Freestyle Theatre presents Experiments in Hip Hop Theatre

EXPERIMENTS IN HIP HOP THEATER
+ ANNUAL URBAN GRIOTS Spoken Word GATHERING
WED. APRIL 21st, 2010

Tru Ruts/Free Style Theater is excited to showcase an evening of 10 Minute Hip Hop & Spoken Word theater spotlights.  This effort is a precursor to a larger festival the company is organizing in Fall 2010 under the curation of  E.G. Bailey and Sha Cage. Tru Ruts is known locally, and nationally, as a cross genre producer whose mission is to bring innovative artistic endeavors to fruition that honor and celebrate culture and tradition.  Bailey and Cage move effortless as spoken word performers, actors, directors, community organizers and educators. The two had been in conversation with the national Hip Hop Theater Festival (NY) and the  Walker Art Center about the viability of a festival of this nature and have since moved to nurture Twin Cities based works and artists. Participating artists range from newcomers to heavy hitters including: Hip Hip lead artist of the BLEND, Toussaint Morrison;  Slam Champion, Guante; Writer and Director, Anton Jones; Playwright and Poet, Ed Bok Lee; and selections by Cage and E.G. Bailey featuring Amiri Baraka’s work along with Spoken Word luminary J. Otis Powell!, dancer Aneka McMullen, musicians Kevin Washington, Chris Cox (Junkyard Empire/2013), and Josh Granowski.  The community is invited to witness this provocative (experimental) evening spotlighting selections from each artist followed by a short dialogue about this developing art form.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.bedlamtheatre.org. The Theater show is at 7:30pm and is followed by the big annual URBAN GRIOTS gathering bringing the spoken word community together in music, dance, and community at 9pm. Tickets for both shows are $15 or $3 for Urban Griots. Music by DJ Steely (Kinda Cloudy). For more information call Bedlam at 612-341-1038.

“This evening will be a great snapshot that allows the larger Twin Cities community to see what an incredibly diverse urban theater community is burgeoning right here under our heels. In recognition of the absence of artistic access for developing actors and directors involved…we hope to help nurture this ‘locally grown’ voice and talent for the next few years and ultimately produce a larger Midwest festival that brings artists together to cross pollinate. There are already so many talented artists on the precipice of the form. We are excited to have Bedlam on board as a Partner.” e.g. bailey & Sha Cage

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Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents E.G. Bailey’s AMERICAN AFRIKAN

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents AMERICAN AFRIKAN
e.g. bailey’s debut mixes poetry, jazz, electronica, hip hop + more.

“He makes language live!” – Amiri Baraka

“There is so much history, culture, and experience packed into American Afrikan that to summarize would be to attempt to summarize all of African American experience.” – Jon Behm (Reviler)

“A powerful testament of bailey’s skill of mobilizing poetry for contemplation, remembrance, and a subtle, but no less insistent, call to action.” –Justin Schell

“No matter how long it takes for bailey to drop ‘da proverbial bomb’, it will have been well worth the wait.” – Dwight Hobbes

With co-signs from Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets and the legendary Amiri Baraka, Twin Cities spoken word artist, poet, musician, organizer and educator, e.g. bailey, presents his first full-length album, AMERICAN AFRIKAN, a spoken word concept album that begins in Africa, crosses the Middle Passage, explores America and ends up somewhere that defies easy definition.

Part musical theater piece, part audio chapbook and part performance art experiment, AMERICAN AFRIKAN mixes the beat-influenced poetry of bailey with music that blends hip hop, funk, jazz, electronica and more, creating a sound that is at once progressive and challenging yet smooth and listenable.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that an hour-long spoken word album wouldn’t be much fun to listen to; many aren’t. But as Umar Bin Hassan says in the album’s liner notes, “The sounds on this album are just as important as the words.” Through bailey’s voice, through the Igbo nuns on ‘Oracles of Equiano’, through Aimee Bryant’s rendition of ‘Motherless Child’ and through the album’s diverse sonic palette, AMERICAN AFRIKAN succeeds not just as a piece of literature or poetry, but as a cohesive musical journey.

Producer Katrah Quey, perhaps best known for his work with TC wordsmith M.anifest (who shows up to drop a verse on the ‘American Afrikan’ remix), handles a majority of that music, though Hipgnosis and DJ Limbs shine on a couple of early tracks. The beats compliment the words; sometimes fun and funky, sometimes dark and meditative––but always engaging. The album also features appearances by Twin Cities-based African poets, Ibé Kaba and Sankaradjeki; Mankwe Ndosi, singer for Atmosphere; Dubai jazz ensemble Abstrakt Collision; Midwest emcee Idris Goodwin and others.

Though the music might be what draws people into this album, it’s bailey himself that will keep them there. Crafting a masterful narrative from the first track to the last, he explores identity, history, culture and all the places they intertwine in a way that is always meaningful but never preachy; always heart-felt but never melodramatic. As he says himself: “The project attempts to explore what it means to be an Afrikan today, an Afrikan in America, an American Afrikan. What is this journey historically, metaphorically, poetically? However, you can’t answer that question unless you explore what it means to be American, in post-9/11 America. And because America affects and infects us all, it is also about all of us.”

Deemed a true innovator of the spoken word art form, his charismatic yet rhythmic style dances words with sound in and out of synch with verbal play. One of the most prolific voices and talents in the Twin Cities, Bailey’s work has taken him on travels through the U.S., England, South Africa, France, Serbia and more. He has created spoken word work in film, theater, music and radio. Born in Saclepea, Liberia, and now based in the U.S., he is a founder of several foundational entitles in the local and national community including: MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts Endeavors, the Urban Griots Spoken Word Awards, The Spoken Word and Hip Hop Institute at the University of MN. He has appeared in spoken word commercials including ‘Art Connects’, which premiered during the 2008 B.E.T. Hip Hop Awards, and was featured on the MTV, VH1, MTV Europe, CBS, NBC and other networks, in addition to being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame archived at the Modern Museum of Arts in New York. As he moves effortless between radio, film, theater, and producing, his live performances are always a treat.

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents: AMERICAN AFRIKAN
The debut album from spoken word artist E.G. BAILEY
CD RELEASE PARTY: SAT FEB 20TH
@ THE BEDLAM THEATRE  (1501 6th St S., Minneapolis, MN 55454)
Hosted by J. Otis Powell!. Featuring Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, Truthmaze, Sha Cage, See More Perspective, Chantz Erolin, Aimee Bryant, Ibé Kaba, Sankaradjeki, Dameun Strange, members of Junkyard Empire (Chris Cox + Bryan Berry), Kahlil Brewington, DJ Stage One + more.
10pm  18+  $5 advance