Tag Archives: Jason Lawrence

World Poetry Proudly Presents “Griot”, an interview with the Stars and Director on the Radio!


Ariadne’s note: The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show is honoured to interview the stars of Griot on Tuesday, September 18th, 9-10 pm,on CFRO, 100.5 FM by phone from New York and Montreal. To hear this wonderful interview CLICK HERE!

The film and a one time only special concert is coming to  the Vancouver International Film Festival. The concert is presented in association with : Griot Senegalease kora and western trumpet coming to Vancouver to a special live concert performance on Friday, Sept. 28, 9:15 pm start at the Vogue Theatre. World Poetry has one pair of tickets for the concert. The first one who sends an email to ariadnes@uniserve.com will receive two tickets to this special event. On this site we have broken a record-2,065 visitors for Tuesday! Thank you Yaman for the promotion.

Griot http://www.youtube.com/vgoetze for a preview.

Special Presentations

(France, 2012, 82 mins, HDCAM)

Mandinka, French, English, Wolof

World Director:Volker Goetze

PROD Volker Goetze CAM Sanne Kurz EDS Victor Kanefsky, Volker Goetze MUS Ablaye Cissoko, Volker Goetze PROD CO Weitblick Media

 Vancouver, BC,Sep 27 06:30 pm Empire Granville 7 Cinemas Theatre #2
Sep 30 01:30 pm
Vancity Theatre @ VIFC

Presented in association with:
Griot Senegalese kora and western trumpet … are coming Vancouver for a special live concert performance on Friday Sept. 28, 9:15pm start, at the Vogue!

Griot, 82 minutes Senegal, USA, France /Germany.

This beautiful film has an impressive list of filmmakers including:
Volker Goetze. Producer/Director. Award-winning musician, composer and producer.

Victor Kanefsky. Co-Director/Editor Sam Pollard. Co-Producer/Post-production Supervisor. Multiple Emmy Award winning, Peabody Award winning and Academy Award Nominated producer and editor, Leslie Mulkey (a.k.a. Holcomb Reed)Sanne Kurz and Joshue Ott.

“A film that provides a visual feast full of beautiful images and lovely music as well as a human interest story showing the changes between the past and the present and the possibility of a combined future. The Griots are the keepers of oral wisdom, history and ancient traditions. Through the joint mediums of exquisite images and music, the film explores the changes that are now happening in the life of the West African Senegalese Griot song writer Ablaye Cissoko and the challenges facing this honoured tradition. He leads us through the necessity of maintaining the  respect and honoured traditions of the past while at the same time, engaging the international community and world music. The Griot way of life is in good hands with Ablaye Cissoko.

A short summary for the film:

GRIOT – Synopsis By tradition, griots are the living repositories of West Africaʼs oral epics — histories that are crucial for the preservation of West African social structures. Griot, a documentary by Volker Goetze, uncovers the beauty of West Africanʼs traditional past and discovers that some revolutionary changes may be afoot — changes that could alter the cultural landscape forever.

They fought Islam and won. They fought European colonialism and won. Now, after a thousand years of religious, political and cultural onslaughts, a monolith of West African culture is showing signs of change in the form of a radical new individualism. Kora virtuoso Ablaye Cissoko is our ticket inside the mysterious world of the griot. Griots today are at a crossroads between the traditional, which is increasingly irrelevant, and … something new. What could not be done in a thousand years through the competing ideals of Islam and occidental philosophies is being done by a fundamental reordering of economic opportunity.

The film captures this moment of historic change in the griot tradition, caught now, as it is, between the imperative to maintain the social structures of the past and the need to enter into a dialogue with the international comment.


Multimedia Artist Volker Goetze is a German-born, New York-based trumpeter, composer, and filmmaker. He performed and presented his work at leading venues and international festivals such as the Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Merkin Hall, West German Radio Station (WDR) in Cologne, Gasteig Munich, Sunset Paris, Jazzhouse Copenhagen, World festival of Sacred Music Los Angeles and the Opera Festival in Munich. His work bridges cultures creating contemporary cross-cultural dialogs across multiple disciplines incorporating cutting edge technology. His recent compositions don’t fit in any singular category as they derive from folklore music, rock, jazz, contemporary music, classical as well as baroque music. In the recent years he has been investigating the oral culture and story telling of West Africa and their influences on Jazz and Black Culture in America. GRIOT, a feature documentary on the oral music tradition in West Africa, is Volker Goetze’s debut as a film director and has since developed into a multi media performance symphony documentary.


