On Wednesday night I saw one of the best spoken word poets I’ve ever seen EVER at AmaZink, for the InZync Poetry Session: Luka Lesson. This Australian with Greek heritage was in South Africa for a countrywide tour and InZync was one of the stops – and he pulled out all the stops. I’m glad I listened to my gut telling me to go to InZync despite the fact that it had been raining all day and I was in a that cozy mood to stay in! Add to that, my friend Craig Victor (read up about how we ripped it at the Tongue Fu Session with Chris Redmond at the beginning of the month) was playing guitar for poet Burni Aman (former member of one of my all time favourite rap crews Godessa). I wasn’t about to miss this one! That said, I wasn’t prepared for Luka Lesson’s transcendent poetry.
Luka Lesson is a one-time Australia and Melbourne slam poet…and it shows. From the top of his set to the bottom, he had us all on the edge of our seats. He’s a true technician of emotional, technical spoken word and although he comes from a strong hip hop background – it doesn’t show half as much as many of the poets I’ve seen perform prior. The missing ingredient? Honesty. His performance drips with authenticity – from his commentary on relationship dynamics in The Confluence to the quirky yet moving poem he wrote about his grandma Yia Yia, he binds the audience in a poignant journey of word, rhythm, heart and sound. He exercises his technical prowess in a poem constructed solely out of the letters of the alphabet, drawing narrative from each letter in turn and executing it with aplomb – true showmanship.
I haven’t felt as inspired by another artist since I was invited by a friend to watch the screening of the Josh Garrels documentary The Sea in Between at the Labia Theatre. Then I got my hands on the album that inspired the documentary – Love & War – The Sea in Between and I was simply blown away. Once again, the missing ingredient? Honesty.
I see so many master musicians, I even happen to play with many – but I never see all that many master poets. Luka Lesson is one of them. He’s cut his teeth and done his time refining his art. I commend him for that, as much as the standing ovation TWICE during his set was testament to it.
Yesterday I bought his poetry book Future Ancients which comes coupled with his album Please Resist Me. I’ve just dived into it, and I surmise it will keep me busy for a long time! What inspired me the most though, was Luka’s emphasis on inspiring others. His album opens with a track called May Your Pen Grace the Page where he encourages other writers and musicians to get busy, to not be as critical about their own, to create. Then, in the actual book – there are 30 empty pages for the owner to jot down his own thoughts and poems. Mind blown. The book even contains QR codes that you can scan that will navigate you to audio-visual content on the web. Very tech savvy if you ask me. I’ll leave you with this, and then you can tell me what you think:
PS: I’m going to watch one of my all time favourite bands at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival tonight: Level 42. My brother even flew up from Johannesburg last night to watch them – big commitment. Very amped!
30 March – Kuila Expression Session, Christian Family Centre, Kuilsriver
3 April – Brother & Brother at Bohemia, Stellenbosch
14 April – Solms Delta Soetstemme at Fyndraai Restaurant, Franschoek
26 April – Brother & Brother at Roeshdien Jaz’s EP Launch with Siphokazi Jonas, Nassau Auditorium, Newlands
3 May – Solms Delta Soetstemme Tour to Clanwilliam