The Yearbooks

Peer into the past 5 years of Slama culture and family, to understand where we've come from, and where we're heading.

 
 

2015

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Winner/s of 2015:
2015 Slam Champion: John Englezos


2014

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Winner/s of 2014:
2014 Slam Champion: Peter Aquino


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2013

We kicked off with The Sustainable Living Festival in the "Change of Seeds" Slam on February 21st 2013 in the sacred house of poetry that is the Bella Union! Poet's had the opportunity to respond to the theme of the rise of environmental and social practices for a more sustainable world. The theme was not obligatory but encouraged. All scores counted towards the semi-finals in October. The features that night were the Legendary Front Line Activists and Hip Hop Group COMBAT WOMBAT, Monkey Marc, Elf Transzporter and MC Izzy!

The highlight of the night was the fact that Combat Wombat managed to get every single person in the audience on their feet dancing and grooving. Then they invited anyone to come onstage with them to freestyle and it was wonderful seeing Jacky T, Meena Shamaly and Kerry Loughrey up there spitting with an ease and flow equal to the Wombats themselves! Bastian Killjoy, a poet/rapper who had made ripples by opening the Season Finals in 2012 was the winner that night

Slamalamadingdong and acclaimed Queenbeyan rapper/poet Omar Musa joined forces once again for the launch of Omar’s new collection of poetry: Parang. 

The March edition of the slam also saw the return of DJ Sean M Whelan. Sean book ended poet’s pieces with spinning black vinyl’s and quiet head boppingsmiles. 

Highlights from this show include special guest video performances and messaged to the slamalama community from Joel Mckerrow and the 2012 Season Champion Peter Aquino who had returned to Denver. 

Daniel Merriweather was also one of Omar's special surprise guests who joined him on stage and also performed a little set on his own. The winner of the slam was Freeman T. 

May 2013 saw eight Poets went head to head in the first round: a TRIVIA DEATH MATCH. The loser of the trivia read their poem and received a prize. The winners went onto ROUND 2 in which our NERD JURY (also known as five randomly selected judges from the audience) helped judge which poem of the final four was nerdiest of them all.

June 2013, in the dead of winter Poets and Poetry lovers flocked to the Bella Union to see Candy Royalle (Sydney), Fury and eight poets battle in the slam. It was without a doubt, the return of the ladies.

Michelle, having just finished a juice cleanse, instigated for the first time an "Audience Warm-Up" Dance ritual. On this night, Michelle threw out her MC notes for the first time, bantering spontaneously to the delight of the audience.   

Let's just say, the good ju ju was in the air. Fury's set was on fire and Candy Royalle's set took the heat to another thundering crescendo.

The night ended with Jessie Giles winning the slam. Jessie won an interview on Melbournespokenword.com as well as a feature at Passionate Tongues.

This is what we did with the help of Fleassy Malay, Uk Poet who was on her way back home and L-Fresh the LION, Melbourne based socially conscious rapper/activist. 

The Poet in the slam took on the challenge of the TRUTH or DARE element with extreme grace and courage! Each Poet had a choice between Truth, Dare or Double-Dare... most poets chose the double dare. 

Some of the highlights were Benjamin Solah's story about being a stud muffin without even knowing it (you'll have to ask him!) and Meena Shamaly's beat boxing rendition of the "Game of Thrones" Tv Show song. Meena Shamaly was the winner that night who won a featue at The Dan O'Connell iconic Poetry Series. 

Lastly, the amazing visual artist Lily Chan drew the Poet's that night and captured an essense about the evening which photo's simply could not!

August 2013 was an interesting slam indeed. Back to the Open Slam format after a wild slam the month before in Truth or Dare territory. 

August featured the Godfather of the Melbourne spoken word revolution himself, founder of the Center for Poetics and Justice, traveling pilgrim Poet and chest banging orangutang man Joel Mckerrow. We were also honored to be joined by the talented Sitar playing musician Bede Hemanta Eagle who will be accompanied by Brij Pramar on Tabla.

This will be a moment that will go down in history due to the fact that the Slamalama Mama, Michelle Dabrowski was actually suffering from a horrible case of food poisoning. She pushed through her role as MC, magically transforming when on stage into a vision of health but really, it was the support and strength of the whole community which made this night such a success.

