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
nordicblackbird / the roost is updated 🙂 Go check it out!
Filed under 60N, Arcania, artipeeps, arts, atlantic, collaboration, geopoetics, images, island, literature, scotland, shetland, shetlandarts, update, writing
It takes a podcast in iTunes to sometimes trigger a blog post. In this case, It takes my heart back to a moment in September when my feet, heart and eyes wandered inside the German capital. Germany: Memories of a Nation is celebrated at the British Museum, whilst Neil MacGregor narrates chunks of her people’s history. From Truemmerfrauen to reunification via the fall of the Berlin Wall, so many years of resilience, “Mother Courage” has pushed her cart. Barlach’s Angel found in London for a moment. Fabulous podcast series 🙂
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
The animal kingdom is amazing – follow the herd, pack, gaggle or flock for love, the next generation & life.
Never mind money or politics… We, the human kind forgot about nature’s fundamental laws, and invented invisible barriers. The notion of wandering has been caged ever since the concepts of passport control & money were introduced.
And yet the latter is a passer-by. We all have a different – sometimes peculiar relationship with it. Take it away and we would live like princes & princesses. The pursuit of well-being instead of greed & suffering. Rousseau & Thoreau notably wrote clear thoughts on such issue.
Recently, our S2 pupils experienced the wild as part of their John Muir Awards with Curriculum for Excellence. Their reactions ranged from humility to exhilaration when faced with the vastness & majesty of their surroundings. They connected (or reconnected) with our world. They felt part of it.
To the image of the wheatear, I sometimes wish I were a bird, and I would fly above rivers, glens & mountains, somewhat carefree (avoiding predation!) as Earth seasons dictate.
Au petit royaume de papier,
de métal émaillé de
il entre & sort,
tel un intrus ou un
l’ombre du trottoir,
Il va et vient tel
un passant sans se soucier des
réverbères, de la couleur
d’un monde amer,
At the peerie paper kingdom,
molten metal copper &
he slides through
on prized pavement –
he comes & goes
he, passerby, oblivious to light or
the wind’ s laughters.
© Nat Hall 2014
Young people’s connections with encountering our world
Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, earth, geopoetics, home, island, life, poet, poetry, spirit, verse, world, writing