Enough Said About Ian Keteku?

By Amanda Craig

Atomic Wednesday

Atomic Wednesday, appearing this Thursday. (Photo by Jeffery Hunter)

Enough Said Poetry Slam have an awesome and extremely talented October feature artist at Jane’s in Wollongong on Thursday 26, in the form of Ian Keteku with Brad Morden as Atomic Wednesday.

Out here for Story Fest this month, these two guys performed at the Sydney Opera House, and got the chance to experience and be a part of the Australian spoken-word scene.

The World Poetry Slam Champion of 2010, Ian is a poet, rapper and R&B enthusiast from Canada, writing about love, politics, peace and critical thought. Combining poetry and music, Ian also released an album called Love and Lumumba in 2015, starting a whole new genre called “Poetronica” – a sound that brings together spoken-word with electronica, which he describes as an “ethereal space exploration kind of vibe.”

He has performed his poetry globally, and has workshops on poetry and performance for students.

Thursday will be the duo’s first time to Wollongong, and Ian teases what to expect on the night. “We are working on what we're going to bring to the show, but I will keep that as a surprise. Usually the set can also change depending on the vibe of the room… we'll have a laugh along the way as well.”

Talking to Ian, he discusses his time in Australia so far, how he became a slam poet, and reveals how he is a father to his writing. 

Atomic Wednesday 2

Photo courtesy of Jonas Leather.

Q: You are currently in Australia with Brad Morden as ‘Atomic Wednesday’. How are you enjoying your time in the land down under? What are you up to while you’re out here?

My first time in Australia and I really love it. The people are friendly. The food is delicious. The weather is fantastic and it is so beautiful everywhere. Brad and I as Atomic Wednesday…had a few shows as part of the story festival. We were blessed to perform at the Story-Fest slam finals at the Sydney Opera House, after we spent a few days in Bundanon. It is a residency where the surroundings are peaceful and beautiful. There's flora and fauna everywhere and Brad and I were working on a new video and some writing as well.

Q: You recently performed at the Sydney Opera House for Word Travel’s Story-Fest and the Australian Poetry Slam finale. How was the night, what were its highlights for you, and what was it like to be on the Opera House stage?

It was such an honour to perform at Sydney Opera House, one of the world's most adored and honoured venues. The night was also fantastic…to see slammers from all over the country perform their work. I was both astounded, amazed, and pleasantly surprised by the kinds of poems and the passion that the Australian poetry community has. The highlight for me was definitely– seeing young Soli who is 12 years old take home the National Championship.

Q: You’re also performing at Enough Said Poetry Slam. Is this your first-time visiting Wollongong, and what do you have planned for your audience on the night?

Yes, it will be our first time in Wollongong and we are really excited to be there. We have heard only great things about Enough Said and the City of Wollongong, and the kind of vibe and poetry that we are anticipating to go into. We are working on what we're going to bring to the show, but I will keep that as a surprise. Usually the set can also change depending on the vibe of the room, so you know would like to feel it out but we're definitely–going to cover a lot of emotions. We'll talk about love or talk about politics; hopefully we'll have a laugh along the way as well.

Q: How did your career in spoken-word poetry start? What were your beginnings?

I was involved in high-school drama, musical theatre, dance and after high-school I was rapping a lot. I was doing a lot of battle rap. I think for me slam and battle rap have a great deal of similarity…so it was kind of a natural progression for me. One day a poet in Canada invited me to a poetry slam and from then on I was hooked and haven't looked back since. I've always had an interest in writing, telling stories and hearing stories, being able to create different kinds of scenarios in my head and present them to others. It's always a part of my life but when I found spoken word and slam poetry then my passions started to amalgamate and make sense.

Q: In 2010, you became the World Poetry Slam Champion. Can you recall that moment?

I won the world poetry slam just over seven years ago. What I remember most about the competition was seeing how widespread spoken word is and the types of topics and the different styles that were presented from the representing countries. I was amazed that people from all over the world have found power in their voice and in their stories. To have everyone gathered together, to share poems on an international stage, it was quite a beautiful thing.

Q: You’ve also invented a new genre called “Poetronica” - which you can hear in your 2015 release Love and Lumumba. How did you come up with the idea to infuse poetry and electronica together?

I listen to a great deal of R&B music. It is my favourite music to listen to. The stories of love and loss are complemented by the musical tones and melodies in Electronica I think there is a big focus on the emotional impact that the pacing, the intonation, the notes have on a listener. Usually electronic music is not necessarily seen as lyrical or focused on the words. I found that my poetry kind of has an ethereal space exploration kind of vibe. Therefore, with the musicians and producers that I work with, I try and recreate or compliment that vibe with the music.

Q: What are one of your favourite poems you’ve written. Why?

I don't really have favourite poems. I think of it as the way my mother thinks of her children; each one is different, each one is special, each one has a particular place in her heart and mind. The poems all do different things and therefore I can't really choose a favourite. I'm sure listeners and audiences might have a favourite, but for me I see all my poems as one big poem and I am trying to add to the family as much as I can.

Written by SCWC

Posted on October 24, 2017