In the history of art and literature, poetry and music have always had a very close (almost indistinguishable) relationship. As early as medieval times, minstrels set tales and poems to the sounds of music to create a new form of artistic and social expression. In the 20th century, however, times began to change and the marriage of poetry and music played a pivotal role in creating a subculture whose feelings of alienation and anti-conformity drove them to search for something more authentic. By the early 1950s, the small group of talented writers known as the Beats began toying with African American jazz rhythms in their poetry for the aesthetic and authenticity they saw in the underground movement. Radical in many aspects, the art form that resulted from the Beats’ experimentation with poetry and music changed the landscape of traditional poetics as well as contributing to the sociological landscape at the time.
Curated and produced by Udayan Chakravarty at Eagle Claw Something with Stiff Kittens Inc, Stefan Kaye with his group The Jass B’stards featured recently at the highly successful ‘Book Hop’ event at OddBird Theatre, New Delhi. The Book Hop concept digresses slightly for ‘Word Jazz’ and focuses specifically on poetry. For this event, some of the world’s most distinguished contemporary poets will be giving spoken word performances accompanied by improvised or specially composed music by The Jass B’stards.