Up and coming spoken word record label Nymphs and Thugs have released several albums from emerging and talented individuals (Toria Garbutt’s Hot Plastic Moon being a standout release). For their latest project the label has teamed up with respected poet and performer Salena Godden to release a 19 track album called LIVEwire.
The recordings are drawn from a variety of live shows with a few studio tracks with musical accompaniment thrown in as well. Festival and theatre performances in Amsterdam, London, Bristol, Glasgow and Edinburgh have been captured to great effect. The raw intensity of Salena’s delivery transfers well to the album and gives listener the chance to experience the performances away from the stage.
Topics of the poetry and spoken word pieces vary, but a common theme of growing up is present in many of the tracks. This is explicit in Under The Pier and also album opener Swan, where the listener is taken back in time through the vivid words and the personal vocal delivery. Salena does the rare thing of conveying transgressive and forward thinking poetry and presenting it in an accessible and welcoming manner. Just listening to the performances makes you want to see her live so you can experience the emotion first hand.
In 2014 Salena released the memoir Springfield Road and the poetry collection Fishing in The Aftermath – Poems 1994-2014. Recorded excerpts from these books make up several tracks and emphasise the talents of this very special writer. Readings such as Princess Leslie and Voodoo sparkle with passion and draw the listener into the poet’s memories. It is a powerful experience and one which you will want to relive over and over again. When read on the page the words have life and vitality, but when read out loud by the performer, the words have added weight and power. The album does not shy away from comedy with the “found poem” A Letter To An Air Stewardess and the track Public Service Announcement almost coming over as stand-up comedy routines.
LIVEwire is currently available on limited edition CD and a digital download, but listeners may want to wait until 2017 when Nymphs and Thugs are releasing a limited edition vinyl version of the album. As LIVEwire is made up from tracks recorded in variety of locations, the quality does vary, but the evocative words and distinctive voice of Salena Godden is never stifled.