Ehalakasa Slam III
I really wanted to post an article before the slam. Unfortunately I did not get around o doing that so I will merge my before and after experience together.
First off this has been the least prepared I have been for a slam. Considering that it is my third attempt at being a finalist, my energy towards the event was low compared to what it was in the past two slams.
I literally started preparing for the event on Tuesday. I went through my pieces and selected three that I believed will qualify me to the next stage of the competition.
I am always optimistic going in and have come to realize that you never know what to expect from a slam in Ghana. Be it a performance or the judging, there is always some wow factor or weird judging that catches you of cord. Nevertheless, with the experience of two slams with me I had a better chance of coming out the victor.
I have come to realize that performance alone will not earn you marks in the eyes of the judges (Even though the judges change every slam). Content helps but it should be a topic that the judges find relevant to society.
Themes such as Christianity, current affairs and love seem to be content appreciated by judges. You however need a combination of a good theme, creativity and performance to come out on top. All that and a bit of luck and you are good.
I was picked out to be the twelfth person in the line up of performers in this slam. In the last one I was the first.
I consider the first performer in a slam to be a very unfortunate slot. It’s like you are the sacrificial lamb to which judges calibrate their internal judging tools. The twelfth worked for me perfectly for I had the opportunity to be compared with everyone who came on and I believe that played a huge role in the outcome of the event.
I don’t know if randomizing the judges this time around helped much since the judging in this slam in my opinion was very considerate. In fact too considerate. The marks this time around were too high for many performances. Don’t get me wrong, majority of the acts had content the question I kept asking was whether the judges considered performance. Content seems to be of a higher status than performance in the slams here in Ghana. I just don’t get how judging in this manner improves the quality of poetry in the country. I however think the concept of randomizing is fair and should follow through in future slams to level the playing field and ensure fairness.
The decimals helped though. If it weren’t for the decimals this time around a lot of poets will have had equal marks. I strongly believe still that keeping the score to a maximum of 5 or in this case 5.9, makes judging the slam difficult. A maximum of 10 with decimals helps the judges discern better. Though there can never be a thing like 10.1 or 10.6 as 10 is like 100% and you can’t score more than 100%. ( No pun intended :D)
In the spirit of improving things in future slams I propose that participants in slams be scored according in two stages. Content and Creativity (CC) and Performance (P). After the poet performs the slam master asks judges for their score on CC of which there can be a maximum of 5. Thereafter, the slam master asks judges for a score for (P) also with a maximum of 5. Thus (CC) + (P) = Score (S).
Though it may increase the time it takes to score, I believe it improves the judging and gives the poet some amount of feedback on his or her performance.
In the spirit of saving time, I also propose that guest performances on the shows be either cancelled or limited to a maximum of 10 minutes. Also if slam participants can be reduced it will help with the time. Every slam this year has ended around 22:00. If there are about 12 participants taking about 5 minutes on average to perform and be scored, that comes up to an hour (60 mins = 5 mins x 12 participants). Thus we have 3 hours of slam performances. We usually start around 18:30 and that means if we slammed non stop we will be done with performances about 21:30. Future judges should just be aware of the duration of the event.
Alright enough about the technical jambo! I had a great time. There were a number of new faces on the scene including a little kid who had cuteness and eloquence on his side that propelled him all the way to third place. The poetry scene in Ghana is changing and changing fast.
I loved my pieces and how I arranged them. I performed “I do what I do”, “Amos Quito” and “My Thoughts” and scored great marks for all three performances. “Amos Quito” seemed to work the crowd nicely and had them laughing at various punch lines.
In the end I came out the winner of the slam and I must say it has been a long time coming. I always believe in perseverance and I am happy to know that I can practice what I preach. I never let the results of the last two slams get me down. I just dusted myself and came back strong. What does not kill you makes you stronger. I just hope the experience of three slams helps me to come out the winner of the finals in November.
A big thank you to God and all fans and supporters. Shout outs to the Ehalakasa team putting this together. You guys are making a difference in Ghana. I will putting out the poems I performed at this slam and the last right here on tumblr so spread the word. Look out for “I do what I do” next week.
Paul Forjoe Jnr a.k.a 100% writes about his experience winning the recently held Ehalakasa Slam III on 27th July. The Next Slam is 28th September. Register now. The Slam Finals is in November. #itlivesinus