It was poetry laid to a beat as musical instruments interacted with the Spoken Word at Poetic Fever poetry slam Saturday night.
The event, held at the Blue Note Bar and Restaurant in Kigali, drew a slew of young local poets and poetesses, with Kenyan poet Rixpoet, real name Eric Otieno, the headline act.
Poetic Fever is a monthly poetry gathering that recently evolved out of the monthly Kigalli Vibrates With Poetry. It is organised by Transpoesis, an organisation that facilitates poetic discourse in the country.
Transpoesis was founded by Dr Andrea Grieder, from Switzerland, and Rwandan partners Mustafa Kayitare and Olivier Tuyisenge.
While the Kigali Vibrates With Poetry had its last base at the Impact Hub in Kiyovu, Poetic Fever has found a new home, at the Blue Note Bar and Restaurant opposite Ecole Belge.
At Poetic Fever, the emphasis is not just on poets performing on stage, but the interaction of poetry and musical instruments.
The poets worked with three instrumentalists who provided backdrop beats and rhythms to the poems.
There was Arnaud Nganji on the guitar, Dodo on the drums, while Lauren Richardson’s violin provided soothing sounds to accompany the poet’s lines.
In the end, it was poems and music coming together in a vibrating dialogue.
Some of the local acts on stage were; Lion King, Akeem Marvin, Carine Maniraguha, Bahati, Fefe Kalume and Samie Mugisha.
Maniraguha was the first act on stage with a Kinyarwanda poem titled Isi (the world), while Kalume delivered the first French poem on a night when English poems ruled.
However, one of the key highlights of the evening was Anisie Byukusenge, a visually impaired poet who did not only recite poems but also sang songs of legendary singer Kamaliza.
Byukusenge, through poetry and music, has proved the saying that disability is not inability.
Some of the performances were accompanied by all three instruments, while others made use of just one or two instruments.
After their individual performances, the poets returned to the stage to deliver a joint poem before Rix Poet, the night’s headline act, took to the stage.
Rix is the founder of Fatuma’s Voice, a unique educational forum based in Kenya that focuses on youth empowerment through art, poetry and music.
His deep-cutting and candid lyrical style was eminent from the moment he took to the stage.
The last time poetry lovers had seen an exceptional poetic performance was in February this year, when American poet and spoken word artist Saul Williams graced the Spoken Word Rwanda stage at the Impact Hub.
Poetic Fever joins Spoken Word Rwanda in providing a platform where young poets can explore their talent.