Vocal Portraits is a collection of spoken word poems by 15 of Ghana’s most recognisable spoken word poets. The album was Executively Produced by Kwame Write and directed by Rhymesonny, the president of the People of Equal Thoughts & Spirit (P.O.E.T.S).
With 17 tracks and 3 bonus tracks, Vocal Portraits, contains a diverse range of poetry on topics ranging from love to socio-political issues. Most of the tracks were produced by Drumnayshin and Boney.
The album kicks off with “Intro-diction” by Kwame Write, which sets the tone for the album. The slow backing track fits Write’s voice and makes it haunting as he dedicates the album. Tiffany Howard’s “Love always Finds” and Chief Moomen’s “Savanna Love” are beautiful love stories. The latters vivid description of the culture of the Northern part of Ghana backed with what sounds like a kora is one of my favourites. “Captivated” is a passionate ode to a former love by Anastasia Karklina.
The socially-conscious “Black Woman” by Mariska Araba Taylor-Darko is an ode to the natural beauty of women of African descent and the attempt to make them feel ugly. “Tell Them” by Michael Somuah Kesse is a poem that sings the praise of African heroes which is often overlooked. “This I Put To You” is a call to duty for Ghana backed by a string instrument version of an old Ghanaian patriotic song.
“The wait” by Ms Ndabi is a poem arguing out her reasons for wanting to remain a virgin until marriage. “When I Was a Child” by Rhymesonny is a deeply personal poem about his life before and after his Christian faith. The “Ny3br) Skit” by Yom_Writer_Poet is a beautiful tale of companionship. Laud de Poet gives a haunting take on death on “The Icy Hands of Death”.
Kwame Write, who has 7 tracks on the album (including two with Yaw Twum) has poems which are rich in metaphors and similes. Most of his tracks are a display of his skill and the reason he writes poetry/his love for poetry. One track that stands out is “The Dance in Our Speech” which is a marriage of rap and poetry and brings Kwame Write’s fast-paced rap skill and his simile-rich poetry to the fore.
The album never gets boring due to its diversity. There is something for everyone. The production though, gets too prominent in some instances. The poet should set the rhythm of the poem, not the soundtrack. That may be a draw for conservative poetry lovers.
CediTalk rating: 3.7 out of 5 Stars
Intro-diction – Kwame Write
Savanna Love – Chief Moomen
Love Always Finds – Tiffany Howard
Keep Moving On – Kwame Write
Icy Hands of Death – Laud de Poet
Black Woman – Mariska Araba Taylor-Darko
When I Was A Child – Rhymesonny
The Dance In Our Speech – Kwame Write
Ny3br) Skit – Yom_Writer_Poet
A Piece of Peace – Aqua Stunzenaite
Truth or Lie – Kwaku Rap
Captivated – Anastasia Karklina
Tell Them – Michael Somuah Kesse
Out of A Dream – Kwame Write
The Wait – Ms Ndabi
This I Put To You – Shark Mellon
Stand Out – Yaw Twum & Kwame Write
Transformation – Jude Edze
I Am Poem – Yaw Twum & Kwame Write
Y’ap)nn – Kwame Write