Tag: spoken word

New Canadiana :: Kaie Kellough – Creole Continuum


Fluencies and poetries, where to begin? Should the judges come in? To recognize sound, to recognize speech, the voice might speak. Can we get an opinion on the rules of its dominion? The silence speaks volumes, reciting alphabets in record speed. The sharpest voices keep up, giving up at the point of clear confusion. Slow turns towards debris, now there are traces to hear. Pick up the feel. Memories of treasure are fresh, hiding out in the dust around here. The musicians are ready. Some think they are lost, but the conversation is steady.

La fluidité et la poésie: par où commencer? Est-ce qu’on doit appeler les juges? Afin de reconnaître le son et afin de reconnaître la parole, c’est avisé que la voix s’exprime. Qui peut fournir une opinion des règles de son dominion? Le silence parle fort et énonce l’alphabet dans une vitesse record. Les voix les plus aiguës maintiennent la vitesse et s’abandonnent seulement au moment d’une confusion certaine. La lenteur se tourne vers les décombres. Maintenant, il y a des traces à entendre. Cherchez le sentiment. Les mémoires du trésor sont fraîches, se cachant dans la poussière autour de nous. Les musiciens sont prêts. Certaines croient qu’ils sont perdus, mais la conversation se poursuit.

Kaie Kellough – International Monetary Funk

Kaie Kellough – Esion 1

New Canadiana :: Juice Box – Tetra Pak


Voices raised against the musical patriarchy.

Take a sip. We’ve got a problem.

Take another sip. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you care. Now take a bigger sip. Drink your juice.

Don’t swallow what the boys club feeds you.


Des voix dissidentes contre le patriarcat musical. Buvez une gorgée. Le problème est grave.

Buvez une autre gorgée par la suite. Elle vous fera rire. Elle vous fera prendre des choses en considération.

Maintenant, prenez une gorgée encore plus grande. Buvez votre jus.

N’avalez pas ce que ce patriarcat systématique, ce club fermé, ce club de dinosaure vous nourrit.

Juice Box – Straight White Boys Texting

Juice Box – Rat Therapy

Sanctum :: Pressed


Originally conceived as a “hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop,” Pressed quickly evolved into a hub for the Ottawa’s diverse arts community since opening in Nov. 2011. On any given night, you can expect to hear pummeling noise, tuneful folk and jazz and gleefully weird punk, psychedelia and more wafting from its windows at 750 Gladstone Ave. But you can’t just focus on music to get the breadth of Pressed. The restaurant hosts regular [poetry performances], and you’re just as likely to see a local literary event, zine party or craft fair as you are to see a band nestled in its organic wooden interior. We spoke to Pressed owner Jeff Stewart, as well as Lidija Rozitis, the venue’s booking manager (and a vocalist and guitarist in local bands Roberta Bondar and Blue Angel), to get a better understanding of this eclectic environment.


Pressed’s stage (photo by Yuko Inoue)


What do you feel Pressed’s appeal is? What makes it unique, and how do your acts contribute to that distinctiveness?

Lidija Rozitis: From a musical standpoint, I felt like there weren’t too many venues in Ottawa a few years ago. A lot of the shows I went to were at houses. In the last little while, however, I have seen a decline in house shows and more venues becoming established around the city (Gabba Hey, House of Targ, Mugshots, Cafe Alt). House shows are really nice though, and I think Pressed (sort of) imitates the cozy, intimate vibe of a house show … Bands are allowed to move furniture around to suit their musical set up, and there are couches and church pews to sit on. And the place smells like your grandma is making delicious smoked chicken! It’s small, and it’s cozy. It’s not a nightclub or fancy bar, but that’s what makes Pressed unique.


The restaurant during business hours (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


What does Pressed offer the spoken word community? How do you help give them a space?

Jeff Stewart: I think in a number of ways. First of all, we have standing events here that are spoken word and poetry related. We have artistic showcases hosted by (Ottawa poet) Brandon Wint. We have a Words to Live By series and then a Railroad Poetry series. Those three events appeal to different types of audiences, so I think just having standing events like that creates an association between the place and spoken word. I think the layout of the place and having the right sound, light and size for those types of events just creates an inviting nest for people to come and have their events.


Zine editor and writer Lily Pepper at the launch party for the YOW zine (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


You’ve also hosted a few Ottawa Zine-Offs and you have a zine rack. What about zine culture?

JS: I was open to the idea when (zine editor and writer Lily Pepper) approached me to have a zine rack here, and then I think, based on that, it became a bit of an anchor for zine culture. There were some people who wanted to have events here where they were creating zines and talking about zines and it seemed like a logical extension of that. I think that is something that has built a sort of community feeling. It’s sort of a grassroots feeling where you don’t always have a form of entertainment foisted on people as a developed, finished art form. It’s more people coming together and creating in a space in a more spontaneous, democratic kind of way.


Gloria Guns of Scary Bear Soundtrack performs at the YOW zine launch party (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


Why have such an eclectic line-up?

