The “Within the Trees” workshop, Transforming Poetry to Sound

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

The “Within the Trees” workshop, March 19 – 21 2021 took place in Oshogbo Osun state. It was organised by Tantdile, an experimental hub put in place by James Not’in of the University of Ibadan, and the project was managed by Amaka.

The ‘Within the Trees’ workshop sought to discover if it was possible for music and poetry to fuse or morph, and reveal its hidden potentials.  Music and poetry were brought together to see how they can coexist with humans and most especially artists. 

The achieve this, organisers brought in tested facilitators like the award-winning Ayodele Olofintuade, Moscode, Sir Bastien, James Not’in and Nanyil. Their job was to explore rhythm in poetry, and how percussion instruments like the Yoruba talking drum and contemporary instruments like the guitar can be applied to art forms for greater influence and effect.

There were 10 participants, some from Edo, Enugu, Ibadan and Lagos Nigeria. They passed through a standardized process of selection to participate. Successful applicants included budding, aspiring and established poets, writers and dramatists. On the first day of the MusicXPoetry workshop, they undertook a guided tour of the famous Osun Groove made popular by Austrian-Nigerian Suzanne Wenger. After this tour on the second day, the workshop dwelt on creating poetry and oral forms for presentation, analysis and review via group discussions.

What was most fascinating about the Within the Trees Tantdile PoetryXMusic is the identity of the organisers. The team lead and project manager James Not’in and Amaka respectively studied German at the University of Ibadan. They are less than 30 years of age, drawing attention to the power of young people to co-create and iterate. They organised participants in a manner of seasoned facilitators and workshop mangers. In the mornings, one of them Gray went from room to room urging participants to literally take a deep breathe, meditate before launching their creative potentials.

WADONOR was represented at this workshop by her editor in chief, Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku. In a letter of appreciation to organisers of the workshop, WADONOR EiC, said that ‘the workshop impacted positively on me as a person, and will go a long way in helping to further WADONOR agenda to promote the arts from the perspective in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. ‘We found the discussions, group work very stimulating and engaging. We were thrilled to be part of a group to make a presentation’, he said.

One of the participants, Abimbola said that the PoetryxMusic workshop was an amazing experience for me and I learnt beyond my expectations. The team discussions, the rhythm, the music and even the atmosphere all contributed to make it one of the most impactful weekends in a long time. It was so good to meet and spend time with people of like minds.

The workshop took place at the Nike Guest House, Oshogbo, famous for attracting local and international visitors, ambassadors and the who-is-who in the cultural arena.

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