• No Air Left in Your Lungs: Breathing with Kae Tempest's The Book of Traps and Lessons

    Author(s):
    Stephe Harrop (see profile)
    Date:
    2021
    Group(s):
    Digital Humanists, Poetics and Poetry
    Subject(s):
    Spoken word poetry, Spoken word poetry, COVID-19 Pandemic (2020-), Performances, Performing arts, Performing arts festivals, Poetry
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    spoken word, poetry, covid-19, music festival
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/cpxt-qr86
    Abstract:
    It is May 2020. I am watching Kae Tempest perform Hold Your Own online. Tempest’s vocal performances are always rich in meaningful detail; from the rising semi-sung sound that embodies all the dreams and potentials of a fallible humanity to the throaty fall that edges and softens our collapse into foolishness and self-defeat. Slipping between semi-dramatised personae and myriad versions of a shifting self, Tempest rants, preaches, chuckles, snarls, jibes, sobs. Their South East London voicing carries a weight of cultural history, and personal identity. Rapper as well as poet, Tempest’s insolent, abrasive, insistently surging sound is ‘battle-born’, yet they’re equally capable of self- deflation, playful misdirection, and cheeky sleight- of-tongue. Now, though, newly attuned by Covid- 19, primed by weeks of news stories about ventilators and oxygen masks, I find myself fascinated in an unexpected way. This time, I start to watch the artist breathe.
    Notes:
    This version of the text may differ slightly from the final published article.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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