LR: There are a lot of amazing music venues that have opened up in Ottawa recently, so it’s somewhat limiting to book four piece rock bands for an entire month. We do have many bands playing at Pressed, but with that said, I also have been trying to book more and more diverse musical acts every month. Pat Moore hosts a weekly Bluegrass night, Tariq Anwar hosts a monthly Open Mic night, Brandon Wint puts on a great monthly spoken word and musical showcase, and there are many jazz, classical, and experimental musicians performing at the space. Even then, music isn’t the only art form requiring performance space. Because of the portability of tables and furniture at Pressed, the space can serve as both a sit down or standing venue. I think this versatility appeals to all types of artists, because the space serves whatever need you want it to. I try to book as many diverse types of events so that the space doesn’t become pigeon-holed as the venue to do one certain type of artistic thing, but rather continually seen as a space to do whatever you want.


The awning that shades Pressed’s small outdoor seating area (photo by Matthew Blenkarn)


How would you like to see Pressed grow in the future?

JS: I think I’d just like to see us continue along the lines that we’re going along right now. I don’t want us to get too big or large-band oriented, because I like the community aspect of the things we do. I think we have a really nice balance right now of bands coming in from out of town, from promoters and local bands and acts, local spoken word and then grassroots types of events as well. I think I’d just like to continue to become more and more integrated with the community and be seen more and more as a community living room and play space, I think.

Ex Libris :: Leanne Simpson – Islands of Decolonial Love


Islands of Decolonial Love, to use a phrase by its author Leanne Simpson, penetrates the aural perimeter. The narrative voice occupying her songs and stories sounds like a constant drum beat in your head, burrowing deep into your chest and stomach. Twisting and turning, the organs transform into a pulpy mass of knots where her words begin to move, slowly and surely rising up towards your mouth. You are afraid of what will come out and when it does, it offers only the slightest relief but it is one you need.

You laugh. A lot. In way that eases the pain by the knots that have formed. You laugh because Simpson discards tired ethnographic entrapments with ease. You laugh because her inclusion of the Nishnaabemowin language makes history jump from the page. You laugh because everything in these storied landscapes is clear and you understand. You laugh until the last of the slowly dissolving knots have moved to your throat and your eyes burn with tears.

You cry because colonial norms have ensnared western society for far too long and it’s frustrating and exhausting. You cry because every one of Simpson’s pieces are a unique celebration of Indigenous nationhoods and not enough people in this country will read them and change. You cry because Simpson shows that the same blood runs through everybody’s veins, we all want to be loved, and we all ultimately share a desire to walk instead of float.

Islands of Decolonial Love, pour se servir d’une phrase de l’auteur Leanne Simpson pénètre le périmètre auditif. La voix narrative qui habite ses chansons et ses histoires retentit dans le crâne comme le rythme constant d’un tambour qui s’enterre profondément dans votre poitrine et l’estomac. Tournant et retournant sur eux-mêmes, quand ses mots commencent à se déplacer, les organes se transforment en une masse de noeuds pulpeux qui montent lentement et sûrement vers votre bouche. Tu as peur de ce qui va sortir, et quand ça se passe, le moment offre un petit répit, mais c’est celui qui était nécessaire.

Tu ris. Beaucoup. Tu ris d’une façon qui soulage la douleur de ces noeuds qui se sont formés. Tu ris, car Simpson se débarrasse des pièges ethnographiques facilement. Tu ris, car elle inclut la langue Nishnaabemowin, car elle fait bondir l’histoire de la page. Tu ris, car tous les paysages historiques sont clairs et compréhensibles. Tu ris jusqu’à ce que le dernier des noeuds se dissolvant lentement passe par la gorge et que tes yeux brûlent de larmes.

Tu pleures parce que les normes coloniales ont enferré la société occidentale depuis trop longtemps, et c’est frustrant et épuisant . Tu pleures parce que chacune des oeuvres de Simpson est une célébration unique des Premières Nations et il n’y a pas assez de gens dans ce pays qui va les lire et changer. Tu pleures parce que Simpson démontre que le même sang coule dans nos veines à tous, nous voulons tous être aimés, et nous désirons tous marcher au lieu de flotter.


New Canadiana :: Notta Comet – Alliums

Notta Comet - Alliums

Imagine E-street’s skronking saxman as the Pied Piper of the post rock-apocalypse. Math and poetry duke it out violently on Alliums in a show of precise, chaotic and cacophonous execution. Spoken word artist Alex Williams nails all the meaningless little rituals to the wall of a tenement Montréal kitchen that is all to familiar with containing passive explosive domestic fits. Hard to believe it’s not a comet.

Imaginez le saxophoniste grinçant du E Street Band en joueur de pipeau de Hamelin de l’apocalypse post-rock. Les mathématiques et la poésie se livrent à un combat de géants sur Alliums dans un tourbillon de performances précises, chaotiques et cacophoniques. Alex Williams déclame ses textes en clouant tous les petits rituels absurdes de la vie quotidienne au mur de la cuisine d’un appartement montréalais qui connaît trop bien les disputes domestiques explosives. On croirait voir passer une comète.

Notta Comet – Between I and J

Notta Comet – Gas Cans Can’t Warm

Video :: Hey Mother Death – Desert of Trees and Water [Dir. Heather Rappard]

Heather Rappard
Sustaining the séance of their debut cassette, spectre-beat duo Hey Mother Death find Gondry/Björkian symmetry with chromatic visionary Heather Rappard. These ghostly exposures link up so perfectly with the spellbinding whispers, scorched guitars and splintered trip-hop that it’s difficult to imagine one without the other. This one screams Serious Art from start to finish, with nary an ironic wink in sight.