Words: Dylan Murphy
District and the National Concert hall have teamed up for a unique performance. Tune in on May 20 for a free live stream celebrating black Irish identity featuring some of the country’s most important acts.
The National Concert Hall and District Magazine present a new production, spearheaded by acclaimed poet Felispeaks, Extraterrestrial.
For as long as it has existed, Ireland has produced poets that effortlessly speak truth to turbulent times. Whether it’s William Butler Yeats challenging conventional wisdom or Seamus Heaney brushing often crippling images grounded in lived experience, there’s a long-established tradition of storytelling that is maintained to this very day.
50 years from Heaney’s Selected Works and Ireland’s storytellers are still exploring identity and challenging established order in poetry’s modern iteration – hip hop. ‘Extraterrestrial’ is a theatrical production illustrating Ireland’s rich cultural tapestry, that invites Ireland’s foremost hip hop artists and RnB contemporaries to explore themes of identity, race and community through original music and poetry.
Using an alien and otherworldly theme as a metaphor to summarise the social experience of what it means to be
‘othered’ in Ireland, celebrated poet FeliSpeaks will lead conversations with Ireland’s leading stars that serve as an
introductory voice-over to each act’s performance.
Asking artists draped in alien-themed attire the two simple questions of: “Who do you think you are?” and “Who do
you other people often think you are?”, the short back and forths will provide a thought-provoking appetiser to the
Performing on the day are a variety of the country’s most forward-thinking artists. Belfast-based singer and rapper
Alicia Raye released one of 2020’s most ambitious projects in Alphabet, which saw 36 features from Ireland’s rap,
RnB and Afrobeat scene come together across 26 tracks.
Elsewhere, Galway native Celaviedmai is one of the most versatile and consistent acts of the past 5 years. Comfortable weaving between genres, it’s this unpredictability that makes her so exciting. Rapper and activist JyellowL led Black Lives Matter protests in the capital before dropping his Choice Prize Nominated 2020 Division, joining him on the streets of the capital during the summer was Erica Cody. Shooting up the ranks with a number of earworm singles and possessing a genuine star power, Erica’s stock is only going up in the music world.
Reggie has been at the forefront of the Irish drill scene that has been subject of Vice documentaries and worldwide interest. ‘My Accent’, His powerful rebuke to systemic racism is a living, breathing time capsule of the
black experience in Ireland. Last, but not least is Kildare alt-hip hop duo Tebi Rex who are hot off the back of a
compelling performance at SXSW and still glowing from the reviews from their Debut album The Young Will Eat The Old.
Coupled with compelling, never seen before collaborations between acts from various corners of Ireland’s
bustling music scene, ‘Extraterrestrial‘ is set to showcase the artists cutting through busy public discourse and challenging outdated notions of Irishness.
Extraterrestrial streams on May 20 at 20.00 and is available on on National Concert Hall’s YouTube and Facebook.