With his new poetry piece ‘Distant Daily Ijó / YNWA’ and the striking visuals that come with it, British Nigerian artist, poet, playwright and performer YOMI SODE is paying homage to black music and culture, and the safe space that black music such as grime and afrobeats have been providing black bodies over the years. While some often deem our spaces and cultures as dangerous and life-threatening even, they feel like home to us, and whether it is ‘Distant Daily Ijó’ exploring the constant dance we’re in that gets us through life, or ‘YNWA’, which celebrating how music helps us through our best and worst moments, Yomi Sode has delivered a gripping piece of art, superbly merging poetry and music, in ode to black survival.
To bring ‘Distant Daily Ijó / YNWA’ and its themes of black survival and celebration further to life, Yomi Sode has collaborated with actor and director Elliot Barnes-Worrell (Ready Player One, Dolittle, Van der Valk) for its accompanying video, which was executive produced by fellow poet and creative Caleb Femi, who also stars in the captivating 6-minute visual spectacle with Yomi Sode, alongside ‘Distant Daily Ijó’ producer Conrad Kira, Casualty and Peaky Blinders actor Peter Bankole, and Solomon Israel from Brothers With No Game and Doctor Who. With references to black British music legends such as Wiley, Kano, Ghetts and D Double E, Yomi Sode perfectly describes the ‘Distant Daily Ijó / YNWA’ video as “poetry, at the heart of a culture”.
Speaking about the inspiration behind ‘Distant Daily Ijó / YNWA’, Yomi Sode says, “There’s something to be said about the community of black people, and the many house parties/gatherings within points of struggle. I have attended raves with friends, shared spaces with strangers, all of us with a multitude of things happening. The dancefloor serving itself as space to liberate us from the bulls**t. We walk out, living to fight another day. There’s something in the songs I’ve listened to that’s aided each waking moment. ‘Distant Daily Ijo’ is the release, ‘YNWA’ is the process. I can’t have one without the other. Both are just as important to my existence”.
A recipient of the much-coveted Jerwood Compton Poetry fellowship, Yomi Sode is currently working on his first poetry collection and his second play WALTZ, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut solo play COAT, which saw the South London native take his one-man show exploring immigration, identity and displacement into new spaces such as Brighton Festival, Roundhouse’s Last Word Festival, and the Royal Albert Hall. His recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ inspired collaboration with award-winning composer James B. Wilson titled Remnants has already been garnering acclaim from the likes of BBC Radio 3, The Arts Desk and The Guardian, while his essay The F Word was recently featured in Safe: 20 Ways To Be A Black Man In Britain.
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