The Wandering Word at Shambala festival 2012
“For those who haven’t seen and those who haven’t heard, come inside, come inside, to the Wandering Word.”
Once again, The Wandering Word at Shambala was a hive of excitement with the vagrant collective’s tenderly built suspense and their undeniably clever delivery of words. It is their sixth Shambalan year now and the hum-drum of the spoken word priests and priestesses coursed through the air with a wave of fresh, unadulterated, charm. A wave that was intent on luring anyone and everyone who had their rosy, chai-filled, cheeks caressed by it.
It didn’t take much persuading. To be beckoned in by the smell of sweet romances, the rise and fall of breaking hearts in a tidal wave of raw, uncleansed, emotion is all too easy. To be absorbed by the scales of voices that flowed through the rhythmic highs and lows of every single atom of what it is to be humanity was, simply, effortless.
The ‘wastral and toothless monsters’ of the Wandering Word collective will rip you apart and show you exactly what you’re made of, then stitch you back together with seams so beautifully hand crafted that you’d never even know it had happened. If you listen, they’ll leave you with a sense of found and lost simultaneously. Their words can take you by the hand and weave you through the crucial moments in your life that have moulded you into everything you’ve ever chosen to be.
The wandering wordsmiths can show you how simple it is to open up and how, every time such honesty is uttered from your lips, it makes you shine just that little bit brighter. Over the weekend, this is exactly what this dysfunctional family of poets did.
Their spoken worlds invoked passion and made people laugh and cry at the same time. Inspiration came from these guys in such mighty bouts that people were almost left wondering where to stash the left-overs. These Word Wanderers are tried and tested chameleons. They’ll switch from green to blue, hot to cold, vulnerable to powerful within the intake of a single breath. Many different breeds flocked together at Shambala over the weekend, not just in the poet collective either, all brought together by the ancient ties of knowledge and language.
There are no meaningless disputes at the Word as every syllable mouthed demonstrates your own inner clockwork. Every unspoken word is a potential, resting .. and it can rise in anyone. Proverbial wings can spread and rearrange the heavens, piece by piece, like a jigsaw puzzle. This is the play of the Wandering Words which roamed around Shambala and whether they rhymed or not, the slick licks that could be found there joined effortlessly, like tongue and groove.
From fresh new talents with the likes of Jodi Ann Bickley, Toby Thompson, Teej and Jessie Durrant, to some of the best known names on the Spoken Word scene today like Kate Tempest, Buddy Wakefield and John Hegley, all were present and delivering at the weekend. Beside the awesome array of poetic talent, the Word also brings a spine-tingling, sensational, abundance of dance-til-you-drop live beats. These ran from the eerie to the outrageous and from folk to acoustic drum and bass. These musical geniuses, dribbled talent from the corner of their beer soaked mouths.
“Think dirty blues, blistering live hip-hip, soul-shaking acoustics and proper, real folk music, from the very best musicians and DJs from all over the country.”
Honeyfeet, Gadjo, Triangulators and More Like Trees were putting out beats and projecting rhythms with their mouths over the weekend. These guys had listeners up on their feet, dancing until toes went numb and legs turned to jelly. To those who didn’t already know it, their magic showed just how important making music can be for the soul. And, before you could imagine more food for thought, it was handed on a gold-dusted Chai Wallah shaped platter.
For a few edible Sunday hours, a lovingly hand-picked selection of thesaurus eating warriors clambered onto the Wallah stage, to compete. The winner was deemed the ‘Sham Slam Champion’. As their words rung out in heated battle it was obvious to see why poetry has such a hold of our hearts. That morning our souls were massaged as the poets created imaginary worlds before our very eyes. They filled us with a previously unknown sense of identity and a commitment to creating a society where ideas win out over ideals. These girls and guys had spunk. Their tongues could of been ripped out and they would have found something to scrawl on, to express themselves. Takeaway their pencils and they would simply have found something better.
They handed out confidence by the bucket load and shooed away any inferiority complex in themselves and the audiences around them, as the Wandering Words were not simply on the stage. Over the weekend everyone was finding out things they never knew about themselves by talking openly and finding new ways to say things, to express. Spoken word is about getting rid of any inside issues. It’s about standing up and speaking your truth, with heart and mind. No restrictions, nor worries.
So, the Spoken Wordsmiths that weekend set the rhythm of Shambala, where fully formed opinions, jokes and stories wandered so freely that words could be picked out of the air all weekend.
Jodi Ann Bickley – http://www.myspace.com/onenoneblonde
Toby Thompson – http://tobythompson.net/
Jessie Durrant – http://soundcloud.com/jessie-discobiscuit-durrant
Kate Tempest – http://katetempest.co.uk/
Buddy Wakefield – http://buddywakefield.com/
John Hegley – http://www.johnhegley.co.uk/
Honeyfeet – http://www.honeyfeet.org/
Gadjo – http://www.gadjo.net/
Triangulators – http://thetriangulators.bandcamp.com/
More Than Trees – http://soundcloud.com/more-like-trees
Jonny Fluffy Punk – http://www.jonnyfluffypunk.co.uk/
Little Rizzla – http://soundcloud.com/uprizing/so-bright-and-so-golden-sample