Tonight, to culminate National Poetry Month, the Echo Chamber presented the annual “Word Beat I Powa” dub poetry, beat poetry, hip-hop poetry, and spoken word special. Of course, it was dub poetry that set the foundation of the show. And at the base of that foundation tonight was the great poet Mutabaruka – who appeared On April 9th of this year at Macalester College, in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Caribbean Students Association of Macalester presented “Resisting Oppression program: JaMinn with Rastafarian Poet Mutabaruka”. An excerpt of his performance shows up in a very special “Word Sound I Powa” half-hour mix put together by artist & friend of the show Eggblood. Also, Dr. StrangeDub’s interview of Muta from the same night is also part of the program.
Among the other dub poets featured were Jazzmin Tutum, Yasus Afari, Oku Onoura, Haji Mike (with Dub Caravan), Spaceape (with Dub Gabriel), Ras Takura, Oliver Smith, Jean Binta Breeze, Malachi Smith, and of course, the incomparable Linton Kwesi Johnson. But there was much more than dub poetry… From the Beat camp we had Jack Kerouac, and Umar Bin Hassan (of The Last Poets) joined Qaballah Steppers with “Trust” in Eggblood’s mix. Other voices included Ken Nordine’s unique ‘word jazz’; the powerful words and music of Liberian born artist/poet (and KFAI DJ), e.g. bailey; and The Last Skeptik (ft. Jehst) with the fresh track “Lullaby” (on BBE Records). Ahh, but let us not forget the extraordinary Jamaican DJs. Before there was dub poetry as we know it today, there was already the great tradition of Jamaican “toasters”. DJ Baby Swiss highlighted the art of toasting with I-Roy, Nica Smart, Rhoda Dakar, Ranking Roger, Clint Eastwood & General Saint, Ranking Ann, and George Nooks & Trinity, and StrangeDub added U-Roy (with Horace Andy). Heck, we even had a few snippets from Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe, and Walter Cronkite. What an eclectic mix of words…and beats…and Powa!