Hosted by the Greenwich University Literary Society credited with hard workers like Yumna Zuberi and Hafsah Dero, The Open Mic Night was a one of its kind inaugural event that was dedicated to preserving the words and works of literature, prose and verse alike.
On a balmy March night, the entranced audience gathered on the Greenwich terrace rooftop and took an unforgettable journey that encompassed art, music and poetry.
Poetry: food for the soul
Poetry as an art form has the power to change the lives and mindsets as no other art can. As such, the Open Mic Night was a spotlight that made budding poets come out and put their thoughts out into the world.
Among them, some original pieces that are worth mentioning include beautiful verses by Ramin Ali, a focused painting of angst by Ramsha Kazmi and Momin Naqvi’s superb performance depicting the state of the Muslim world with his work titled “The Ununited States of America”.
Greenwich’s talented literati
It came as no secret that Greenwich University harboured a homegrown garden of intellectuals who love, read, and write extraordinary pieces of prose and verse. Resident literature expert Miss Shazia Nasir along with Sir Sajeel Liaquat charmed the audience with their Urdu poetry rendition sung to music.
Much praise was garnered by Mohammad Murtaza Syed, a newly appointed assistant professor who made his debut in stand-up comedy (mostly at the expense of his unfortunate students). Miss Ayesha Adil with her original prose on marital abuse left no heart untouched.
Sir Kamran with his rendition of popular Urdu verses was a universal favourite as well as the talented Sir Faisal, while Miss Rizwana’s verses were a breath of fresh air. Miss Sarwat Siddique’s original verses, an Urdu version of the popular Japanese haiku format of writing did not only mesmerize the audience but proved the fact that literature bridges the gap between people of all ages.
Storytelling using Kathak
Kathak is the classical dance that is inspired traditionally from the travelling bards of ancient northern India known as Kathakars or storytellers. A student of the living legend Sheema Kirmani, Mohsin Babar Khan took to the Open Mic stage, his body virtually music in movement. As Babar’s ghungrus clinked with each step he took to the beat of the classical Guru Vandana, the audience were mesmerized by not only the intensity of the dance but also the unspoken story behind each and every gesture.
Lyrics as poetry in contemporary rap
Contemporary hip hop and rap has gained widespread popularity especially among the younger generation not only because of the smooth beats but also the lyrics that the artists use. The Open Mic Night at Greenwich shined a spotlight on rap as a version of modern poetry, starring the talented Dojoh, a professional boxer as well as a rapper from Chicago who aims at revolutionising the world of hip hop through his art.
Transcendental lyrical voices
Music brings us closer not only to each other but to the unheard voices inside ourselves offering us a transcendental experience. Such voices were what offered inspiration to all gathered at the Open Mic, starting off with Greenwich’s talented Wania Khan, singing Kodaline’s “All I Want” in her angelic voice, giving us virtual goose bumps.
Zeeshan Saleh, a humble personality with a vibrant yet powerful voice serenaded us with some of the most famous folk songs of our time making us truly nostalgic. The night ended very rightfully with the beautiful Joanna Sophia Godinho giving her rendition of Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”.