I could not find a word to describe last week Friday so I coined one. Literaritastic! (literary + fantastic). The Matriarch’s Verse – a poetry concert hosted by Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey at the plush Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City is responsible for the bubbles in my tummy which has refused to settle down since Friday.
I was honoured to have Apiorkor at the launch of my friend’s poetry group and event – Nyansa Poetry – in July this year. After the event, she invited my friend and I to join the team put The Matriarch’s Verse together. We did not think twice before accepting the offer. It was such an honour.
And it has been till date.
The night was my first time at Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City. Its magnificence awed me. It had such a classic ambience. The walls are high up as that of a castle. Ball Room 1 was the perfect location for this event. They couldn’t have selected a better place than Ball Room 1. The room was decorated with colours of black and red.
It was decorated with beautiful people too. The event was massively attended by people from far and near in spite of the heavy rains in some parts of Accra. Some of the people I could easily make out were Professor Kofi Anyidoho, actress Juliet Asante, The Mayor of Accra, Mohammaed Adjei Sowah, and some Staff of Citi where Apiokor works.
It was a night of mind-boggling poetry performances, soul soothing music and self-awakening storytelling. The event started at exactly 7 pm with cocktail while Kwan Pa, a traditional band, entertained guests with high life music. The main concert began about an hour later.
Chief Moomen, the MC for the event, raised the curtains with one of my favourite poems of his titled “Love Through the Ages”. Supporting poets comprising Hondred Percent, Crystal Tettey and Dzyadzorm dazzled with their performances. Elizabeth Johnson also read an intriguing short story. Musical Lunatics, the National Symphony Orchestra, Nene Narh, Fiifi (a violinist), Ria Boss, Quayba and the Celestial Essence Choir supported with music.
Poetry and music is such a combination, merhn! I had chills. I had goose bumps. I laughed. I shed tears. The whole shebang! I am not God but I am sure this event and the performances have extended lifespan by seven more days.
But that was not all…
There was a fashion exhibition too. Naa Lamley Kouture, a fashion brand in Accra, treated the audience to a beautiful display of an array of their clothing line. It was fashtastic! I’m sure you can guess what that means already.
Now, to the woman of the night. Apiorkor performed her pieces under three themes; love, abuse and Accra. Her poetry addressed issues such as marital rape, sanitation in Accra and superstitious beliefs in the Ghanaian culture. She had titles such as Undress Me, Amina, Fate and Reality.
Apiorkor is a spirited performer – very confident and authentic. She’d rather be called a poet rather that a spoken word artiste. She did not recite her poems from memory. She read them. It was beautiful and glorious especially with the music playing in the background. It was perfect. She was perfect. Everything was perfectly coordinated. After each performance, she took her time to explain the poem to the audience. It was very interactive too and there were projected visuals of the subject matters she addressed.
I give her 5 out of 5 stars.
The Matriarch’s Verse was an experience. One I would cherish for a long time. This is not only because I enjoyed it. Neither is it because helped with the organization. It because of the lessons I picked from it.
As a growing artist, I am reminded that I while I explore the art, the end thereof should be to find myself; to find what works for me and to do me. I’d never had expected that Apiorkor would choose to read her pieces instead of performing them with the freedom to move about on that big stage, do some acting and pull of some great theatricals. That’s my ideal idea of a poetry show. But she did Apiorkor and Apiorkor was more than enough.
I also went home with resolve about the use of my art. While entertainment through the art is important, as social media parlance would have it, education and social change through the art is importanter. It was great to gauge the reaction of the audience as Apiorkor addressed some of the social issues we either go through or contribute to as Ghanaians. The impact was palpable. I told myself I want this. I want my writing and performances to have an impact like hers did and move people to be better versions of themselves for themselves and for the country.
Thank you, Apiorkor, for the Matriarch’s Verse.
Written by Akuvi Aguedze