Kate Tempest @ Bradford Kala Sangam Arts Centre, 17/11/18

Saturday 17th November saw Women of the World (aka WOW) festival land in Bradford Kala Sangam Arts Centre. The festival is a Southbank Centre initiative that celebrates the diversity, genius, creativity and talent of local communities, bringing people together to learn about each other and hear the voices of people who are not usually given a platform. There was so much on over the weekend including workshops about emotional labour, domestic violence, Islamophobia, international activism and so much more. I went down on Saturday night for a special work-in-progress performance by the extraordinary Kate Tempest.
Kate Tempest is a rapper, poet, playwright, novelist and spoken word artist. She has released two solo albums, Everybody Down and Let Them Eat Chaos, both of which earned Mercury Prize Nominations. She is extremely talented and emotive in her performance and manages to captivate the whole room seemingly effortlessly: you just find yourself drawn in. This performance saw Kate and producer Dan Carey play to a sold-out room that was small and very intimate. There was no light show and sometimes no backing music, just her words echoing through a silent, entranced room with people hanging off her every word. Kate preformed a recently finished show, The Book of Traps and Lessons, that told the story of being alone, falling in love and what that means in the society we live in today. The words hung in the air as she said them and I found myself getting lost in the meanings of certain lines and then realising I had missed what had just been said.
Kate Tempest’s writing is so clever and emotive that you can listen to a poem or a song hundreds of times and discover new meanings in lines or assign new meanings depending on how you are feeling at the time of listening. The show highlighted the monotony of everyday life and how we can get drawn into our routines and consequently become oblivious to the bigger picture issues that are happening all around us. Kate discusses inequalities and injustices, trapping someone with love and almost compulsive routines we have to do in order to feel as though we are maintaining some control. Her words and performance left me feeling reflective, thoughtful and full of a cocktail of emotions. What was truly special was talking to people after the show and hearing the different lines that people picked up on and the impact certain verses had on others; at times it felt that we had seen different shows because the content was so rich and impactful in ways individual to each person.
In short, the show was incredible. I can’t wait for it to be recorded, released and hopefully toured because it really is something special watching a Kate Tempest show.
Megan Jones
Featured image: Primary Talent

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