September 2013 saw the continuous evolution of the Slamalama community. It was a sell out night with many new faces in the audience and first time Poet's new to the Slamalama stage.

Honorary guests Kirsti Whalen (NZ) and Nancy Louka (Sydney) helped start the night with a feminine power and grace setting the stage for the boys to blow the roof off with their musical sets. 

One of the highlights of the night was the Slamalama "SWAG OFF" (audience dance warm up) at the top of the show which crowned Gemima and Phil the King and Queen of Swag for the evening! 

Small Man Syndrome even invited our Swag Royalty back on stage to dance during his set. It was pretty amaze balls. Meena Shamaly's set was well recieved by the packed audience. Especially his sister Mary Shamaly, whom he dedicated a whole piece to especially written for her birthday. The winner of the night was Robert James Conlon. Because the prize was a sacrificial spot at the APS State Finals in the State Library and Rob had already qualified to compete in the competition, we asked Magan Magaan to rep Slamalamadingdong and perform as the Sacrificial. Both Magan and Rob did a fine job performing to a crowd of over 200 at the State Finals on October 4th.

Winner/s of 2013:
2013 Slam Champion: Peter Aquino


2012

Kicked off the year with features MC Mantra and Emilie Zoey Baker,

February 2012 saw the official season launch with an open slam featuring local Melbourne rapper MC Mantra and poet Emilie Zoey Baker. Simon Taylor stepped into the role of master of ceremonies for the whole season while Michelle and a small crew of friends and local poets helped with the door, slam mastering and shooting footage. The winner in February was new to the community, debuting poet Alyssa Vass.

In March 2012 well known poet duo from the USA, Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye featured at the “Melbourne Slam Champs” Slam which was an invitational slam featuring local Melbourne poets who had previous wins to their name.  That night for the first time Slamalamadingdong was host to over 200 audience members all in the name of poetry. The ironic win for the evening was Michelle Dabrowski who bashfully threw the $50 note for the first place prize winner out to the audience. It was caught by local poet Bronwyn Lovell who used it to pay her phone bill!

Keen as diamonds to get team slamming happening in Melbourne, Michelle collaborated with NZ slam master Michael Rudd, local poet Tariro Mavondo and co-director of CPJ Alia Gabres in April 2012 to curate the Trans Tasman Poetry Slam at Revolt Production in Kensington. The top four poets who won the Slamalamadingdong slam in March, Michelle Dabrowski, Nour Abouzeid, Alyssa Vass and Joel Mckerrow formed the Melbourne team. The night was a huge success which featured two rounds and an improv writing team challenge. A theme was chosen by the audience (fishing) and both teams were given twenty minutes to write and prepare a team piece. Melbourne won this challenge but the overall individual champion was NZ poet Zane Scarborough.

Following the high of international acts Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye AND the Trans Tasman Poetry Slam, it was time to feature Australian talent and prove that the work of our community was just as strong and able to pack the Bella Union in April’s edition of the Slam. New poets emerged on the scene like Abe Ape, Tina Jensen and Keep Left’s Paulie. April’s slam featured Australian Poetry Slam Champion and Hip Hop MC, back from the end of his European tour, Omar Musa. The winner of the slam that night was Bella Belle. The ladies of our community were forging an unbroken spell of wins!

In June 2012, to encourage and support the new voices joining the Slamalama community, the first OPEN THE CIRCLE SESSION workshops were launched a one day workshop across two weekends. The sessions focused on exploring Slam in a safe space for poets and storytellers interested in learning more slam history and its connection to hip hop and oral story telling traditions. The competition rules, faux paus and politics were discussed. Individual and team writing exercises were facilitated by Michelle Dabrowski. Participants were asked to invite one friend or family member they were ready to perform in front of to the evening performance. A positive, accepting and fun-loving space was created by all.

In June 2012, the slam featured local Melbourne Poet Maxine Beneba Clarke. Slamalamadingdong debuted a new theme The Jam Slam which was programmed for August 2012. The Jam Slam teaser starred local musicians and three feature poets: Sean M Whelan, Candice Monique and Tariro Mavondo who collaborated with the musicians live on stage bringing music and words together in effortless flow full of personality. There was an undeniable electricity in the air as poets in the community became excited about entering the August slam getting the chance to have their poems backed by a live band. Emerging Poet Charlotte Roberts won the slam.

