Talkatives BOOKED OUT Salamay, The Poet Geoff, Cormac Fitz, Leon Dunne, Kestine, Jamie and Freddy Black.
It’s that time of the year again, when the best wordsmiths in the country gather on a single stage to compete for the Talkatives crown. Poets, rappers and spoken word artists go head-to-head, word-to-word, in a classic poetry SLAM style competition. This one is the biggest yet, the stage is the Dublin Book Festival and the artists are past Talkatives winners. Salamay, The Poet Geoff, Cormac Fitz, Leon Dunne, Kestine, Jamie and Freddy Black compete for our biggest prize of 500 euro and the prestige of being the best of the best Talkative.
Hosted by Dagogo Hart of WeAreGriot and Thembe Mvula.
An artist undoubtedly worth looking out for, Salamay crafts real, relevant and relatable music like no other. Known to inspire and connect with audiences through his performances, Salamay translates everyday life into an audible format. Cork-raised, his genre-spanning hip hop presents meaningful records that are inspired by the greats including Fela Kuti, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean & more. “Taking it one day at a time”, Salamay is focused on longevity and remains intent on building an authentic fanbase.
Geoff Finan was the Writer in Residence for Dublin City Council for the Dublin North West area in the summer of 2018 and again in 2019 and is currently lecturing in poetry in the National College of Art and Design on and also in Maynooth University In 2019 he had the honour of writing the 100 year commemorative poem celebrating the first Dáil in Ireland, titled ‘January 1919’. He recently debuted his first play with The Can Collective called Wakespace during the Scene & Heard Theatre Festival in 2022. Geoff was commissioned as part of the First Fortnight Festival to write the poem ‘Gloke’ after working with The Travelling Community for 4 months. Geoff has also been commissioned by the DCC’s Culture Connects project to write for the Local Heroes initiative and his poem A Letter To Leo was chosen as the flagship piece for the My Name Is campaign, fighting against child homelessness in Ireland. Geoff has written and performed a poem for the documentary Baristas, which has gone to number 1 in 8 countries, top 10 in the US and top 5 in Canada and the UK, in the documentary charts and is now streaming on Amazon Prime. He was also recently shortlisted for writing and performing in the short film ‘Taboo’. Geoff been featured on RTÉ, TV3, Today Fm, 98 FM, FM104 and Newstalk and in The Sunday Business Post, The Times, The Irish Times and The New York Times
Cormac Fitz is a writer and spoken word artist from Dublin, who has stood on stages at festivals, poetry nights and in pubs across the country. His work attempts to use fast-paced rhymes and flow to tell stories about the world and the people around us.
A Dublin-based poet, Leon Dunne‘s work focuses primarily on giving a voice to topics outside the mainstream conversation. Coming from a working-class background, and after studying English and Film at UCD, he engages in language and rhythm with high energy to draw the listeners in. As Leon puts it, “I write poems and stories for people that may feel left behind by the mainstream culture”. In November 2022 the artist won The All-Ireland Poetry Slam Championship held in Cork and in March 2023 he performed at Trafalgar Square, in front of 15,000 people, as part of London’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival.
At a very young age, Cork rapper Kestine quickly became fascinated by music from the early 90s, and the essence of early hip hop, reggae and his idol, Michael Jackson. Kestine was often teased in primary school for his youthful admiration of Michael Jackson, which pushed him to begin rapping. Rap became an outlet that he used to vent out his frustrations. His solo EP ‘Reflection’ was released in April of 2021, and received high appraisal from Hot Press Magazine, Golden Plec, Irish Times , Echo live and the Irish examiner. The EP was followed up with the award winning music video for one of the tracks from the EP “ U.N.I.T.Y” which won the Best Hip-Hop Music Video at Rome Music Video Awards 2022. Kestine has performed in major Irish stages and festivals such as Electric Picnic, Indiependence and Three City Stages’ in Galway, and opened up for JLS member Aston Merrgold and is looking to take on 2023 with some more amazing performances and on track to releasing his third EP.
The man, the lisp, the legend, JPEG is a poet inspired by the likes of Shane Koyczan, Lennie Pen, and Harry Baker.
Freddy Black is an international, multi award winning, poet, writer, actor, filmmaker and musician currently based in Dublin. Freddy’s poetry is dominated by prominent social issues such as mental health, homelessness and modern relationships. In 2018 he wrote Big Boys Don’t Cry, after starting out by picking up the top spot at the Doolin Writers Festival in 2019, The short spoken word film went on to win multiple awards across the film festival circuit globally. Freddy is also the lead vocalist in the band The Hotel Mosaic and their tunes will certainly get up on your feet.
WeAreGriot is a collection of Nigerian-Irish poets and storytellers: FELISPEAKS, Dagogo Hart, and Samuel Yakura. They state, “Our goal is to reflect the times we live in through our work, to celebrate culture and community, and to stretch the boundaries of poetry. We create to serve both Art and Agenda.”
Thembe Mvula is a South African/British writer and poet. She is an alum of the Obsidian Foundation, Barbican Young Poets and the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Thembe has headlined nationally and internationally, including at Tate Lates, Oslo Afro Arts festival and has featured at Latitude festival. Her poetry has been anthologised in Part of a Story That Started Before Me (Penguin Random House, 2023), Before Them, We (Flipped Eye Publishing, 2022), The Black Anthology (10:10 Press, 2021) and appears in Magma magazine issues 77 and 83 and Rowayat. She recently completed a masters in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford, specialising in screenwriting.
Thembe Mvula appearance supported by the British Council in collaboration with The Times and the Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.