Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 July 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 JULY 2019 17 MUSIC his pre-occupying political discourses at the time, as well experiencing a difficult phase in his personal life, he found an expressive outlet though poetry, "It definitely got me out the other end of a difficult time," and it was during this process he realised his self- contentment and satisfaction in writing and performing poetry. Deciding to quit teaching and pursue his poetry, it naturally drew people's reactions of being highly risky- as the stereotypical perception is that people could not possibly pursue a career in poetry. Reflecting on this time, Luka believes, "The intellectual decision may have initially gotten in the way but, for the heart, it was quite natural. This was me. As an Olympic runner goes for a run early day, as a poet, I was writing every day. This is what I wanted to do with my life." At the time, however, performance poetry had a relatively small appreciation and audience; it was still developing into the cultural and artistic landscape it is today. There is now a strong community which appreciates this distinct form of poetry and its expression, there are many performance poets who have definitely created an artistic movement and Bankstown's Poetry Slam is the largest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Asked if he would regard himself as a 'pioneer' in the art form of performance poetry, Luka humbly points out that he first entered a performance poetry competition in 2007 and it took another five years to quit his 'day job' to pursue this career, and there were so many others working very hard at the time. But what may have distinguished him from other artists was his strong belief in 'edutainment'- of prompting people to think about matters and concernsand inspiring others, "I may not sell the most books or works but my position in life is to use performance poetry as a means of kicking down the door for others who feel inspired to express themselves too." What Luka has also realised is the universal appeal of performance poetry, as so many themes and message are empathetic to audiences, "My poem, Yiayia, may have been inspired by own grandmother and it captures a Greek experience, but I have performed the poem in China and South Africa and members of the respective audiences have approached me to say their grandmother is exactly the same." One of the recent highlights for Luka was being commissioned to perform with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane. Collaborating with Gordon Hamilton, Luka wrote a twenty-minute poem, an interrogation of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, where every spoken word had to be precisely timed to the accompanying music. As Luka explains the choice of subject matter, "Macquarie may be a celebrated figure (i.e. governor) in contemporary Australian history but he also ordered the first government sanctioned Aboriginal massacre in Appin in 1816." What also made the event so special was his family was in the audience which he says, "felt like the prodigal son had returned…" A major development in Luka's works is obviously his poem, May Your Pen Grace the Page, being included in the English HSC's Module C's The Craft of Writing. He recalls finding out about NESA's decision, "I had no idea my poem had been included as a core text in The Craft of Writing module. I received all these calls from teacher-friends asking me, 'Do you know that your poem…' and I actually had no idea (laughs). Seriously, it is great just to have a performance poem on the curriculum and for HSC students to study it. Year 8 students now write and perform poetry in preparation to study my poem in the HSC years later and this also highlights how important performance poetry has become for students' self expression." Like all artists, Luka is continually evolving and challenging himself, as he enjoys being ahead of himself. He has now begun including music to his poetry and there are plans to make an album which will be more musical than what he has done previously. As he points out, "As an artist, I want to avoid categorising my work as being poetry 'poetry' or 'rap'. It seems quite natural to write something as a poem and then perform it. So, it is a natural progression to be able to sing over it and include music too. Luka has been touring his latest single, with an accompanying video, Welcome to Paradox, with multi-instrumentalist, Meena Shamaly, will be performing with him. The tour also includes performances in Byron Bay (27 July), the Gold Coast (28 July) and Sydney (14 and 23 August). Paul Kapeleris during his performance at Australia’s Got Talent. PHOTO: SUPPLIED Blind Paul Kapeleris receives standing ovation on Australia’s Got Talent The talented muso’s angelic voice sent him straight to the finals NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU most exciting season to date. Amongst the many talents and prodigies that participate and battle it out for a place in the finals is Greek Australian Paul Kapeleris, who makes it straight through on his debut appearance on the show, which also happens to be his first ever solo performance on stage. In one of the teasers released by the Seven Network, the 22-year-old Sydney local receives a standing, crying ovation by 1,300 members of the audience after his amazing performance which caused judge Lucy Durack to hit the gold buzzer. Kapeleris' angelic voice and A exceptional piano performance are not the only attributes that make his talent special. He sings with the eyes of his soul as he has only five per cent vision, and that is slowly deteriorating; he also has a hearing impairment. Neos Kosmos sat down with Kapeleris ahead of the premiere episode of Australia's Got Talent to talk about the performance that will most likely change his life. In the teaser, Paul, who is accompanied on the show by his mother, introduces himself by saying that music had given him the confidence and the freedom to truly be himself even though he has been heavily bullied throughout his life. "Being social is a challenge sometimes and I used to isolate myself a lot," he admits. "The main thing for me aside from being in new places ustralia's Got Talent begins on Sunday - and it's bound to be the that I am not familiar with and getting lost, is talking to people and being able to gauge expressions and understanding the non-verbal communication. Sometimes I say or do things and I'm not sure how they are being received…" and before he goes up on stage she says: "You may not have your vision but you've got everything else. And you're using it. You know I'm proud." A real tear-jerking moment, but still, not enough to prepare the judges and the audience “When 1,300 people in a room are in front of you… you don’t need to see them to feel them.” “ At some point he apologises for not speaking Greek as there were no language options for blind people when he was growing up. But it wasn't just Greek school that was hard. "I didn't want to go to school for a few months and then I started learning karate and it kind of went away after that, as I decided to do nothing. If they wanted to do anything to me that was their decision. "I'm blind. Mum does all the running around and I just thank and love her for that." His mum then embraces him for what comes next. For Kapeleris, life got a new meaning when he started piano lessons at the age of eight. Having been born with only 15 per cent vision, initially, learning how to play was hard. "It was very difficult as I couldn't see the notes. But basically my teacher told me to practice and feel the notes with my eyes closed. The piano has a set structure so I don't have to look to play the piano anymore. There's a lot of muscle memory going in!" Ever since he was little he would watch shows like X Factor and Australian Idol, dreaming of doing that one day and to be as good as the winners of those shows. "I always wanted to do it but I was very young. Just a few months ago I completed my degree, my undergrad, a Bachelor of Arts majoring in music," he explains. "I now have time to do this. I am ready!" For his debut, he chose a favourite song that has special meaning. The song is quite complex vocally and covers a wide range of notes; climbing quite high and dropping low. "The song is called rise up by Andra Day. It's about being brave and keep pushing through even if things are not going your way. Just be the best person you can be. "It's a great, powerful song." And as such, it did the trick! "I didn't realise they hit the golden buzzer or that I got a standing ovation... I was not sure what was happening," but after a few seconds he sensed the energy in the room. "The response was so beyond anything I could imagine, beyond my wildest dreams. I just went out there hoping that one of the judges would think that I'm okay. I never expected I would get that crowd response and that the judges would say that. They were hitting the stage with their hands and I could hear the vibrations. "When 1,300 people Paul Kapeleris with his mother. PHOTO: SUPPLIED in a room are in front of you… you don't need to see them to feel them." To watch Paul Kapeleris' performance tune in to Seven/GWN7 this Sunday, 28 July at 7.00 pm.
20 July 2019
03 August 2019