Moe Conteh: Build It, They Will Come

Who would want to go out on Saturday night to check out live poetry? Before you answer let's review the night Moetry came to Manni.
Mar 2018

“There are loads of people I know including myself that don’t want to go out partying all the time.  They want to do something where you can bring people together." Says Moe Conteh founder and Host of the Moetry.

Moetry is an event that combines music and poetry.  At its core it’s mainly focussed on poetry and spoken word but that element of music Moe features you just don’t expect to hear. This could be an unsigned group from your town or special quest or some surprise act either way expect the music to put a different spin on things.

Originally from the London party scene Moe put his contact list to good effect after one of his best friends passed away through mental health related complications years ago. Moe “I think a lot of the stuff he went through he didn’t really have a form to release it.”

Moe's practice of writing words when stressed or just letting it out on paper led to an idea of breaking the stereotype and introducing poetry to people in a format that makes it more appealing as an acceptable form of release. Calling it Moetry. Taking it to to a few different locations was always part of the plan. From its start at the well known, The Lion and Lamb in London, Shoreditch to East Indian African fusion food restaurant called Mokku Ditch; Moetry and Mokku, the package was  - come straight after work, have something to eat relax and unwind as the show gradually kicked in. 

Now back to the question posed at the start of this piece.  Who would want to go out on to check out live poetry? 

Moe -  “Yeah yeah, all creeds. Some of the people you see there you wouldn’t even expect to see them there.”

And that’s exactly it, if your looking for a predictable social mix you can find that anywhere there’s an endless list of places, people, dress codes and attitude and that’s without bias. Wouldn’t be too hard.

Moe - “I didn’t want to do something that’s kind of clichéd and people expected, I wanted to do something everyone could be a part of.” 

Jungle Jazz Cafe (Manchester) Moetry touchdown Manni with visiting poets Natural Rights, Uncle and Mama Sue from London, Manni poets Argh Kid and Danny for hometown talent. The vibe was gold standard, a classy affair. Show time, everyone gather around the poets within touching distance. They test the crowd with an opening salvo that lands on the receptive ears of the pack room. Natural rights, is a feisty pull no punches articulate poet who took men to task and did not mince her words. Clicking fingers everywhere, showing approval. Argh Kid poem about Manchester very own Northern Quarter was apt and precise. His northern twang stinging every syllable.

The musical entertainment was an acoustic set by Yolanda and Dean, hard to categorise the sound but everyone was listening. It worked.

By the end of the night Moe had achieved what he set out to do. This intimate venue was filled with men and women from different backgrounds all vibing to poetr with none of the high brow stereotypes. Uncle took the microphone for the closing bell and brought the house down with “Build it and she will come” the title was a chant we all repeated without prompting.

Moe you built it and the people came. More Moetry nights please!