Olumide Popoola

About artist / group: 

Olumide Popoola, a young spoken-word and performance artist from Berlin, has been getting more and more attention on the music and slam poetry scenes. Not only Joseph Bowie, head of the legendary U.S. band Defunkt, waxed enthusiastic about her during their recent joint concert in Berlin, but a growing audience from the slam poetry circuits have also acclaimed her pointed and erotic ‘she poems’.
Olumide uses storytelling, dramatic expression, and music to get her message across. Whether it is a story about desire or a political subject, her focus is on the beauty of life, on our ability as human beings to learn and transform, and on spirituality. Her style leans on the Caribbean tradition of poetic expression, as well as hip-hop culture and African storytelling. To create modes of performance that differ from the usual theatrical experience, she has collaborated with painters, musicians and sculptors. She has travelled extensively and put herself in different cultural scenarios to develop her own individual ‘Diasporic art’.
Olumide Popoola is of Nigerian-German ancestry and has a comprehensive background in dramatic arts. She studied at the theatre department of Utrecht’s School of the Arts in the Netherlands and participated in Guillermo Gomez-Peña’s Masterclass in Performance Art in London. Popoola has been publishing her poetry since 1988, in such publications as the German magazine Afro Look, Y-Magazine (a popular youth magazine in Johannesburg, South Africa), and Wasser in der Wüste, an anthology of writings by Afro-German Women (Berlin: Orlando Verlag, forthcoming). She also co-edited Talking Home (Amsterdam: Bluemoon Press, 1999). Her work has been featured on radio and TV in Germany as well as in South Africa and the Netherlands. In spring 2000, she founded Ms Lady Pride Productions, a collective of black artists from all disciplines, promoting and organising events and performances mainly with women artists of colour.
At City of Women, Olumide Popoola will perform with Berlin-based jazz pianist Carolyn Carreon del Rosario. Rosario, who was born in the Philippines and has resided in Berlin since 1984, performs in various jazz clubs and theatres both with her own group and with other bands, in Germany, Japan, Tunisia, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, and New York. She studied piano, jazz, and music literature at the College of Music (University of Philippines), and advanced jazz and piano theory with Walter Norris and Aki Takase in Berlin, as well as with Gaei Allen in New York. Rosario won the Berlin Studio Competition, which allows her to record her compositions with her group Kullintang Floating on the Konnex Records label.

List of artist's projects