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Artist of the day: Irritable Tribe of Poets




What exactly is the Irritable Tribe of Poets?

Good question. It's a group of poets and instrumentalists who perform spacey, free-form sets of spoken word backed by improvisational jazz, rock, gospel, soul and other strange soundscapes.

Led by artistic director Rhonda J. Nelson, the Tribe has performed multiple times at Tropical Heatwave and other festivals around town, and have released two albums: Kahlo (inspired by painter Frida Kahlo) and Live at the Salvador Dali Museum (inspired by the works of Dali).

During shows, poets (usually 3 to 6) give guest musicians parameters as to what they want their backing music to sound like, and the musicians improvise behind them. "If you imagine a band that has a singer as the leader, it's the same, except there's a poet in place of the singer," Nelson said.

The Tribe doesn't play out very often -- "We probably do onyl about four gigs a year, and this year even less," Nelson said -- but when they do have a gig, they attract some prominent names.

On Sunday (9/20), the Irritable Tribe of Poets will perform at Skipper's Smokehouse with guest poets like Tampa poet laureate James Tokley, Melissa Fair and Bradley Morewood, and musicians like Ronny Elliott, Rebekah Pulley, Jim Beckwith and Ray "Rayzilla" Villadonga.

The show begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10. Click here for details.

Photo (2005): Lara Cerri, tbt*.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:13pm]


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