Live Review: Funkenteleky: ‘A Poetry and Music Thing’ | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Live Review: Funkenteleky: ‘A Poetry and Music Thing’

Jonah Corren sheds light on Digbeth's ever evolving and brilliantly unique live poetry and music event 'Funkenteleky'

‘Funken.. what? Funkenwha? Is it a typo? Funfksjsdksrd?! Seriously? That’s not a word. Funke..Fun…ke? Funkenteleky!’

Jack Crowe and David Ferris’ defiantly quirky night of poetry and music returned once again to The Edge, Digbeth, on Friday 29th June to remind its audience why, no less than seven months prior, they had left the event’s previous instalment badgering Jack and David to bring it back as soon as possible. Well, they eventually got their way, and the third Funkenteleky did not disappoint.

Funkenteleky's format is ever-evolving, its premise is unique, and it has no regular schedule
To clarify, for those who aren’t regular attendees of Birmingham’s vibrant poetry scene, most open-mic and poetry nights run on a regular basis: once per month, or every other month if the night is a particularly mammoth undertaking. Funkenteleky however prides itself on being separate from the crowd; its format is ever-evolving, its premise is unique, and it has no regular schedule; it just happens whenever the time is right.

Funkenteleky’s unique premise is that the poets selected to perform at this event are accompanied by a jazz band. Before their sets, each of the four poets is given an hour with the band to prepare, before they unleash the resulting twenty minutes of poetry and music on the audience; be it poems with a moody musical backing, or a full-blown rap performance, each can be as magical as the other. The band for June’s event was lead masterfully by Birmingham Conservatoire alumnus Vittorio Mura on the saxophone, and featured Daniel Kemshell on guitar, David Ferris on organ and William Weir on drums. These four musicians worked seamlessly to accompany the wildly different styles of each of the four poets, before launching into a final musical piece to round off the evening spectacularly.

The four musicians worked seamlessly to accompany the wildly different styles of each of the four poets

The four featured artists for the evening were: University of Birmingham student, and Unislam champion, Hannah Ledlie; recent Verve Poetry Press author Nafeesa Hamid; Bristol poet and playwright Imogen Downes; and TedxBrum ,and BBC 1Xtra performer, Aliyah Denton. Each of these performers utilised the unique position in which they’d been put in different ways: Hannah Ledlie employed drummer William Wier to read her first piece, entitled ‘Hannah Wants an Excuse to Play Drums’ while she accompanied him. Nafeesa Hamid read partially from her fantastic book ‘Besharam’, while the four musicians created an effective and atmospheric backdrop. Imogen Downes brought the tempo of the evening up in the second half with an infectious energy and strikingly hard-hitting centre. Finally, Aliyah Denton’s inherently musical delivery gave the jazz quintet an excellent excuse to really show off with dynamic and interesting counter-melodies.

If Jack Crowe and David Ferris decide the time is right, and all who have experienced the wonders of their night sincerely hope they eventually do, Funkenteleky will descend once again upon The Edge. In the meantime, videos from the last two (and hopefully soon three) nights are available to view on YouTube, and a page has been recently created on Facebook.

As I type ‘Funkenteleky’ into Microsoft Word, a squiggly red line appears beneath it. Defiantly, I right-click, and press ‘Add to Dictionary’. If you missed the last three events, be sure not to miss the next one. And if you didn’t, well, I seriously doubt you need convincing.

Leon Priestnall- The Deep Down, performed at one of Funkenteleky's earlier events

Follow Funkenteleky's Facebook page here




14th July 2018 at 7:00 am

Last Updated

13th July 2018 at 12:19 pm