Saturday, 29 May 2021

can’t stop, shan’t stop

Previously we’ve been presented for our consideration with one early twentieth century Russian poet as the primogenitor of the genre which seemed like a valid nomination but we were especially taken with this new to us performance by English playwright, cabaretist and near contemporary Noël Coward of one his signature numbers “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” which certainly bares some correspondence with modern rap recitations. Acknowledged precursors include spoken-word poetry sessions and the expressionist vocal technique loosely classed as Sprechgesang—a touch operatic and dialogue delivered somewhere in between sung and parlando—realised as popular music in the Bronx in the early 1970s, articulated from the role of the master of ceremonies (MC) to entertain between disc-jockey (DJ) sets.