Poetra’s Drum Roll performance begun with the poet dressed in a beautiful African themed dress and pair of silver heels she referred to as props, placing a bottle of water and a roll of card papers on stage.
The card papers were a part of her performance. The bottled water however, was her copying what she had seen other artists do the past couple months whenever they came on stage.
Poetra was joined by a drummer named Richie from The Musical Lunatics who provided drum beats throughout her performance.
The purpose of the roll of card papers was to usher the audience into a theme of poetry to be performed by the artist. The audience was to read out what was on the card when the artist held it up to begin a series of performances related to the content on the card.
The use of a drum kit as an instrument supporting poetry is unusual in mordern Ghanaian poetry performances. African drums have in the past accompanied poetry performances but lately the guitar, saxophone and sometimes piano are used to provide melody for poets to lay their words on.
Poetra is no stranger to performing and entertaining crowds with a live band. However for poetry, sometimes the message gets drowned in the music.
The idea from the show came from the artist watching a performance of a female poet with a single instrument and the impact that had on her poetry.
She decided to use drums but added that any other musical instrument could be used to achieve the same goal.
Themes, Chapters or Stages
There were eight themes or chapters of Poetra’s Drum Roll, Please performance. The first was Motherhood. It begun with a poem that painted the real life story of a woman in Cape Town, South Africa who killed her own son as a result of her frustration of his drug abuse.
The piece begun with the artist singing her own rendition of “Hallelujah”. The poem itself starts with the concept of mathematics and how the mother was so good at it. Her bearing a son that depended on her was a beautiful equation. “Tick Tock” was then used to time travel a decade and some years later when the ticks to suggest correct answers evolved to tik (South African nickname for methamphetamine). Which lead to her killing her son or math equation as her way of showing love and ending with the phrase .
“Were you ever good at this thing called math?”
That’s the summary but the poem actually has more depth than that.
Woman was the next theme. The beat pace from Richies drums quickened and was heavy. It ushered a song, a poem and then a song called Annie of the poets Motherfuckitude album. The track which evolves around a girl named Annie’s choice to not wear panties always intrigues audiences. Females are indeed interesting.
Sensuality was the theme that followed next and from the way the crowd read the card, you could tell they were anticipating something bold and edgy.
It started with the chorus of J.Coles Power Trip and evolved into poetry. Poetra has a way of using sex metaphors to make a point. As to whether it is to get the mind to focus or to draw the similarity in things is unknown. Her effortlessness in engaging the human senses to simulate her words theatrically is how the poet has acquired a fan base.
The themes that followed were Love, Heartbreak and Saving Yourself. Supreme Rights artist, Worlasi joined in to perform a section of his track Freedom of the Nuse mixtape where Poetra features. The words and lyrics aided the concept of saving one’s self and even though it was not apparent the drums were still at work like a heart beating unconsciously to the human.
The last two themes were Arts and Politics and Self Love, which was concluded with Tema based producer KaySo joining in to provide strings.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. Poetry lovers would have enjoyed this journey with drums and words. All the guest artists were amazing from KaySo, Chief Moomen, Cina Soul, Musical Lunatics and not forgetting MC extraordinaire Daniel Quist who attempted a remix of Cina Soul’s Julor.(which isn’t bad by the way)
I enjoyed my performance yesterday. It was my first time working with a band and I was blessed to have The Musical Lunatics make that happen. The rap performances were awesome and I will share the videos later.
Keep blessing us Poetra with your art. The rest of you remember to keep it One Hondred!