In an interview with London Open Mic Poetry Night, Figurski described how the one art form led to the other: “The bridge, for me, between poetry and music was my exploration of sound poetry. Like many children of the 60’s I also harboured a desire to be a musician. With sound poetry I opened my toolkit to include performance using sounds; abstract writing that tries to integrate or synthesize different modes of expression such as performance, writing (non-semantic) language, and music. It is a short leap of faith from there to playing music and singing. I was almost 40 when I decided to re-invent myself. I picked up a guitar and began to teach myself. After a couple of years, I began to play at open mic venues. I was meeting other musicians and began playing with ones who played similar music. I was most attracted to American roots music, old jazz, and vocal harmony. I began playing with an indie folk music group called Screen Door Slam. I played mandolin, harmonica, guitar, and sang. After that group disbanded, I played with a group called Paper Moon. Along the way I have found myself playing harmonica and singing with a few blues groups, more recently with the Dave Dillon Blues Band. Most recently I’ve also been doing some studio work, playing harmonica on a couple of indie recordings. The main difference, for me, between the creative processes of making music and of writing poetry is that writing tends to be a solitary experience, it is a form of expression that very few people relate to anymore; music, on the other hand for me is a shared experience, very much in the moment – you kiss the joy as it flies. And music appeals to almost everybody.”
Two members of the London band ‘Big Picture’ will be playing with Figurski and Heslop. Pianist GEOFF JOHNSON and vocalist NINA DAVIS will play during the half hour before the event and up to half an hour afterwards. (If you liked the opening music, don’t go home early.) And they will play alone during the intermission, performing original pieces. Both Johnson and Davis are songwriters, working in a variety of genres, including folk, jazz, rock and blues.