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Seh Sup'm Makes a Favourable 'Return'

Mario Evon brings Seh Sup'm: The Return to a close

When we walked into Redbones The Blues Cafe, Ann-Margaret Lim was finishing up her reading. Swallowing the disappointment of missing her performance, we prepared to take in the rest of what Seh Supem: The Return had to offer, and it was an enjoyable and diverse offering with enough poetry and music to sup on, on a Saturday night.

Seh Sup’m, a live music and poetry event, has been on extended hiatus. Its initial attempt to return to Kingston’s live event calendar in May was washed off course by heavy rains. Dried off and with a slight change in line-up, Saturday night’s showing suggested it’s return may well be a welcome (re)addition to the calendar.

Nigerian born singer Ugochi Nwagwugwu followed Lim to the stage. Armed with strong vocals, she delivered a short but interesting set. Based in Chicago she closed her neo soul segment with an arresting love song to her homeland, noting that the country has been going through some difficult times, not all of which was of its own making.

Mei CookeAfter a short break, the night returned to another featured poet, Mel Cooke, whose opening poem, ‘Creation’ married poetry and music, an apt tribute to the nature of the event.

"This speaks to word meeting rhythm in Jamaica's Cathedral of sound," Cooke said introducing the piece. Cooke went on to deliver a varied. He tackled Jamaica’s National Anthem, using it as a spring board to question the society, a feat he again repeated, this time through the dazzling array of dances in dancehall which he pirouetted into a critique Jamaica’s crippled economy and rising violence, exploring the point where “dance and real life meet in Jamaica”.

Through poems dedicated to his mother, sister and wife, Cooke veered away from the political stridency which marks much of his work. Hair II, a poem which charts the passing of his sister who died from cancer was particularly moving. These three ‘Hair’ poems, are markedly different dealing with race and representation, loss and love and discovery.  He closed his set with one of his earliest pieces, ‘This is Jamaica’.

Michael Abrahams brought a different strand of social critique to the stage. Abrahams, who straddles the dual identity of comedian and poet is far better at the former, and so his social commentary spiels between the poems tended to be far wittier and more refreshing.

Michael AbrahamsAbrahams' poetry is prosaic but his points are noteworthy. He began with "Justice" which tackles police brutality then moved on to the politicians with 'The Night Before Christmas’, which clearly references Jamaica’s last general elections.  

“As far as I knew all out politicians have been bi-sexual,” Abrahams told the audience in a show of witty banter, “because no matter who is in power, we all get screwed."

Religious zealots were not to be spared as he then moved to ‘Let Us Pray’, a piece which focuses on the inconsistencies of beliefs across denominations.  

"Religion fascinates the hell out of me." Abrahams explained. "What fascinates me is how many people can read the same book and come up with so many different interpretations"

Abarahams then dipped into the sexual first with 'Rain' followed by 'So You Wanna Be a Gynecologist' which was in parts quite funny. Noting the audience’s appreciation for his new slant, he then delivered 'Eat Out'.

“I'd like to leave you with something frivolous and unreal,’ Abrahams said introducing his final piece, a bit of doggerel dubbed ‘Elizabeth. The poem,  was literally a piece of fart, ending with the description of a suffocating "sonic boom", but was easily Abraham’s funniest piece of the night.

Seh Sup’m: The Return ended with an Mario Evonenjoyable performance by Mario Evon accompanied by Djeanne Greaves on keyboards and Elisha Ellis on percussions, who provided a rich bed of sound to compliment Evon’s smooth vocals.
 
"Tonight I'm gonna introduce you to Reggae Soul, if you don't know me," he told the audience. And it was a pleasurable introduction.

Evon opened with ‘You Used to Love’ followed by a reggaefied version of 'Best You Ever Had', which he described as his anthem. Yet, he did a far better job with the romantic Dennis Brown medely which followed which ratcheted up the entertainment level. The medley included ‘Wildfire’, ‘Love Has Found It’s Way’, ‘How Could I Leave’ and ‘Your Love’s Got a Hold On Me’.He closed with ‘Soul Tek’, bringing the night to a satisfactory end.

Now, apparently comfortable in its new home, Seh Supm is slated for the first Saturday of each month, is produced by Root Cause and hosted by Izemi Clem.