Blending music and poetry

Dave the poet performs  at The Old School House in Qualicum Beach during a roaming poets event in September this year. - Submitted Photo
Dave the poet performs at The Old School House in Qualicum Beach during a roaming poets event in September this year.
— image credit: Submitted Photo

Anyone who appreciates the power of words, poetry, honest story-telling, music, performance art, or a combination of all of the above should check out The Spoken Word of Shane Koyczan at The Port Theatre tomorrow night.

The slam poet champion and his musical trio The Short Story Long bring the show All Things Spoken to the Nanaimo stage on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.

The multi-award winning spoken word performer breathes life into the new genre of talk rock with his band The Short Story Long, a musical trio (Olivia Mennell, Maiya Robbie, and Stefan Bienz) whose musical range stretches from folk to funk, from ambient to rock, showcasing all that is beautiful in between.

Playing to sold-out theatres and receiving standing ovations, this critically acclaimed group is swiftly moving to the forefront of the Canadian indie music scene.

Spoken word blends music and poetry, but delivers the lyrics as though each audience member were engaging in a one-on-one conversation with the artist.

As many artists do, Koyczan used YouTube to expose his words to a wider audience, which eventually led him to being commissioned by the Canadian Tourism Commission to write a piece representing Canadian culture. Most Canadians can recall the sense of pride they felt while listening to Koyczan perform that piece, We Are More, at the Opening Ceremonies at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Local poet David Fraser said he was inspired by the Olympic performance and he is looking forward to seeing Koyczan once more because the word artist is a hit with the crowds.

“He addresses a lot of issues people have like self esteem and bullying and I admire what he does.”

Spoken Word is a catch-all phrase coined in the 1980s for word-based performance arts that did not fit into the established genres of music, theatre and dance.

Fraser said slam poetry is considered more raw and exciting because the performances are judged on a numeric scale by previously selected members of the audience and it can become quite raucous.

When the Nanoose Bay poet established Wordstorm five years ago he said they stayed away from slam. Instead they wanted a venue for new writers, emerging writers of prose, poetry, dramatic presentations, song and music to try out new material, develop spoken word skills and to entertain, have fun and share ideas.

Fraser admitted he is always working on improving his gestures and inflections and he will be polishing his art form at the upcoming Qualicum Beach Acoustic Cafe open stage. The event is the first Friday of every month at the Rotary House in Qualicum Beach. Fraser said he has prepared five short pieces for his time slot on Nov. 4.

Tickets for the Acoustic Cafe are $5 available at Vintage Candy Shop in Qualicum Beach.


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