It is also said that young people do not appreciate the beauty of the written or spoken word. Contrary to these claims is the success of monthly open mic events like “True Talk No Lie”.
True Talk No Lie has been one of the most successful open mic events around Port-Of-Spain. Starting out in Martins Bar on Woodford street, the event outgrew that venue and moved to Big Black Box, a multi-purpose space for creative exhibitions owned by 3Canal. The Big Black Box was not only a physically bigger venue but also one where True Talk, No Lie could spread its wings. The event is held on the fourth Wednesday of every month and the stage is graced by poets, singers, writers and musicians of all kinds.
Every event starts with amateur performances where anyone from the crowd can share poetry, short stories or music. The intention of an Open Mic is to be an open forum for all forms of creative expression that can be vocally performed. The performers have a range of experience levels and anyone can participate.
The event offers a significant discount to performers, entry at $15 (non-performers pay $60). This encourages attendees to perform instead of just sitting and observing. At the monthly event, a “word of the night” challenge gives members of the crowd the opportunity to write a piece on the night and perform. The best piece is chosen by the volume of audience cheers and applause and that person gets a drink from the bar, on the house.
Event creator Yvan Mendoza is optimistic about the future of open mics in Trinidad saying “Open mics will always have a place in Trinidad and Tobago, not only to provide a forum for expression but also for the harnessing of talent. Hopefully, through our events we can increase the country’s appreciation of our own talent and music and the artists can enjoy successful careers.”
Mendoza is hoping that events like his will be a showcase for local talent, promote vocal artistry and help launch the careers of upcoming artistes.