Reviews and comment from the Demon Crew - creative writers at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Akala: the music of men's lives

What do Shakespeare and hip hop have in common?  If someone had asked me that question yesterday, I would have been waiting for the punchline.  However, after seeing Akala's excellent presentation last night, I now know the answer: poetry and imagination.  

This was an evening where a number of preconceptions were broken, in a most entertaining way.  There was a quiz where the audience had to guess whether a quotation was by Shakespeare or a hip hop artist (surprisingly tricky); a slideshow demonstrating Africa's sophisticated cultural history (often forgotten or ignored by European historians); and the revelation that the flow of The Sugarhill Gang's Rappers Delight can be found as early as a 1937 performance of Preacher and the Bear by The Golden Gate Quartet.

Akala did not disappoint on the performance side either, whether he was delivering a tongue twisting rap incorporating the titles of all Shakespeare's plays at breakneck speed, or a gripping delivery of a soliloquy from Richard II, his talent and passion for both genres is evident.  

S C Davies

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