The film is neither a traditional western documentary, as it does not settle for a conceptual understanding of our subject; nor is it simply a performance piece, as it does not settle for collecting powerful songs. This piece celebrates the art of the Griot – the art of the praise-singer and musical healer – by expanding the narrative through an interaction of poetry, music, song, stunning visuals and earthy sounds. Our stylistic approach taps into the very essence of the healing work of Ablaye Cissoko as a musician and activist in his home country Senegal.  The approach is consonant with the life and history of Ablaye Cissoko himself. He descends from Kimitang Cissoko, the inventor of the kora, the African lute-harp. A genie directed him to build the first kora and the beautiful music he created with it lifted his people from their despair. Ablaye Cissokos music similarly has the power to heal broken people. His songs touch hearts and already reach far beyond the borders of West Africa.


Griot , a must see film.

Griot, A Must See Film!  By TAN, the Afro News reporter Ariadne Sawyer, MA. ariadnes@uniserve.com

 To find dates, locations and ticket information go to www.viff.org

A fascinating interview with Director and Producer, Volker Goetze.Due to time constraints, the interview was by e-Mail. My questions are in bold and italic. All that remains is to see the film and send your comments in!

 To find dates, locations and ticket information go to www.viff.org

A fascinating interview with Director and Producer, Volker Goetze .Due to time constraints, the interview was by e-Mail. My questions are in bold and italic. All that remains is to see the film and send your comments in!

1)       What message/messages do you want to give to the audience?

The film is a window into the world of a Senegalese Mandinka Jeli (Griot) and musician Ablaye Cissoko.  Through the film, Ablaye acts as a storyteller and mediator. His stories are very different from the ones we normally hear in the western world. They address lost and often forgotten values of family, friendship, respect and compassion. Ablaye is descended from generations of Cissokos and they are famous for inventing the African harp otherwise known as the kora.

2)       Why should people go see the film?

Go see the film to get a glimpse of the oral tradition and living history of West Africa, get uplifted by Ablaye’s music, understand what the youth in Senegal are going through; and gain a better understanding of the connection of oral memory to Black Culture.

3)       You have high profile and experienced film partners. Why did they join your team?

Working with Ablaye Cissoko, I discovered and learned more about the Griot culture and oral history of West Africa. I wanted to share this discovery and the idea of a documentary was born. In 2007, I read a book called “Documentary Storytelling” by Sheila Curran Banard, which introduced me to Sam Pollard, known for his many collaborations with Spike Lee. It mentioned that Spike Lee often just left the footage to Mr. Pollard and let him work out the story creatively, by looking at the footage itself. It was right then and there that I realized that Sam Pollard would be an excellent collaborator for this film. I thought he might be interested because of the nature of the topic. But it was not until two years later that a colleague Bob Mover, who worked with Charles Mingus and Chet Baker, mentioned to me that he actually knew someone who could connect me with Sam Pollard. After the first meeting with Sam and his former mentor Victor Kanefsky, I found out that Sam is a huge fan of jazz-legend and pianist Randy Weston, who we interviewed for the film. Randy Weston has lived in Africa for fifteen years and Ablaye Cissoko and Randy Weston actually met in 2007 at the Saint-Louis-Jazz-Festival in Senegal. Sam Pollard mentioned that if I set up a meeting with Randy Weston that he would be on board. So I set up a meeting and Sam Pollard joined the team together with Victor Kanefsky. Sam and Victor proved to be invaluable additions to the team. I also have to mention Sanne Kurz– a fantastic cinematographer from Munich. She was hard working and provided the fantastic images. I have so many people to thank including writer Leslie Mulkey, historian Prof. Mamadou Diouf, and editor Marie Planqouis. Documentary films are made by the labor of love and it was a dream come true to work with Sam Pollard and Victor Kanefsky.

4)       What is the most important theme of the film? Humanity.

5)       The visuals and the music are stunning. How did the producers achieve this?

Again it was the craft of cinematographer Sanne Kurz. She is a school colleague of a close friend of mine who has won prizes for best cinematography in Europe. She loves films and she prefers to work on films with artistic merit turning down commercial offers. We worked as a two person team: she did the filming and I did the sound as I had experience in mobile recording. When Ablaye and I listened to our first recordings in 2007, which can be heard on the CD “Sira” (Motéma Music), we could not believe it – it felt that someone else is playing, we were actually shocked. So I was never worried about the music, I just hoped that the film would be strong enough to carry the music.

What do you want to say about the film?

