Twelve Poets, One CD. Immortality Deserved

21 Sep

It’s going to be hard to keep to the topic on this one, but let’s give it a whirl. That artprenure I once mentioned in passing, TJ Dema, is at it again. The ‘at it’ in this case is giving 12 individuals a crack at immortality… what? Weren’t you aware that you could live forever? O tla ipona.

The CD ‘Dreaming is a Gift for Me’ is billed as a poetry anthology and that’s all the labelling we can allow because really you will find it hard to compare the CD to anything else you have ever let your ear sip for any reason. First off, it is a spoken word collaboration which also features some musical elements. Lets start with the rather dramatic ‘Angelinah’ by the equally dramatic Malcolm. (Ever just met Malcolm on the street and exchanged pleasantries…? Storm clouds literally gather he is so intense) For a language loving non-poet like me the cultural specific references are always a high point, and in ‘Angelinah’ the no less then four name checks of that cult beer, Ohlssons Lager, threw me into raptures of delight mid rape… err the poem was about a young girl being raped by an Ohlssons drunk uncle. See… immortality! Just try and forget I said that about Malcolm’s poem.


Barolong Seboni, easily as old as 10 of the younger poets put together… I think, was actually sparkling as he metaphorically undressed the Village of  Molepolole (name of Barox’s poem) in English so reminiscent of the Hamlyn Africa Series books of the 80’s. A nice contrast to Barox’s delivery in that modern rocking-back-and-forth-but moving-forward stop/start poetic rhythm akin to a locomotive starting off with a heavy load. If Molepolole had a gender it would be highly aroused by the poetic accolade.

Who else…? There are 10 more collaborators in this legal gathering, TJ Dema, pulling a Celine Dion with her technically effortless rendition of ‘Less Faith Full’. TJ’s delivery is so polished and well oiled, damn near perfect in pitch and poise, but don’t ask me about the content I am sure TJ can make the Budget Speech sound graceful and sexy all at the same time. Boipelo Seleke is present on the CD with ‘Tengnyanateng’ a first rate example that Setswana is a filthy little language when it wants to be but with such playfulness that you would be surprised to find yourself getting aroused instead of offended. It was a pleasant surprise when I first saw her perform the poem many years ago at the Village Cinema, with my then deformed Setswana, but the men whistling and women giggling through out that performance made me to listen a little harder, I was glad I did. This recording however lacks that live magic because I suspect the microphone isn’t phallic enough to inspire Boipleo to incite a riot of emotions in a studio environment, pity.

Mr Ntirelang Berman… I must use the title of Moroka Moreri’s poem (also on the same CD) ‘O a Ntena’, to describe Berman’s blatant talent. This guy o a ntena because wa re itima, as unintentional as it is. I was fortunate enough to hear Berman messing up people with his talent on radio earlier in the day, I felt no different hearing this musical contribution ‘Mmamoleane’, nxa, o a ntena. What’s wrong with this country for not having a platform for Berman’s flavour to flow uninterrupted to all ears in Botswana and beyond regularly? Moreri’s ‘O a Ntena’ its self was like an articulation of love from a Motswana man’s point of view. The narrator in the poem takes the love of a good woman to be an irritation of note. The man reciting the poem is restless and can not articulate the restlessness, however he can identify what is making him restless, and who is responsible, and it irritates him so. But its all love really and so humorous, you could just imagine a cantankerous old man reminiscing about his wife, but not saying a single positive thing, yet you feel the love. Setswana, what a beautiful creature… ok, ok Poetry too.

Mandisa Mabuthoe, who literally put me in a corner after the listening session and poets were exchanging autographs (just in case one of them became world famous) and got me to admit the CD frustrated me because it was zeitlos; a German word meaning timeless, and so very appropriate. My frustration was that I didn’t have anything to benchmark the CD against, so whatever I have written here is a total leap of faith… but anyway Mandisa was just toying with me (in the corner) and on the CD. She knows she is good, that good and you can hear it. Again don’t ask me what she was on about in her poem that titled the project ‘Dreaming is a Gift for Me’… she just sounded so right, OK not perfect as she was very sibilant. Mandisa’s ‘S’ sounds were very ‘cutting’, making it a novel take on rough with the smooth… sort of smooth slices of poetry with razor sharp edges and I fought not to use the word edge… But again I think Mandisa is not a studio poet, yet… she is toying with us.

Ack! This has become a veritable anthology as well…So let me shout out my favourite poem on the CD, ‘My Poem is More Street’ by Tshireletso Motlogelwa. This guy just takes it to the streets, the haphazard sloppy sloping hill side streets of Peleng or the twisted warren of streets in Ditakaneg he has you metaphorically (and literally) watching your back. I love how in real life Tshireletso is living proof that the wrong side of the tracks is a self imposed state of mind more then a physical place… but he is still liable to show you dust like majeeta a ko kasi if you step on his toes, poet’s or otherwise.

There is so much more (CD artwork design by Alistair Hagger of http://www.kgogomodumo.com; photography by Petra Rolinec of 8ties Baby; main production by Virgin Brew Studios) but I don’t want to sound like I was paid, TJ’s Sauti Arts can’t afford me yet. However if the response to this very relevant and heavy weight sampling of modern day Botswana poetry (and some music) is as it should be, any and all immortality is deserved.

4 Responses to “Twelve Poets, One CD. Immortality Deserved”

  1. Street Intellect September 22, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Can’t wait to hear it or maybe sponsor it

  2. Intellegere Dot Mobi September 22, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Am impressed can i sponsor the distribution for this or its taken care of? anyways gud work cant wait to get my hands on the disc

  3. Prince Dabbs October 12, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    I am not really great with English but I line up this real easygoing to understand .

  4. monsieurpolk October 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Thank you for yor kind words. You may go right ahead and quote anything on this website. MP

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