Mixtape – Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson

Mixtape is your sonic CV. The gumbo of humanity that we are – shows we like, music we like, conversations with friends. Our experiences wide and deep.” – Roger Robinson

Rising stars of poetry Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson present a unique new show of poetry

With enduring friendship at its centre, hear poems which leap back and forth in time, giving voice to the universal struggle to carve out personal and political identities. Poems about music, poems about love, poems of protest and of exile, monologues and duet poems … all tied together through an unforgettable soundtrack of songs, from Afrobeats to hip-hop, from reggae to soul. Through a heartfelt, humorous and honest exploration of two individual lives, Mixtape will inspire audiences to compile the definitive track list of their own experiences.

Watch an extract from the Mixtape show, filmed at the first international tour event at BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium.

Video: Roger & Nick in conversation

Watch Roger and Nick discussing the concept for the Mixtape Tour with Johny Pitts.

Mixtape Tour

Roger and Nick performed Mixtape at venues and literary festivals around the UK through 2018, finishing with a show at BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. In Spring 2019 they were invited to visit Norway where they spent a week performing to audiences in Oslo and Haugesund.

Full tour dates

3 February 2018 – Speaky Spokey, Brighton

3 April 2018 – Beyond Words, London

11 May 2018 – Mixtape Workshop with Nick Makoha, Words in the City Festival, Leeds Library, Leeds ¦ 11am ¦ Free

12 May 2018 – Words in the City Festival, Carriageworks, Leeds ¦ 4pm ¦ Tickets £7/£5

21 May 2018 – Mixtape x The Artist’s Table, Waterstones Tottenham Court Road, London ¦ 7pm ¦ Tickets £45

25 May 2018 – Writing on the Wall Festival, Studio 2, Liverpool ¦ 7.30pm ¦ Tickets £12/£6 

2 June 2018 – Mixtape Sessions at Stoke Newington Literary Festival with Theresa Lola & Momtaza Mheri

17 June 2018 – Windrush Day at Keats House, London ¦ 3.30pm ¦ Free but ticket must be booked

19 June 2018 – Workshop – Mixtape: Unlocking Your Creativity with Spread the Word & Deptford Lounge, London ¦ 6.30pm ¦ Free

23 June 2018 – The Last Word Festival at The Albany, London ¦ 7.30pm ¦ Tickets £10/£8

30 June 2018 – The Last Word Festival at the Roundhouse, London ¦ 7pm ¦ Tickets £10

2 July 2018 – Ledbury Poetry Festival, Ledbury

7 July 2018 – Poetry Mixtape with special guests at Bradford Literature Festival, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford ¦ 5.30pm ¦ Tickets £7 / £3 / £1

October 2018 – Ted Hughes Festival, Mexborough

20 October 2018 – Dis Othering – Beyond Afropolitan and Other Labels, Brussels, Belgium

16 March – MelaHus – Oslo, Norway

18-22 March 2019 – various – Haugesund, Norway


Contact

For more information about Mixtape or to enquire about booking a performance, contact Nick: nicholas.chapman@speaking-volumes.org.uk


About Nick Makoha & Roger Robinson

Nick Makoha and Roger Robinson (photos by Benji Reid)

Nick Makoha is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow who represented Uganda at Poetry Parnassus as part of the Cultural Olympiad held in London. A former Writer in Residence for Newham Libraries, his 1-man-Show My Father & Other Superheroes debuted to sold-out performances at 2013 London Literature Festival and is currently on tour. He has been a panelist at both the inaugural Being a Man Festival (Fatherhood: Past, Present & Future) and Women of the World Festival,(Bringing Up Boys). In 2005 award-winning publisher Flippedeye launched its pamphlet series with his debut The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man. Part of his soon to be published 1st full collection The Kingdom Of Gravity is in the anthology Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press). He is the 2016 winner of the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his manuscript Resurrection Man, to be published by Jai-Alai Books in spring 2017. He won the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry prize and has poems that appear in the The Poetry Review, Rialto, The Triquarterly Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. Find him at www.nickmakoha.com | @NickMakoha