As with my music I don’t feel comfortable talking about my work. Go see it once, twice… I hope that we achieved a complex and rich film, which will speak to the audience differently each time they watch it. I hope it will evoke deep emotions, heal and if it touches a fraction of the experience of a living piece similar to the oral memory of West Africa all goals would be achieved.

What would Ablaye Cissoko want to tell the readers of the TAN the Afro News?

I just reached him and this is what he said:

“All I as a griot do is sing and play. Whenever I get a chance to perform- I feel honored and the transmission of the Griot culture is done. That is my role.”

I would like to thank Volker Goetze , Ablaye  Cissoko, The Vancouver International Film Festival, Helen Yaki and above all our esteemed publisher and editor Honore Gbedze. Thank you for doing so much in such a short time period. It was a real team effort.

* Photos and text printed with permission from TAN, The Afro News, VIFF, Ablaye Cissoko and Volker Goetze.

World Poetry Proudly Presents Keith Crews, Novelist with Social Media Tips!


Keith Crews

Ariadne’s Note: The World Poetry Cafe is so pleased to welcome Keith Crews in a phone interview on our show, September 11th from 9-10 pm on CFRO, 100.5 FM.

  CLICK HERE to listen to the show!

This feature broke the all time record: 1288 visitors on Tuesday from all over the world!

Hosts Ariadne Sawyer and Israel Mota welcomed Keith to the World Poetry Cafe. It was an amzing interview with readings from his novel and tips for writers. Musical songs by Godwin Barton, e-poems read from far away Mongolia (Dr. Hadaa Sendoo) and Lini Grol from Ontario. Godwin was given Happy Birthday wishes and and our wonderful tech was given a certificate and a card to wish him well on his trip to Australia.

 Every day, I receive up to 20 promos from publicists and agents. Most I do not respond to but this one from Jennifer Tucker (jennifer@smithpublicity.com) caught my eye even though it was not poetry. Also, since our visitors and Alexa standing have been going up, thanks to the great efforts of Yaman; I was really interested in what advice Keith would give to poets and writers. 

Jennifer wrote: “However, even with an excellent book, standing out in a sea of writers (both hopeful and seasoned) has proved to be nearly impossible in the past. Luckily, in this increasingly fast-paced, technologically advanced world, more and more authors are taking the reigns and moving to self-publishing, as well as exploring creative ways to network.

Keith Crews has always loved writing, and his dream has always remained to create fascinating, thought provoking, and entertaining tales for readers to enjoy. Author of the new novel, Wasteland, he currently identifies himself as an independent author and works primarily to network through social media.”

Keith Crews here.

“My tips for promoting one’s work as an independent writer:

(1) Facebook. I have over 6K likes on Facebook. The options for marketing on FB are very affordable and can suit just about anyone’s budget.

You can also set up a page on FB and direct readers to that page to learn more about you and your work. But beware…know the difference between CPC (Cost per Click) and CPM (Cost per impression) before you get started or else you could spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars within minutes! I personally spent $300 in less than 10. However, I did reach over 200K people.  Facebook is also great for telling you who’s looking at your work. Age, gender, location, interests, yadda yadda yadda. Setting up a marketing campaign should be done with multiple ads. This way you can see which ones are performing best, and as such, fine tune your strategy. Also…likes to not equate to sales! I cannot stress that enough. Even with over 6K likes, I still only have a few dozen sales. There are many extraneous factors to consider when selling. There are multimillion dollar think tanks that work on trying to sell us something  every day, and sometimes we’re just not buying for any number of reasons. Vampires are hot right now, but they won’t be forever. You need to be on trend, especially in your writing genre work. I’m still trying to figure out how to move more units. If anyone has a suggestion, I’d be glad to hear it.

(2) Publicists. If you’ve got the money, you might want to try hiring a publicist. They have tons of contacts that they can call on and can potentially hook you up with a magazine, online blogger, newspaper, tv or radio station.

(3) Youtube. If you have an audiobook version of your book, which I do, you can upload an except and promote it on your Facebook page.

(4) Goodreads. This is an excellent web site that resembles Facebook in many ways except that the primary focus is on books. Readers can connect with authors and share their critiques and ratings with others. This site also provides a CPC (Cost per click) service, similar to Facebook.

(5) Networking. Pass your work along to friends and coworkers. It’s good to get the news out to anyone that will listen, and I’ve been quite surprised by how many friends of friends have actually wanted to take a look at a copy of my book. Of course, you don’t want to be a nuisance. Don’t ask them if they want to take a look, talk about it and your passion should inspire interest in others naturally.

