Wednesday, August 6, 2014

LESHIE LOVESONG presents BREATHE


I've had a wonderful start to my birthday month. Do I believe in horoscopes? What! of course not. I should point out that if I did, Leshie is a fellow leo and says this was a birthday gift to herself. Who is Leshie Lovesong? Born Lesego Nswahu Nchunga she has been performing poetry since 2006, and became a member of ExodusLivePoetry! in 2007. She has since performed her work at the Maun International Poetry Festival, at the Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo; in Johannesburg, South Africa; Luanda, Angola; and Rundu, Namibia.
I’ve been there playing occasional big sister while she grew into herself and so despite winter refusing to relinquish her rather cold hold on Gaborone's evenings I honoured a promise to attend Leshie’s solo showcase. Titled “Breathe” this second showcase followed “Falling” which she staged in March this year.

Leshie Lovesong was accompanied by Sibongile Phiri, Boleng as Atmos, Mandisa Mabuthoe as Josiah King, Tefo Paya as the Lonely Lover, Cedric on guitar, and Lex the Box Cutter.
She’s a tiny little thing, at best 5 feet and a bit tall but she has a really tall personality. Her job as a lawyer with an interest in Human Rights law entails occasionally encountering the less savoury side of perfectly everyday-human beings yet she retains an impossibly sunny outlook on life. Her soems (a somewhat quirky term sometimes used here to label songs that are poem-heavy) are infectiously fun and flirty and well crafted.

“Waiting to grow” was written for 3 friends who all should have been 26 years old this year but unfortunately lost their lives, somehow that undying thread of optimism and cheerfulness finds its way into even this song. “Awaken my dreams” has the most fun yet melancholy melody and I’m still humming it off key this many days later.

She doesn’t hesitate to disagree with me, to ask questions, to temporarily liberate poetry books from my private collection and give feedback which makes it easier to give her feedback on her own work. And she pays it forward, she had a sixteen year old singer-songwriter (who I now have my eye on) on stage with her for two or so songs. I love that the clear bulk of Leshie’s sets are original material, there is a lot of covering of covers in this town. Don’t tell her but she’s one of my favourite little human beings and she and handful of her peers are the reason I’m working on a couple of projects geared towards growing poetry collections in local libraries. I took a couple of photographs during the show so the pictures could do the thousand word thing ...

She describes her sound as ‘jazzy blues poetic music’

Mandisa Mabuthoe as Josiah King

“I held the two shows mainly because I wanted to share my work with my audience, on a platform on which I could merge poetry and music and theatre, comfortably”.

Her first show sold out, this one ended with a chorus of "nos" from the audience, she tried to say goodbye and the audience talked over her farewell to demand more music.


She's still gathering feathers for her wings but she has a fair sense of the work that lies ahead so next time you are out looking for a love song look to Botswana and look up...


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