L'Europe noire is a poetic travelogue through Black Europe. Slam poet and musician Lisette Ma Neza uses the book Afropean by Johny Pitts as a travel guide and preliminary research for a new performance. She travels by train from Brussels to Lisbon and from Lisbon to Graz, then back to Breda, and finally back to Brussels. She goes in search of the African diaspora on the European continent. Who are we? Where are we? And where do we come from? Questions that touch upon concepts of home, family, intergenerational history, love, life, Europe and Africa, asking not only herself but also the people with African roots she meets on the train. The known and the unknown.
During her journey, Lisette writes new poems and numbers, and documents her conversations in sounds and images. The performance brings all facets of the Afro-European story together in a mixture of art forms: music, poetry, fragments of images and sounds. Lisette Ma Neza fills our evening with poetry. She slams and sings accompanied by her four-piece band: Michelle Samba, Neil Akenzua, Orville Breeveld and Peter Somuah. She takes us into her world, into her feelings, into her story and ours. We experience her journey, together.
Lisette Ma Neza (Leiderdorp NL, 1998) studied film at the LUCA-School of Arts in Brussels. She emerged as the voice of a new literary generation when she won the 2017 Belgian Poetry Slam Championship; she did so as the first Dutch speaker, first woman and first poet of colour ever. In 2018, she became vice-world champion in Slam Poetry in Rio de Janeiro. So far, she has only published her work on stage, both solo and with her accompanying band. The VRT called her "our very own Amanda Gorman."
The names of the musicians and those involved are
Lisette Ma Neza, poet and singer
Michelle Samba, percussionist
Peter Somuah, trumpetist
Neil Akenzua, pianist
Orville Breeveld, guitarist
Absa Sissoko, artist
Mehdi Khammal, artist
Melanie Musisi, photographer