Monday, May 22, 2006

gig 011 - w/Taqralik Partridge, Sean Mcgarragle, Trevor Tchir and Jill Battson

Sunday May 21, 2006
@ Casa del Popolo, Montreal

An exciting evening of Words and Music hosted and curated by my old pal, the estimable Fortner Anderson
at one of the funkier bars in town
Casa del Popolo on St.Laurent (owned by members of Godspeed You Black Emperor)

50 people
5 buck cover
beer and purple haze of thick nicotine smoke
a decent stage managed by Steve the soundman
fabulous art on the walls by Les Georges Leningrad

a really excellent night all around
began with me blowing a funky saxophonic fanfare over Mingus' Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting
which Steve the soundman had put on by happenstance as background music
I waited til the track got to the funky handclap breaks and then went onstage
grabbed my horn and hit the funky horn breaks with Booker Ervin, who was on vinyl
then as Steve (on my last-minute instruction) lowered the music slowly i walked offstage
right through the bar and out onto st.laurent street
stayed awhile blowing at the traffic and the night
turned around and came back in to some raucous applause
fortner followed me back onstage and i introduced him with a loud "Hear Ye, hear ye!"
it was a nice way to start the evening

the first performer was Sean Macgarragle from Vancouver
i'd not heard him before tho i did know he's a youngish cat who's been active recently putting on spoken word events out west
his work was not uninteresting
although he suffers from the verbal tic so common to slam-bred poets of speaking in a rapidfire patter for no reason at all
what this generally does is camouflage the weakness of the wordsmithing
although in his case he did show flashes of quality
i did admire his topicality as he recited poems dealing honestly with his relationship to each of his parents
and only after completing the poems offhandedly mentioned that his parents were in the crowd
it was deftly handled and took some balls
tho his language still needs plenty of work

Trevor Tchir is another young cat from out west
edmonton this time
an earnest and tuneful folksinger
fingerpicking and a fine prairie baritone
one song was far superior to his others
it was about urakainian famers selling moonshine in Nellie McClung's Alberta
a fine song

Jill Battson
whom i hadn't seen in some years
also happened to be present and delivered a poetic excerpt with some flair

But the highlight of the night
apart from me of course ;)
was without a doubt the superb poetic performance by
Taqralik Partidge
who informed us she had just begun writing a little over a year ago –
luckily for her (and for us)
as only an oralist could deliver language so effortlessly
and with such a centred presence –
she's ethnically Inuit and was raised in Kuujuuak in northern Quebec
many of her poems deal with her childhood up north
at summer camps far upriver, thousands of years and miles from the rules of the white world
just as they also deal with the urban experiences of homeless Inuit in Montreal
where she has lived for over a decade
but Taqralik is young enough to be culturally aligned to hiphop
and much of the last decade in Montreal has obviously been spent rhyming
or at least listening to beats and rhymes
because she delivers with the sly finesse and flow of a fine MC
not hiphop exactly but influenced by its vibe
this is Inuit knowledge cloaked in black rhythms
sensual and tough and vital
and the result is somethign else
especially since most people who use the hiphop idiom – black or white – are fronting
and this woman is definitely not –
i know i wasn't the only person there was knocked out
by the depth of Taqraliq Partidge's living language

as for me
well i blew up a storm
did some poems that I've rarely performed
like Green Sun and Tintinabulatron
and also Planet Struck, which I dedicated to Voltisse
whom i only just learned passed a couple years back
and then I played some screaming horn in a new poem called Shame
and started it all off with Orderly Orderly
all in all a nice set
turned some folks on...


Risk Factor: 5
Riff Factor: 5
Success Factor: no doubt
Wild Card: Taqraliq
Cash Factor: 9
Parking Lot: the dirty boulevard
Joy: 9
Obliteration: 7
Got home: way too late


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