and poetry fans as one.
On Friday evening, Poet in the City is delighted to announce the irrepressible Cerys Matthews as the opening headline act. Mixed into the musical melting pot of her BBC 6Music show (the most popular on digital radio), Cerys has long championed the beauty of the spoken word. Joined by poet Liz Berry and lyricist Don Black, Blurred Lines with Cerys Matthews will ignite the festival with a feast of our most famous poems and songs.
Tenderness and Rage will bring the festival to a riotous close as Steve Lamacq takes a truly surprising look at how punk music’s blistering energy can cloak a tender, lyrical sensitivity. For the festival finale, Lamacq will be joined by some of punk’s first legendary figures: In this important anniversary year for Punk, The Adverts’ TV Smith, Penetration’s Pauline Murray and Crass’ Penny Rimbaud uncover the poetic heart of history’s most provocative musical genre.
Penny Rimbaud is interviewed by The Artist Taxi Driver:
Author and former literary editor of The Times, Erica Wagner leads a beguiling look into the psyche of folk music’s most elusive lyricist, Anon. Telling Tales: Poetry & Folk features leading light of the UK folk scene Chris Wood and storyteller Hugh Lupton.
Saturday afternoon will see acclaimed Scottish pianist Iain Burnside joining forces with the celestial voice of tenor Nicky Spence in Walt Whitman & Song. In what promises to be a programme highlight, they will perform some of the most sparkling musical settings of Walt Whitman’s verse, including compositions by Vaughan Williams, Ives and Ned Rorem, in the perfect marriage of sensitivity, sound and song.
Award-winning maestro of the poetic song, Sorana Santos, will lead a workshop exploring how to find melody within words and how to make music that inspires with its lyrics. Santos’ impressive portfolio of works includes commissions from the BBC, The Rose Theatre and The Southbank Centre, as well as arrangements for Polydor and Kingsize Records.
The second workshop, a light-hearted family event led by John Hegley, promises to be a hysterical hour of PO-NG writing (poem-songs) with some splendidly silly singing.
New Words, New Voices
New Words, New Voices is a series of free events featuring an eclectic mix of leading poets and musicians designed to offer festival-goers the chance to discover something new.
Spearheading the series is Caribbean poet, Roger Robinson. Born in Trinidad, Robinson’s unique brand of dub-poetry has seen him perform across the world with his blend of sunshine sounds and brassy, inspiring poetry.
On Saturday afternoon, Gareth Bonello (a.k.a. The Gentle Good), will drive his Welsh heritage headlong into the traditions of Chinese folk music to tell the remarkable story of Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. He will be followed by dream-pop-post-folk-neo-everything trio Haiku Salut, who will perform their colourful palette of lyrical electronic sounds, in front of live projections of the poetic form that gave them their name.
Rapper, writer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and Radio 4 Poetry Slam champion Dizraeli will be making a rare appearance on Saturday evening. His notoriously dynamic shows dance across the borders of poetry, music and spoken word, promising a performance steeped in rhythmic sophistication and rich hip-hop groove.
“A festival dedicated to the relationship between poetry and music is long overdue. We’re delighted to be giving this important subject a platform and excited about the conversations we’ll be starting with such brilliant artists. This first year is all about exploring a wide range of genres, and in future years we’re looking forward to celebrating world and diaspora music and poetry. We can’t wait to get started.” – Isobel Colchester, CEO of Poet in the City
More details here: www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/curated-weeks/poetry-lyrics