singers 2001 flyer myspace 1

Press Release:
July, 27, 2001
Rachel Joyce


The art of spoken word is an ancient art form rooted in the oral tradition recognized in the griot tradition of Africa, the bardic tradition of Europe and the Middle East, the itinerant Tamil poets of India and the cantos singers of South America. Spoken word as it is practiced today is a rhythmically based performance of poetry that is steeped in influence of these traditions. Recognizing the rise of spoken word as an art form in the community in the last 10 years, the Minnesota Spoken Word Association presents the Twin Cities first symposium dedicated to the art of spoken word.This two-day dialogue, August 18 &19, will feature panel discussions, workshops, screenings of spoken word films and videos, and youth activities. The event concludes with Carl Hancock Rux headlining an evening of spoken word, music and dance in First Avenue’s Mainroom. Featuring two stages, the evening will include a performance by jazz group Moveable Feast, spoken word collectives Edupoetic Enterbrainment, The Poet Tree Collective, the Brutist, a performance by rising hip hop artist Slug (of Atmosphere) and along solo spoken word artists including J. Otis Powell!, Bao Phi, Divine Words, Doug Kearney, Sister Mimi, Toki Wright, choreographer Leah Nelson, and others. The evening will culminate with a performance by Carl Hancock Rux.

Selected by The New York Times Magazine as “One of Thirty Artists Under the Age of Thirty Most Likely to Influence Culture Over the Next Thirty Years” (New York Times-1994) and featured on the cover of The Village Voice as one of “Eight Writers on the Verge of Impacting The Literary Landscape…” (Village Voice-June 1998), poet/performer Carl Hancock Rux crosses the disciplines of poetry, music, dance and theater. Having recently published an experimental collection of poetry and prose, Pagan Operetta (Fly By Night Press), Rux has also published poetry, fiction and experimental dramas in numerous journals and anthologies internationally. Musically, Rux has performed his work in collaboration with a variety of artists, including Vernon Reid, Mark Batson, Toshi Reagon, Nona Hendryx, as well as alternative rock bands, trip-hop DJ’s, Latin orchestras, and West African drumming ensembles. Rux has also performed on world stages with The Alvin Alley American Dance Theater (with Jamaican multi-percussionist Junior Gabbu Wedderburn), The Urban Bush Women (featuring an original composition by the avante-garde jazz musician David Murray), and Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater (with Tony award nominated choreographer of “Rent”, Marlies Yearby). He has also performed his work throughout the U.S., Europe, West Africa, Indonesia and Scandinavia. Rux’s debut album, Rux Revue (Sony/550 Music), pairs the artist with some of popular-alternative music’s most inventive composers to date, including Beck/Beastie Boys producers, The Dust Brothers, Elliot Smith producers, Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf, newcomer Alan Elliot, and acclaimed folk rock singer/songwriter, Toshi Reagon. Rux Revue is available now.

The reputation of the Twin Cities as a rising spoken word community was recently acknowledged by the naming of Minneapolis as the location of the 2002 National Slam Competition. The community has fostered the talents of several nationally acknowledged performers including Bao Phi who has won at the Nuyorican slam competition (one of the strongest in the country) twice. He has also placed highly at the National Slam Competition two years in a row. And the local performance community is poised for international acclaim with the upcoming release of a CD featuring the spoken word of Desdamona produced by legendary Jamaican producers Sly & Robbie. Additionally, Village Blues, the spoken word film by spoken word artist e.g. bailey and filmmaker Ayesha Adu has been shown in several festival and venues including the Juneteenth Film Festival, MMAAC First Film Festival, and MNTV, a showcase of Minnesota independent films. And it received a silver award at the Worldfest Flagstaff International Film and Video Festival. A group of Minnesota spoken word artists including Mankwe Ndosi, Truthmaze, Sister Mimi, Desdamona performed Sleeping God at the first Hip Hop Theatre Festival in New York under the direction of dancer and choreographer Leah Nelson. Edupoetic Enterbrainment has performed regionally at various venues, and member Tiyo Siyolo placed in top 10 (out of 120) at the Def Jam Slam Competitions in Chicago.

The mission of MN Spoken Word Association is to foster and support the community of spoken word artists in Minnesota, and to facilitate programs and events that will further the work of the artists and advance the art of Spoken Word. MnSWA creates programs and workshops for spoken word artists, develop and facilitate grants, and promote their work. It would also serve as a center for information and networking within the spoken word community.

This activity is made possible, in part, by funds provided by Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) from an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature. Also funded in part by the Jerome Foundation.

Singers of the Daybreak is co-sponsored by SASE: The Write Place, Intermedia Arts, KFAI, The Loft, Flatland Gallery, Ricochet Kitchen, Rhymesayers Entertainment, First Avenue, World Beat Video, Borders Book Stores, Insight News, Radio K, Pangea World Theatre, Sgt. Preston’s, Sound Unseen/Undercinema, Ashe & Spencer, The Archie Givens Sr. Collection, The Givens Foundation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, First Fridays, Sabathani Community Center, Pillsbury House Theatre and Backdrop Productions.

Artist biographies and a complete schedule of symposium events follows. For more complete information about Singers of Daybreak or MN Spoken Word Association, please check our website