For more than two years now, Words & Strings, the frontrunners in Qatar’s emerging open mic scene, have routinely brought together wordsmiths of all sorts under one thought-stirring roof. To close out the year on a wordy high, the group will present an evening of poetry in ‘Words of December’ event at Education City, Recreation Centre, tomorrow from 6pm to 8pm.
It was two years ago that Words & Strings started with a group of five enthusiastic and multi-talented youth, passionate about arts and more so about the spoken word. The organisers say, “This group attempted to fill the gap between the existence of talent and the lack of consistent platform to share it, with the aim to create an open space for artists and art lovers to come together and comfortably share their talents on the only consistent platform for spoken word art in Qatar.”
Earlier in August, an evening of poetry, spoken word and music, at the Katara Art Centre (KAC), saw 17 performers – a very diverse mix, be it in terms of the types of performers or nationalities – belt out a wide range of quality creativity to a cheery audience of nearly 100.
Words & Strings have been pioneering spoken word art events to unite the many and scattered talents in Qatar. In their words, “enriching the local art scene” is their goal. Community caught up with Amin Isaac, co-founder of Words & Strings and a gifted poet, for a chat.
The last few events of Words & Strings turned out really well. What new or improved additions have you planned for the event tomorrow?
The biggest difference in the next event will be the venue itself. The event will no longer be held in Katara Art Centre, which was the choice of place for the recent sessions. This time, Words & Strings will get a bigger venue in the Recreation Centre of Qatar Foundation. We are excited to see how it will turn out.
What sort or variety of poetry can the audience expect from the event?
Anyone who came to any of our previous events knows you cannot expect what is going to be performed in a Words & Strings event, and that only adds excitement to the event. What I can say though is that there will be a wide variety of poetry reciting, A Capella performances, musical performances, and even a mix of those types in any other performance.
Through the prism of Words & Strings events, how do you see the poetry scene in Qatar evolving?
Through our two years journey now, we have been lucky enough to have a front row seat to the evolving poetry scene in Qatar. We have noticed an increasing interest in poetry by our growing audience and performers, month by month, and as a result of that growth we started giving poetry workshops just recently. Our very first workshop was just last month. We wanted to do more than just share poetry and performances; we want to invest in that growth and its quality. That is the reason why we are holding these workshops.
Do you think poetry as an art form is still relevant to the youth and society today? Why?
Absolutely. Poetry as an art form is timeless in my opinion. It is an ancient form of art and it is still popular today. Many of our audience and performers are young students actually, and I think what makes it so timeless is that it is very relatable and powerful. It only requires portraying your feelings honestly, with any writing or performing technique of your choice.
Personally, what do you like most about the power of the spoken word?
What I like most about it is how empowering it feels when I perform, to me before anyone else. I get people to come to me after I perform and tell me how much they relate to what my poem was about, or how they feel the exact same way, and it’s always incredible to find that kind of connection with strangers. When I listen or see a spoken word performance, it is a different experience every single time. Words can be a really powerful tool when used correctly.
A WAY WITH WORDS: Amin Isaac