Audiotour

The beauty of the world so heavy

For the opening of The beauty of the world so heavy, Huis Marseille invited spoken word artist Sunni Lamin Barrow to write and perform a new text. Barrow looked at all the works in the exhibition extensively, spoke with the artists and then wrote the words below. This text, entitled A song whose lyrics are the people, was performed by Sunni himself during the opening on 21 May 2022 in Huis Marseille. To give everyone a chance to hear this work, an audio version has been made that you can listen to at home or via your smartphone during a visit to the exhibition.

Sunni Lamin Barrow
A song whose lyrics are the people, 9:09 min
Written and performed by Sunni Lamin Barrow
Sound editing by Sjoerd Martens
https://laminbarrow.nl/
@tha_rainx


A song whose lyrics are the people

Sunni Lamin Barrow

On the tongue of your father, your grandfather speaks to your children
Calling them to come and water the land that has raised and nurtured them
Travelling the not so easy road, that waits at a distance
A dream of your father and his father to be carried by your children and their children
To seed a new life into the womb of these soils and watch yet another generation grow
Here, on these same lands, before the beauty of the city comes to hypnotize their eyes

We delight in the beauty of these unfinished narratives
Of every joy and pain our faces have cultivated over time
We speak hope into what we know has wrinkled and decayed in our presence
Gave the old a new skin, a new voice, a name that leaves a stain wherever it is called
Oozing with a gigantic promise, a beacon of hope, a light that shines its blessings amongst us all
This is the collective harvest of a thousand dreams, this is the prayer of a thousand villages

Together, we plaster the wounds of the past, only to watch them bleed before our eyes
Rivers with backbones that still carry the agonies of the past, we recognize them
As we stand on these new fields that now dress themselves in colors of green
Staring face to face with the truth of our histories, acknowledging black bodies in white spaces

We naked our eyes
To the magnanimity of every voice that feels safe enough to leak its vulnerability before us
Fuel it by the stories of a people whose veins are connected to their roots
A new daybreak that still holds the scars of yesterday
A song whose lyrics are the people, we are the people
With a body whose majestic wounds speak of the systems that fight against its own people
We are the beautiful flowers that bloomed out of the cracks of these concrete floors

We call ourselves to assemble here, where the quiet crumbles and our eyes are made to listen
To the echoes of our future beating like a djembe
We throw our fists into the belly of the sky as they hear the cacophony of our united anthems
We break down the walls that made us, witnessing lines erase themselves only to pave way for the new
The seeds of hope, The seed of light, the seed to a new generation, you and I

You and I are lyrics to a song we are learning to sing
This song, we’ve lent it our skin, move our body to its rhythm
This song, its words so deep and heavy they break our jawlines
This song, we wrapped it around our voice and speak in its light
This song is nameless, but the ones with names call her existence

Again, we search in the complexions of the ones we’ve lost in the crowd of nothingness
Only to find ourselves staring back at ourselves, unafraid of who we are and have become
An eye that has witnessed the past now comes to read its pages before us
Who are we not to listen to the beauty of these delicate scars and laughter

Sing my people to where they belong when the morning comes
You carry my photo with you, in your mind’s eye
I am she, Ziyanda
Daughter of the faceless wind
My death is still living before you
I am a pale fire burning soft, I am unknown to many
My mother, she prays in her language and God understands
There is no language that God does not understand

My mouth, a canvas for all the wounds I carry
I am the kind of silence that feeds on itself, questioning
Why do daughters die before their mothers?
Why must there not be any negotiations when it comes to love and death?
Only a reservoir of memories loitering under our sights

A wave of anger that quenches itself, stares at the nectar of the sun
Weaving hope into the hearts of the people whose prayers have been denied
This is the skeleton on which we throw our fleshes, and
Time is listening, so we speak in her tongues and reflections
Slowly, age comes to ambush the body and makes it surrender
Together, we are what remains of the times we have witnessed

A dance of one’s own feet waiting
A stadium of tired people staring into the camera
A horse with a human’s name galloping in the field
A hand that is willing to give until it runs dry and empty
A mountain of memories falling into shallow waters
A burst of laughter that melts after the doors have closed
A naked tree standing in the open air, under the sun’s anger and the love of the moon
The sins of the past breathing on the tongue of the new, trying to wipe off stains from the fabrics of our societies
An ocean of applause for how far we have come as a people, we are the people who survived all these atrocities and now we celebrate

We remember the darkness and how the light came to dance in its stomach
We remember the colors of every dress that once wore humans now wearing themselves
Gyrating in the wind where everything stays undefined
Until a man comes to touch its emptiness and give it a face
Until a man comes to match his culture with ours and sing a song of change
Wear your ring on my finger my darling, and if it fits I’ll marry you tomorrow
Love will be the end of our suffering and distance someday

But again, look around you
Look around me
Tell me
What is the point of living?
Because in the end, don’t we all become stories in someone else’s mouth.

 

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