Seckou Keita returned to the island, with his koras, smiles and magic. A privilege, I felt, deep in my heart, as his hands began to weave the most ethereal sounds out of those 22 strings, fisher’s, musician’s dream. The man has a story to tell, fingers & voice to unleash. To listen to him and his beautiful vibes from Casamance, Senegal, blended with hints of nomadic spirit from his native Africa to Wales, is a delight. A joy to treasure in your heart. If you have not yet discovered his art, please, go find it!
To listen to the magician live remains a privilege.
With grateful thanks to Shetland Arts for bringing Seckou, as well as Gwyneth to the island. Magic moment tonight.
What a fabulous way to slide from Hairst – the harvest season – to the start of winter. Happy Samhain, everyone 🙂
And in response to his great show at Lerwick’s Art Centre, Mareel, a short poem woven from his music.
Hear his fingers on stretched nylon –
each note travels through
waves & wind,
inside his heart shines Sénégal,
his grand father’s wisdom
dust South of his dreams;
his father’s eyes
travelling chords of he-nomad,
toute la souffrance des
© Nat Hall 2015
Filed under 2015, arts, blogging, celebration, colours, gig, images, keita, mareel, music, seckou, senegal, shetland, shetlandarts, world
It takes courage to speak out loud from the tip of an island.
Who are we to raise voices when all seems fine? Or is it? For years on end, people flee wars, in an attempt to save their lives. For months on end, the wheel of news feed us garbage— by this, I insist on political spoon feeding on TV screens and newspapers… Where viewers and readers are bombarded with highly controlled news, (namely “intox”)
And then, it takes one image, one single shot of a toddler by the edge of the sea. The ball’s rolling.
For the second time, my pen responded to a world scale crisis. Call me an idealist (or a dreamer), but nobody wants to find themselves fleeing from war zones, or hanging between life and death at some railings by a frontier or a headland… Or a tunnel.
To this effect,
I was solicited to write and share verse, by friend & event coordinator, Wendy Sinclair, a month ago. The event, “Solidarity Through Music”, took place on Saturday 24 October 2015 in Lerwick, and gathered a palette of amazing local talent – including The Donald Anderson Band, Lisa Ward and The Dirty Lemons to name but a few – among which I, the only poet, was invited to perform.
Always daunting when in a crowd of musicians! Yet I rose to the challenge. …After all, performing among musicians, bands, is turning a kind of habit, since Open Mic Nights at Mareel Café feature mostly the sung voice.
What an experience! The atmosphere was fantastic. The audience turned up in good numbers (by Shetland standards) through the eight-hour entertainment marathon, gave generously through applause and money. Today, I learnt that the event raised over £1000.00 in donations and raffle ticketing… It may not read very impressive, however, it adds to the continuous generosity of island folk when it comes to humanitarian crisis. Already, folk have donated in kind – shoes, clothing, tents, sleeping bags, etc. – earlier on in the year, in an effort to help the stranded refugees by Calais.
Shetland Supporta Refugees is well active.
Here, my humble contribution to the effort, through two stand-alone pieces, The Rift and One World, One Tribe.
Am a humanist with a pen, and so happy to contribute to such event. With renewed thanks to Wendy for including my work among the day, as well as to Alan McKay for the introduction.
We may live on the fringe of a troubled continent, but we listen to world distress.
Filed under 2015, 60N, autumn, birds, collaboration, earth, geopoetics, home, humanity, images, island, lerwick, life, migration, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, world, writing
Not an occupational hazard, but a marvellous world, where we, poets, writers and artists, mingle and collaborate to bring alive our heritage.
This weekend, somewhere in Norfolk, at King’s Lynn Hanse House, a multi-disciplinary collaborative project – entitled The Nine Realms – is celebrating the Viking world. It is the fruit from a wonderful tree, curated and nurtured by Nicky Mortlock c/o ArtiPeeps. It has brought together a long boat load of writers and artists, as well as a boat (head) carver and Millfield School – younglings, who have been participating to the project in their own words.
Two links here, should you wish to acquire a copy of The Nine Realms’ Poetry Book, and or The Nine Realms’ School Book. Now, and if you are lucky enough to visit Norfolk – King’s Lynn this weekend and/or Norwich Library – where there will be poetry read by the poets present there on Monday – please do go along and leave your prints in the guest book! I, the poet based on my 60N latitude, am here in spirit.
