This Month in London: ‘كلمات، كلمات، كلمات – Words Words Words’

Poets, musicians, and performance artists at the intersection of languages, genres, forms are set to perform at Rich Mix London next Friday, February 15:

Farah Chamma, Dana Dajani, Jowan Safadi, and others will perform at a night hosted by well-known Palestinian-Canadian spoken-word poet Rafeef Ziadah, author of the million-view poem “We Teach Life, Sir.”

Chamma and Dajani have previously performed together on stages in Dubai. Dajani is an award-winning actor and scriptwriter; among her best-known poems is “Love Letters from Palestine.” Chamma — who said she’s moving away from spoken-word poetry to a broader identity as a performer — moved to London in September to do an MA in Performance and Culture. She has performed in the space between literary and colloquial Arabics, English, Portuguese, German, and Spanish, although next Friday’s performances promises movement between registers of Arabic, accompanied by Maruan Betawi on the oud and Phelan Burgoyne on the drums.

Betawi and Burgoyne, Chamma said, are helping her “create transitions between different texts and different characters. The show we have put together combines movement, singing, monologue, and performance poetry. I am really looking forward to it.”

Chamma, who first came to poetry through the Dubai-based Poeticians, founded by poet-filmmaker Hind Shoufani, says she’s “currently reading the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, Stephen Dunn and Ibrahim Dawoud (who shares most of his work on Facebook). I listen to Mahmoud Darwish and Nizar Qabbani when I am walking around the city sometimes. I have been watching the “classic” Arabic plays by Muhammad al-Maghut and Duraid Lahham. I am always looking for artistic content in Arabic: theatre plays, performances, and music. I am very happy I came across the Beirut-based performance group called Koon Theater Group whose work is very dear to me. Their interdisciplinary performance, Above Zero (فوق الصفر), is very resonant to the work I feel I want to do.”

You can find out more about the event, and get tickets, through the event’s Facebook page.

From Farah Chamma:

From Dana Dajani:

From Jowan Safadi:

From Rafeef Ziadeh: