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d’bi.young’s words 

Jamaican-born storyteller and dub poet d’bi.young brings a theatrical approach to the Wordrhythm Showcase, at the Music Room.

Many artists work from or toward an ideal. Call it a vision, or a manifesto. Or, in the case of Toronto-based d'bi.young anitafrika, a "wombanifesto."

Besides being the name of her 2010 release, it's also her guiding principle. She publishes it at and opens the text with a clear declaration: "I am an afrikan-jamaican-canadian storyteller---dubpoet, monodramatist and an educator---who believes in art for social transformation. I was taught storytelling by my mother, who was taught storytelling by her mother."

Anita Stewart, dbi.young's mother, "was one of the first womban dubpoets and i emulated her and my other elders. i witnessed them daily, poeticizing their struggles for liberation and equality," writes the artist, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica.

In Toronto, dbi.young was mentored by ahdri zhina mandiela, who showed her the bridge between dubpoetry and theatre, writes the artist. Inspired by her mother and mandiela's work, she founded anitafrika! dub theatre, which produces original works and mentors younger artists. (You can read about it at

From her mother, dbi.young learned that "orality, rhythm, political content, language are fundamental pillars of dubpoetry. i named the other three principles (urgency, sacredness, and integrity) from observing processes of storytelling everywhere i have been, and noticing the common threads of responsibilities and accountabilities expected."

Clearly, coming to Halifax provides more than a chance to perform, but to find the "common threads" that bind this city to others around the world. She's participated in New York's Def Poetry Jam, London's Hackney Empire Theatre and Cape Town's Badilisha Poetry Exchange.

Workshopping remains an important component of dbi.young's method. She asks the audience to respond to the work and to help shape it with her. For a chance to experience her approach, dbi.young holds a free storytelling workshop (6pm) before the show.

Supported by pianist Silvio Pupo and local musicians, dbi.young joins Kaleb Simmonds and 17-year-old performance poet Sophie Kaufman at the Wordrhythm Performance Showcase.

Wordrhythm Performance Showcase, Saturday, November 20, 8pm, The Music Room, 6181 Lady Hammond Road, $10,


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