“Vikings Ahoy!”, Nicky and all!
Have a marvellous time, everyone!
Filed under 2015, 60N, artipeeps, arts, atlantic, celebration, collaboration, education, exhibition, hansehouse, norfolk, poetry, project, theninerealms, vikings
I love bruck.
…Not any bruck. The one you find washed off from the sea – the one that can be recycled into artistic meaningfulness – rubbish turned creative with a strong sense of place.
Somebody’s work that awakes your senses, makes you whisper “wow” and lights up your own imagination.
Shetland’s main Gallery based in Weisdale – Bonhoga – has a knack to attract a palette of artistic minds in order to please everyone (interested in the Creative Industries).
Two great examples notably include Malakoff and Shadowed Valley – two distinct exhibitions recently viewed in this micro-hub.
Art is subjective. Art is a dialogue, a connection between two minds via a product or a medium. It talks to you, or it does not… It feels as whimsical as an orb in the forest. In any case, let us allow such encounters in order to write our stories. 🙂
Above, that transformed bruck from our island-based collective…
Something different for everyone 🙂
They came, they shared, they went…
They came, they spoke, we shared, they went… We are now connected.
Visiting poets on our home turf – Mareel, Lerwick, Shetland for a few hours – met with familiar faces, thanks to Shetland Art’s Literature Development Officer, Donald Anderson. On a particular trail, that of “Auld Enemies“, the brainchild of Steven J Fowler and Ryan Van Winkle, who notably brought along Colin Herd and Ross Sutherland in the Green Room where a few dared to step for an hour of poetry. Their six date tour around Scotland – taking in Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Lerwick, and Kirkwall – concluded in London.
So we, the featured Shetland poets, L.J. Friedlander, D.S. Murray, J.A, Sinclair and I, joined our visiting poets in some battles of the spoken word before we ceased fire, chatted and smiled. Unique, electric, unusual & memorable event which enabled us to share in a different format, and, for James & I to actually write together for the first time since we have been united by literature. My thanks go to Steven and Ryan for providing such an opportunity. With very best wishes for the upcoming Auld Enemies – Ireland!!! 🙂
Auld Enemies, Shetland 2014 – Photo courtesy of Steven J Fowler
What a trek! Before they came to us, they had pit-stopped in Aberdeen, where they blended with other familiar faces & voices, including those of Catriona McLeod and Haworth Hodgkinson – then they stayed a couple of days, to ensure Mr Melville was okay again – and then they joined in other familiar faces in Kirkwall, notably including Pam Beasant.
My thanks go to Steven and Ryan for providing such an opportunity, as well as to Donald Anderson & Shetland Arts for making it happen on our latitude.
With very best wishes for the upcoming Yes But Are We Enemies? -an Irish Enemies Project!
Filed under 60N, celebration, geopoetics, home, images, lerwick, life, north, poetry, poets, project, shetland, verse, verse poetry, writing
An occasional holiday allows many of us to catch up with the world.
I seized that free weekday to visit my local museum in order to catch up with a promise, that of enjoying the latest exhibition at Da Gadderie.
I must confess the Shetland Museum & Archives picked the follow-up to Writing The North exhibition with flair, and What Seas, What Shores follow in the footsteps of the former.
Two archipelagos once again on show till the end of June, and celebrating their respective land / sea scapes would make us once again travel between Orkney & Shetland.
Today’s voyage of discovery made me discover selected works from Laura Drever & Diana Leslie, based in Orkney, as well as that of Gail Harvey, Glasgow born – Shetland based.
On the other hand, my eyes & heart found themselves back on very familiar ground with Paul Bloomer & Ruth Brownlee, whose respective works speak very vividly to my senses.
On this occasion, Bloomer chose to explode with extraordinary colours in his interpretation of Aurora borealis – locally named as da mirrie dancers.
I just love the way he played with colours.
Ruth has always captured seascapes with such flair her works make you taste seas pray on your lips.
As a poet & photographer, I am sensitive to my local seascapes, and Ms Brownlee’s work has long captured my imagination & deep admiration as an artist.
Her world speaks of home through her oil & other media’s pigments.
Great exhibition not to be missed if you are wandering on our northern latitude. It’s a cracker!
Filed under 2014, 60N, atlantic, celebration, colours, exhibition, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, museum, north, project, review, shetland, shore, spirit, world, writing