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Koko Slam Gang

Joëlle Sambi · Lisette Lombe · Raïssa Yowali · The Séniors du Manguier en Fleurs


18 and 19.09.23 | 20h
French, Lingala
No age restrictions

Duration: 1h

Place: Espace Magh

An intergenerational poetry slam with singing and dance performances performed by a group of energetic grandmothers and experienced slam poets.

The slammers, Joëlle Sambi, Lisette Lombé, Raïssa Yowali and the “Koko” knit intergenerational ties for the audience; koko meaning grandmother in Lingala.

On stage, the stories collide, intertwine, their memories vivid and full of life: from the way grains of sand tumbled, the rhythm of a brass band in Matadi on one special Thursday, June 30th 1960, to stubborn and persistent silence despite the noise of the TV in the solitude of a Brussels apartment… The need for an exchange of words which barely cover the noise of roots that are lost and ties that are quickly vanishing…

Alongside the creation of the show KOKO SLAM GANG, there is the elegance of dance, songs and regalia that is celebrated. It is poetry that invites and imposes itself on the collective concert that is “living together”. These words are words to be listened to, the very words that catch us off guard with their strike. It’s about building a bridge between two banks so that we may meet enthusiastically in the middle. No crossing can be done without dance and music, just as no crossing can be done without the words of those who stand on the sides of the riverbank, hearing the other in all their truth, harshness and joy.

What do these older women know that the younger ones have forgotten? What strengths do they have to pass on? What are the secrets they have kept with them for a lifetime? What have we done with our elders?

TEXT & PERFORMANCE the Manguier en Fleurs seniors, Lisette Lombe in alternation with Raïssa Yowali and Joëlle Sambi SCENOGRAPHY Joëlle Sambi EXTERIOR EYE Rosa GasquetT SOUND Nicolas Pommier VIDEO COLLABORATION Camille Langlois SCENOGRAPHIC ASSISTANCE Margot Briand and Maya Lombard PRODUCTION Sasha Lampole and Meryl Moens
A PROJECT BY Joëlle Sambi COLLABORATION Manguier en Fleurs PRODUCTION Solola Bien et MoDul COPRODUCTION Lézarts Urbains, Midis De La Poésie, KVS, KANAL- Centre Pompidou, Trill SUPPORTED BY Ministère de la Culture de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles/ Un futur pour la culture et de la Maison Poème · Les Midis de la poésie – FrancoFaune
Joëlle Sambi
Born as a mediator between Kinshasa and Brussels, Joëlle Sambi says, shouts, writes short stories, novels, slams, recites, documents, shows, hosts, and presents… This non-exhaustive list of her legacy is an entanglement of struggle-desire-necessity. A nomad who holds up, turns around, and removes contents from the boxes of normative identity, abrading the surface of text, oiling the image, and lathering the stage. From post-colonial soil to lands where roots exist, Joëlle hybridises language, penetrating the world with the fervour and rigour of her work… viscera and reaction, her voice as a migrant, lesbian, afrofeminist, as someone permanently exiled, writes not to make a living from these identities, but to play with them to the point that they may reflect her, her anger, her creations.
Lisette Lombé
A multi-faceted, revolutionary, Lisette Lombé brings her poetic, scenic, visual, activism, and educational practices to life. Her writing and her struggles are based on her own mixed experiences as a woman, mother, and teacher. The result is a series of collages, performances, books, and workshops that convey both lust and rage. Co-founder of the collective L-Slam, she was made an Honorary Citizen of Liège in 2017 for her work as an activist and ambassador for slam throughout the francophone world. In 2020, she won a Golden Afro Artistic Award for her novel Vénus Poética (Published by L’Arbre à Paroles) and the Prix Grenades/RTBF, for her collection Brûler brûler brûler (Burn, burn, burn) (published by L’Iconoclaste). She will be Belgium’s next National Poetess in 2024 and 2025.
Raïssa Yowali
Raïssa Yowali was born in Brussels in a Congolese family. After a spell in the non-profit sector, she decided to devote herself to writing. For her, poetry is a medium for continuous, sensory research, a platform for all, people, struggles, locations… a great way to recycle anguish and anger and transform them. She is a cultural journalist and programmer for the Pinkscreens festival.
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