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Showcase ft. Nasra, Inali Barger, & Easily Discouraged

This event is an open mic (for youth 25 and under) with performances by the following three artists:

NASRA is a queer, Muslim, Oromo creator/curator living in Amiskwaciy (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. They were the Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton from 2016 to 2017 and are the founder of Black Arts Matter—Alberta’s interdisciplinary Black arts festival— and Sister to Sister, an artistic showcase for/by femmes and women of colour. In 2017 they were the recipient of the Mayor’s Emerging Artist award and have taken their poetry across Turtle Island to spaces such as; New York Fashion Week, Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Women’s March YEG and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. NASRA believes that art is not art unless it is active, and uses their voice and event planning skills to push for structural change for marginalized people. Exemplified in 2018 when they joined RARICANow! an organization dedicated to the advocacy and protection of LGBTQ2IA+ refugees. NASRA’s first poetry chapbook A God Dance in Human Cloth with Glass Buffalo Publishing celebrates the soft warrior in all of us; a call to step into our divinity and into ourselves, with fists unclenched.

Inali Barger is a spoken word artist, educator, community advocate, activist, and has a habit of turning false dichotomies into biodegradable confetti. He has coached individuals and teams of poets to help them breathe into their own truths, locate their own experiences, and edit (self/others/the world, through words). Inali addresses intersectionality through the context of addiction, poverty, homelessness, mental illness, physical illness, queerness, research for advocacy on behalf of himself and others, and his nearly 11 years of dedication to the London Poetry Slam and Canadian spoken word community. He has competed nationally five times, placing 2nd nationally on the London Poetry Slam team in 2016, and was Underground Indies champ in 2017. He has performed, offered workshops, and spoken on panels at international and national conferences, universities, high schools, public schools, libraries, drop-in centres, living rooms and in conversations with strangers.

Easily DIscouraged is a Singer Songwriter, playing classical guitar since she was 13, she is largely a self-taught musician. Her influences range from classical composers such as Villa-Lobos, and Leo Brouwer to amazing artists such as Saviour Blue, LP, and Shea Diamond. She is still finding her sound, however it seems to be resting somewhere in the folk genre, spanning the spaces between blues, horror and punk. Her music covers themes of madness, poverty and colonization as well as family dysfunction, isolation and rage. Running from personal narratives of peace and anger, to allegorical tales of breakdown and revolt she hopes to connect and share space with her listeners, inviting them to reflect on their own narratives and the way they intertwine and mimic the larger forces at play in our lives. She looks forward to playing and singing for everyone, and looks forward to hearing from and meeting many folks from voices of today.

Thank you to our funders, the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council for making Voices of Today possible.