STANZAS STOLEN FROM TOGO: CATCHING UP WITH ELOM20CE

“Hands in pockets, Addis Ababa in the arms, I walk, swallowed by the night. Fallen for a moment, she is now comfortable on the new flower. On the sidewalks; shadows, bottles in hand, lazily waddle. The smell of sewage violently debates with that of coffee and incense that adorn these dark bars. The music that escapes them is strong. Bob Marley featuring Meiway and Dawit Frew Hailu. Mix of colours and scents shout to be heard. I let myself get sucked into a bar. A woman in the light of a candle as makeup. She smiles in the face of a mirror injured like Somalia. I put away some time for a beer: Habesha cold gold.”

These are words cut out from a real time chapter in the page of Elom20ce‘s(pronounced Vince) life as father, wanderer, contemporary griot and hip-hop afro jazz blender. He speaks to an Africa debating reformation like an emotional night buried in several happenings with a keen message for the subset of a germinating world of dreamers and branching alternative path scrapers:

“I come quietly to swallow me into another hole attracted by Burning Spear: Slavery days. Battle of Adwa to the Towers of Babel, what has really changed? I ask myself by fixing the photo of Emperor Haile Selassie on the wall. Dj minces his Khat with peanuts. Makes good reggae as not to let me go. Guiltiness to Mr. Cheeks of the Lost Boyz sauce was the icing on the cake. Tomorrow I take the road, I have to go, go bury my dead body. Night found me in these shabby streets, surrounded by more imperfect men who teach you life we do not learn in university. Taxi drivers, drug dealers, prostitutes, bouncers or corrupt cops … When the sun rises, find me under those trees, listening to the old men who speak to you of what the world has been, and perhaps will be. Life happens outside, away from the likes, lol, and lmao’s.”

During his travels earlier this month, touchdown: Somalia, he carves out a reflection of the mirage that is, displaced in the home of un-bandaged jaws of the economy in social space and a government with a walking stick patched at the wrong places:

“Stoning the sky, rain down angels. Pick up their rings and attach them to your heads. But the street remains deserted, populated by ghosts, pharaohs who are unaware …”

He plunged into the guts of Dakar in May and felt its entrails bleed concerns like a lost child finding himself but confused if what he beholds is really himself, is really all of himself or there’s the need to dig deeper, reach further, discover the hidden treasures away from a fraction of a disturbed past and the present story woven like a lace work of a labyrinth:

“The engorged land where landmines have been sown broadcast life. The fratricidal wars with uncertain future: Africa, a beautiful lady crippled, advances with dentures.. We spit lava! Let us not open our spirits to the vultures who have made their nests in our skulls and savor our brains to escape forever! Here, there, I saw the mentally disabled, face to face with their past, ruminating bitter memories, before vomiting endless sighs …but flowers are ephemeral, ancestral suffering …”

In Dakar, he spent magical moments sharing the stage with Keziah Jones and visual artists who immortalized rhythm; INA Makosi, JBJ Photography, Sopsiak Photography, aside DJ Cortega, Erwan, S’killaz, Mc Mo, Gislas, Dj Pol and Public. He as well had the honor to accompany a great guitarist on stage; Amen Viana a.k.a The Name at the French Institute later on in Togo with Adjo’a Sika Ajavon, Ali Bawa, and others.

“I have cleansed my feet on the mystical land. These places where pure souls tell stories that we listen quietly, breathing. I read on a wall in Ngor that small people are substantial people. They do not even have bank accounts. Some flowers have no fragrance. I walk by feeling, feet covered in blisters. Close your eyes if you want to see clearly. This is the night that the stars speak. Goree is not Ngor… All the warriors of light know that knowledge is more powerful than the economic and political powers…”

The artist’s second album Indigo turns 6 months and his message for all is simple: “Don’t agonize, organize!”

 

 

 

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Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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