By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Dynamic poet / spoken word artist Oswald Okaitei on Wednesday surprised poetry lovers in Accra with a dramatic presentation of strung poems, which flowed into each other with relative ease.
Performing at the Goethe-Institut in Accra as part of a monthly acoustic session, the poet gave a rendition of his own poems alongside works by Ghanaian literary giants including the late Prof. Attukwei Okai, Prof. Lade Wosornu, Prof. Kofi Anyidohu and Dr. Mawuli Adzei.
Amidst applause from the audience, Okaitei performed a conceptualized version of these emotionally charged poems, which he adapted into the era of pre-colonialism while reminding the crowd of the apparent loss of Ghana’s cultural values owing to foreign interventions.
Together with school kids and a group of ladies known as Achievers Ghana who performed while seated in the midst of the audience, Okaitei showcased the prowess of diction, use of metaphors, alliteration, imagery, witticism, symbolism and other devices employed by these great poets.
“It is refreshing to note that several venues have opened their doors for poets to perform and earn a living in the process. We have indeed moved from the scarcity of opportunities for performance poets. Thanks to the Goethe-Institut for providing a platform for poets”, said Yaw Adu, a poet in Accra.
Undeniably, a cool balance between rawness and style allowed Okaitei’s words to shine and soar through the cool night air as choral music, acoustic guitars and traditional drums provided inspirational rhythms. With an unruffled calmness, he proved that poetry performance could be delivered in diverse ways with varied outcomes.
Through a rather practical, blunt, direct tone and humorous language, his poems moved with controlled energy as stanza after stanza blended into each other with panache. Employing expressive physical gestures that engaged the audience, the poet eventually slowed down and read from a number of his recent works.
Dubbed “Goethe Abansoro”, the monthly acoustic sessions offer artists and their audiences a cozy atmosphere on a decorated terrace to interact while enjoying recent artistic creations.