The NGN is proud to announce that VISUAL17E OTTAWA is 1 of 14 prologo-red.jpgjects funded by Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program for 150th celebrations in Canada’s capital in 2017.

VISUAL17E OTTAWA is a powerful fusion 
of spoken word poetry, street art and live music, this showcase series will transform a visually underused space in the city into a vibrant art installation.

(Here is an exclusive reveal of one of the images created for the project by Quentin VerCetty, plus our logo, created by Komi Olaf.)vo17_poet

VISUAL17E OTTAWA is presented by the Northern Griots Network in partnership with House of PainT, the Ottawa Black Art Kollective, and Origin Studio.

You can read the Press Release at

And stay tuned for more details coming at the Northern Griots Network main website

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Planning Session Report

The Northern Griots Network, at the South-North Griots Summit held in Toronto, May 28-31, hosted a planning session with Summit participants to discuss initiatives in advancing national and international development of culturally diverse spoken word poetry, particularly with reference to artists of African heritage. The session was made up of established spoken word artists and presenters from across Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean.

ngn2The Report is now available on the NGN site at the following page:
Summit Planning Session Report

The NGN has already begun to initiate some of the recommendations, for example, by creating an online collection of resource on African Canadian spoken word poetry. This set of materials encourages critical awareness and discourse on how Black artists in Canada have developed and established a strong spoken word movement in this country, centred in an aesthetic that draws from our African heritage.

Another initiative well underway is the development of international touring opportunities for African Canadian spoken word artists, through partnerships, for example, with Trinidad’s Cascadoo Festival, and the Jamaican Poetry Festival.

We will post more news on these developments. In the meantime, please feel free to reach us at the following email

The Origin of the Djele: Taalam Acey

Spoken Word Artists Taalam Acey was one of the feature presenters at the South-North Griots Summit in Toronto, May 28-31, 2015. Taalam has kindly made text from his presentation available on his blog, “Until 6 AM or Whenever You Leave.” Love that title! And if you have ever seen Taalam’s Cover art for one of his spoken word LPs, you will understand the scope and uniqueness of this man’s imagination!

To read Taalam’s insights on how to understand Spoken Word in the context of the origins of the Djele, you can click the link below:

Spoken Word: The Origin and Evolution of the Djele 

You can check Taalam’s website at

And to get an idea of Taalam on the mic, check this Youtube sample from Da Poetry Lounge in LA:
All Def Poetry


The NGN celebrates and promotes awareness of the the many Canadian talented spoken word artists of African, Caribbean, and other culturally diverse heritage, as well as the work of our international sisters and brothers. We will also share info about upcoming Northern Griot Network initiatives and events, including the SOUTH NORTH GRIOTS SUMMIT scheduled for May 28-31 2015 at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The NGN, in collaboration  with the Nia Centre for the Arts, is proud to announce that the South-North Griots Summit is a community sngs bannerpartner of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games.  The Program for the South-North Griots Summit is about to be announced in March. Check the SNGS site for updates.