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  • Writer's picturebarbar yates

ToPoJo Event: A Cozy Music Evening at Whiz Cafe

ToPoJo collaborated with More Than Music (MTM) for a musical-poetry event at the cozy Whiz Cafe in Kanda during a nippy, winter January night.

ToPoJo founders Jeffrey Johnson, Taylor Mignon, and Barb Summerhawk led off the 3-tiered program in the upstairs narrow, wooden floored room with a great ambience and loaded with supportive, enthusiastic poetry lovers. Jeffrey, backed by musician son Leo, read from his work in an even-toned voice. Half the fun was enjoying the father and son riffing together. Taylor followed that warmly-applauded duo by reading a poem of Tsuji Setsuko that Taylor had translated, and two of his originals, also backed by a musician and friend of the show Adam Gyenes. Rapping up the TPJers, Barbara performed a couple of her gender-bender, starburst poems and the crew took five. During the break, there was a lot tsukiai, smiles, greetings and introductions.

The next tier featured a Japanese poet reading by Yoshi Hogyaku, with flute commentary by flutist Miya, and summed up in improvisation by British poet Stephen Fowler, with sometimes hilarious results. Australian and Tokyo resident Corey Wakeling then read from his diaries, taking us deep with a hint of whimsy. Selje Ree, a Norwegian poet shared her verse and later shared some of her Vizpo with us during another break. Finally, an open mic brought up several readers including Al McCuster Thompson, Rachel Ferguson and Wannes Wannes Chauvaux.

The evening then proceeded to the peerless music of guitarist Tsuboi Tama and Brit Kevin Gray to round out the evening of fun and inspiration. We went home a little more enlightened, a little warmer and a little more in love with the spoken word.


All photos by Monkee Music Media, provided by More Than Music.


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