Thursday, 29 September 2016

Spoken Word Rwanda

Went to my first Spoken Word Rwanda (Facebook/Twitter) event last night with my friend Philippa. It was a really interesting event.

The only problem was, as with most events in Kigali, the venue and theme were only announced the day before. Yet despite this, it was really well attended, and it was nice to see so many Rwandans there - far outnumbering expats.

The performances were really diverse: poetry and music from both amateurs and seasoned performers. One of the best sets of the night was by the guy above, whose name I'm afraid I've forgotten, but you can find him under his alias on Twitter. He performed a piece called #2YearsinKigali, involving the crowd and raising a lot of laughs.

I'm wondering whether I can build up the courage to perform. I sometimes sing at a fireside event at Iwacu Wellness Centre on Sundays. Slowly building up my confidence, as singing is not my forte - I'm never sure my voice will hold up when I open my mouth. I mostly sing jaunty Irish ballads, and each week I'm getting slightly better. The first week I played the tin whistle and shook so hard I almost dropped it. Last week I sang I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day, and did pretty well (well enough for someone to ask whether I was Irish). I didn't shake, but I got thumping nerves at the base of my spine.

It's so strange that I can hold a book talk or workshop without batting an eyelid, yet performance, even after training for five years in theatre, reduces me to a quivering wreck. As a novelist, performance poetry terrifies me. It's best done without paper, and for a long-distance writer, paper is your best friend. You feel adrift without it.

I shall continue to work on this.

Meanwhile, I do recommend the Spoken Word Rwanda event to anyone who happens to find themselves in Kigali on the last Wednesday of each month.

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