Reviews by Semera

Review of Still

Still, the 3rd instalment from the prolific poet Amen Noir is a cerebral treat. With and an amalgamation of teachings, poetry, sound and rhythm, the clear emotion on this album soothes your tensions away, and the logic jumps up and smacks you in the back of your head.
The backing music uses horns and drums, and beats to create an urgency; there seems to be a constant tat tat tat tat like a ticking clock throughout this album. The words are layered creating a depth to the poetry.
Known for his positive Black message, Amen Noir doesn't disappoint on 'Still, with lessons in identity through 'Who Am I?', and muses on the current state of UK society in 'African Affiliation' featuring Oneness. It's fun; he tackles important topics with an air of irony, but somehow manages to do this without taking away from the seriousness, like in 'No Justice No Peace'.
This is not one to skip over lightly; 'Still' will help shake away those cobwebs in the mind, with its head-nodding beats and thought provoking lyrics.
Samera Owusu Tutu

Best Kept Secret

The Best Kept Secret is on mission and they’re not about to let their impact go unnoticed. In the absence of ShakaRa – Best Kept’s youngest member – the collective made waves at Salon Afrique, the Royal Festival Hall’s offering for Africa 05.



The collective used their signature element of group choreography to infuse life into their segment, and really brought performance to poetry with their use of props and drama. When Amen Noir, Oneness, Tuggs.t.a.r. and shortMAN quick-marched onto the stage, the audience in the Moroccan-influenced space didn’t know what to make of them. But as the performance flowed naturally between the group elements and the performers’ individual pieces, the audience was hooked.


Though diverse with regards to delivery, they have a unified direction with regards to their message. Together the five poets, all established in their own right, create a picture of awareness and empowerment. They’re not afraid to offer social comment, as did Tuggs.t.a.r. in his poem about the African migration to the UK of the sixties. Nor are they afraid to be opinionated. I’m sure shortMAN will have converted a few audience members into a vegetarian lifestyle after his piece on the dangers of eating meat.

The amalgamation of their individual styles and abilities make for a powerful show and a powerful force on the current performance poetry scene.



Samera Owusu Tutu