While Michelle was in Canada on the Soles of Australia Tour with Poet Joel Mckerrow, with the help of Tariro Mavondo and the Slamalama family, Slamalamadingdong tried a new format called The Interview Slam in July 2012. It allowed the audience to engage with the poet’s work on a deeper level than the traditional Open Slam format.  MC Simon picked the brains of our slammers in a three minute post performance interview occurring after the poets had been scored. The Interview Slam featured Poet, Broadcaster and Musician Alicia Sometimes. The winner of The Interview Slam was Carrie Hagan.

Once August finally rolled around, the highly anticipated Jam Slam saw a sold out audience on their feet and local poets thriving on stage backed by a group of incredible local musicians. The Jam Slam’s success was attributed to the guest feature Luka Lesson who was the current Australian Slam Champion back from a performance tour of Asia. Luka launched his new video “Please Resist Me” which featured artists Australia’s socially conscious community speaking the lines of his poem. Michelle had just returned to Melbourne from the Soles of Australia tour and identified a need for a contained space, for the poets in the community to further dialogue beyond the slam, in which the breaks were not long enough for more ideas to flourish. This is how the Open Community Forum was born. The winner of the Jam Slam was American Poet Peter Aquino hailing from Denver’s slam scene.

Following the sold out success of the Jam Slam, the rest of the 2012 shows consistently attracted audience numbers in the hundreds.  The September slam offered yet another new slam format called The Anything Goes Slam which gave competitors a chance to have some fun on stage and break the rules: wear a costume, do a cover, add some beats to their poem, play an instrument, bring a prop onstage. The only rule in place was the time-limit rule at 3 minutes. The Anything Goes Slam featured ‘Body Poet’ Sabrina D’Angelo and a surprise “pop up” performance by NZ Poet and Dancer Lauren T Dunningham and a group of fellow dancers.

The Anything Goes slam also featured the first ‘team’ entry from a group of young poets from Braemar College who were powerful enough to win that night!

October 2012, Slamalamadingdong launches the monthly free OPEN COMMUNITY FORUM: casual, intimate and accepting setting in which to share and explore how we engage with each other as artists. Michelle began collaborating with David Nock of 1.1 Architect Space in Melbourne’s historic Niagara Lane. David had a space which he supportively offered to the Slamalama community to utilize for the forums.

Exploring music as bridge in poetry’s journey from page to stage October saw Slamalamadingdong put a literal spin on things in yet another new slam poetry format called The DJ Slam.

The DJ Slam featured local legend Sean M Whelan and his musical collaborator Isnod A.K.A Damien Stephens. Not only did Sean perform his poetry in a feature set, he also DJ’d the whole slam and responded to each poets piece with an intro and outro. This worked so well that we invited him back for November Season finals and there are plans to have Sean as a regular fixture at the slams.

Visiting American Poet, Peter Aquino took the title for the second time in the 2012 season.

In 2012 Slamalamadingdong fast became one of the most exciting spoken word poetry events Melbourne. The series has extended the practice of slamming into workshops, community forums and above all, not just a competition but a solid, inter-disciplinary and highly entertaining show- perfect for the spoken word poetry virgin coming out to a slam for the first time or the seasoned performer in need of an audience to test out some “new shit.” All have flocked to Slamalamadingdong to benefit from what this didactic art form has to offer. On November 15th ten of Melbourne’s most active voices competed for a MASSIVE PRIZE in the final slam of the 2012 season. The 2012 season champion was Peter Aquino.

Winner/s of 2012:
2012 Slam Champion: Peter Aquino

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2011

Michelle Dabrowski officially launches Slamalamadingdong Poetry Slam in December 2011, featuring Scott Sneddon (QLD), Kerry Loughery (Doris Leadbetter Poetry Cup), and Simon Taylor (2011 Victorian State Slam Champion). Lovingly handmade to support emerging poets in the community, Slamalamadingdong's humble beginnings took place in the Rue Babelons Bar on Little Lonsdale St, with 70 people crammed in and high on poetry.

Winner/s of 2011: Rochelle D'Silva