Roger Robinson was born in Trinidad and has lived in the UK for over 20 years. Decibel named him as one of 50 writers influencing the Black British writing canon. His commissions include The National Trust, The National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Roger’s books include the fiction Adventures in 3D and poetry collections Suitcase, Suckle – Winner of the Peoples Book Prize – and The Butterfly Hotel, from which the poem ‘Trinidad Gothic’ was Highly Commended by the Forward Prize and shortlisted for the OCM Bocas Poetry Prize. He is a co-founder of Spoke Lab and the writing collective Malika’s Kitchen. He released a solo album, Illclectica, and is lead vocalist for King Midas Sound, whose debut album, Waiting for You (Hyperdub Records), was critically acclaimed. www.rogerrobinsononline.com | Twitter @rrobinson72

Breaking Ground USA

Following years of failed diversity initiatives in literature and publishing sectors, and after the publication of Spread the Word’s 2015 Writing the Future report, we decided that it was time to act, and at least make our own small contribution to raising awareness and visibility of the immense, hidden, diverse talent in the UK, and the Breaking Ground project was born.

Conceived, curated and organised by Speaking Volumes, Breaking Ground was a double tour to the East and West Coast’s of the USA, one in November 2015, the second in May 2016. It came from discussions with colleagues at the AfroEuropes conference, following a cultural evening programmed by Speaking Volumes, a number of visitors from the US expressed shock and surprise that Black British writers existed. We felt that raising awareness of this would privde a boost for our writers, providing opportunities in the US that UK publishers were not.

Left-right: Karen McCarthy Wolf; Nick Makoha; Jay Bernard; Gabriel Gbadamosi; Johny Pitts; Bernardine Evaristo; Diran Adebayo; Roger Robinson; Colin Grant

The Breaking Ground tour list consisted of five prose writers, five poets. All of the artists present a vast range of themes in their work and many are multi-genre writers, combining poetry and playwriting, for example. We paid particular attention to balancing gender and age and to present both new and established names to audiences.

The ten tour writers were Diran Adebayo, Jay Bernard, Bernardine Evaristo, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Colin Grant, Nick Makoha, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Johny Pitts, Roger Robinson and Warsan Shire.

Breaking Ground had a very successful start in 2015, with three events around England followed by the first part of the US programme. Ten of the best Black British writers gave lectures at Rutgers University, NY; conducted workshops with young poets in Chicago, IL; presented solo shows in Pittsburgh, PA; and visited classes at Emory,  the first black college in the US, in Atlanta, GA. This series ended with a full showcase of of all ten authors at the 2015 Association for the Study of Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) conference in Charleston, SC.

As a result of ongoing demand from North American contacts, we planned a second ambitious tour of the USA, this time heading for the West Coast and Califonia. The writers read at San Francisco book shops, visited classes at the University of California at Davis, had a sold-out theatre showcase, and ran workshops at Sacramento Maximum Security Prison. At this moment in the twenty-first century, Breaking Ground represents a thoughtful and imaginative way of presenting a positive Black British experience based on a spirit of collaboration and exchange.

Roger Robinson reflects on visiting Sacramento Maximum Security Prison
Johny Pitts reflects on the Breaking Gorund US experience

The dates for the second part of the US tour in 2016

Thursday 28 April

Breaking Ground at Seton Hall, New Jersey with Bernardine Evaristo and Colin Grant

Free and open to the public | 6-8pm | Arts & Sciences Hall, room 107, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ

Friday 29 April

Breaking Ground at New York University with Bernardine Evaristo and Colin Grant

Monday 2 May

Creative writing workshops at California State Prison-Sacramento (formerly Folsom Prison)

Workshops for inmates will be conducted by Diran Adebayo, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Colin Grant, Nick Makoha, Johny Pitts and Roger Robinson | Closed event

Monday 2 May

Jay Bernard and Bernardine Evaristo – brown bag event at University of California at Davis

Tuesday 3 May

Breaking Ground Black British Writers Showcase featuring all ten tour writers – Mondavi Center 

Tickets $30 / $10 concessions | 8-10pm | Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center, University of California, Davis, CA

Wednesday 4 May

Breaking Ground Showcase at Green Apple Books, San Francisco

Featuring nine tour writers |  7.30-9.30pm | Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Avenue, SF CA

Thursday 4 May

Breaking Ground Writers visiting classes at University of California, Davis

Closed event | various times | UC Davis

Thursday 4 May

Breaking Ground Readings at UC Davis