(6) Wing and a prayer. You can utilize all of these formulas, but what it ultimately comes down to is this: LUCK! You need to be in the right place at the right time with the right product and that’s the cold hard truth. In the end, getting into the biz or getting a professional publisher to pick up your work is extremely difficult, especially in this evolving market place where e-readers are all the craze and print is in decline. If you can’t handle disappointment and hearing the word no all the time, then the writing trade probably isn’t for you. Become a doctor instead…it’s easier!”



Excerpt from his new book Wasteland:

Angelo Marchetti was a killer.
Vengeance had tempered the hitman’s long journey with a test of age while death had come to season with a harvest for the worthy. The end would be heralded upon a gun’s barrel as an empire of corruption collapsed into the barren dust. It was a dream realized, yet stolen, bittersweet and satiated with hollow sentiment for fate was a thief and a whore that sold
its virtue to the cruel.

But then the hitman was also cruel. Surely his currency had paid the way with suffering. Should not the hitman suffer as well? The night breathed neon from an urban jungle while the world below turned upon an axis of pandemonium. Sirens screeched into the ebony, damning the hitman to that place which would soon lay claim. Death had ripened the man with the steel gray eyes and soon the scythe would  separate the stalk from the chaff.

It was to be expected.

The hitman’s piercing eyes faded under the fall of heavy  eyelids as the blood let. His slender fingers touched the scarlet fissure at center chest where a fire burned fiercely.The bullet had torn clean through the heart, not a trace of lead to be found therein except for its spicy aftertaste.

The end drew nigh.

He stared upon the bleak nondescript horizon and to a deaf city that marked his passing with an indifferent shade of boredom. Here, he had finally come to the end of all things and nary a soul batted an eye nor ventured a glance in consideration. Death offered a lonely bed of sorrow to lie upon. In the soul’s dying light, dreams succumb to darkness. The woman that never was had departed him, lost forever to circumstance and a love unrealized. Perhaps their paths might chance to intertwine in the hereafter. A fool’s dream suffered to the hard spike, but it would be there that Angelo Marchetti’s journey would truly begin.

The hitman’s eyes slowly parted to an open. A pale horizon of silver-gray lay beneath a depressing canopy of charcoal sketch, the land a flat barren waste of gray ice and dull snow.

 By Keith Crews (C)

This new novel is  available at:





on kindle, kobo, sony, smashwords, barnes and noble and apple itunes. People can reach him at keithcrewsauthor@gmail.com

World Poetry Proudly Presents Nina Munteanu from Canada!











Ariadne’s note: The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show with hosts Lucia, Lawrence and Isreal welcomed Nina to the radio with a phone in interview. TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW CLICK HERE!

Nina Munteanu is a Canadian ecologist, novelist and world traveler. In addition to five published novels, she has authored award-winning short stories, articles and non-fiction books, which have been translated into several languages throughout the world. Recognition for her work includes the Midwest Book Review Reader’s Choice Award, finalist for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award, the SLF Fountain Award, and the Aurora Award, Canada’s top prize in science fiction.

Nina writes for several print and online magazines and served as assistant editor-in-chief of Imagikon, a Romanian speculative magazine.

Nina lectured for over twenty years at colleges and universities, where she taught and published papers in scientific journals. Nina also teaches writing and coaches writers. Nina’s guidebook, The Fiction Writer: Get Published, WriteNow! was adopted by schools and universities across North America. Its Romanian version was launched by Editura Paralela 45 October 2011 at the Gaudeamus Book Fair in Bucharest and will be followed soon in the series with a book on how to keep a journal. Her award-winning blog The Alien Next Door hosts lively discussion on science, travel, pop culture, writing and movies. Visit www.ninamunteanu to find her teaching DVDs, webinars through Writer’s Digest University and other teaching materials.

Here are some links to some summary info on the books:

Iambik Audiobooks: The site that carries the audiobook: http://iambik.com/books/outer-diverse-by-nina-munteanu/

Interview with Dawn Harvey on making the audiobook: http://sfgirl-thealiennextdoor.blogspot.ca/2012/09/dawn-harvey-voice-of-rhea-hawke-in.html

good short summary of Outer Diverse: http://sfgirl-*thealiennextdoor.blogspot.ca/2011/08/outer-diverse-by-nina-munteanu.html

another good summary: http://sfgirl-thealiennextdoor.blogspot.ca/2012/08/costi-gurgu-aurora-prix-best-artist.html

interview with Costi on the cover: http://sfgirl-thealiennextdoor.blogspot.ca/2012/02/costi-gurgu-interview.html