A very warm 1951 Club welcome to Canadian dub poet, musician, writer and teacher Lillian Allen.
Jamaican born Lillian used to be referred to as the hurricane baby by her parents because a hurricane hit Jamaica in 1951.
Lillian left Jamaica in 1969 to live in New York City where she studied English at the New York City University, before eventually settling in Canada.
In 1978 she visited Cuba and met Oku Onuora – the father of Jamaican dub poetry – who was performing at a festival. She was inspired to start up the dub poetry scene back in Canada and has since become one of its leading and most successful exponents.
In 1983 Lillian released her first recording, Dub Poet: The Poetry of Lillian Allen.
OK – stop right there me old matey me old skipjack I hear some of you say … just what the heck is this dub poetry anyway ?
Well … I could try and tell you that it’s a form of performance poetry of West Indian Origin, which evolved out of dub music consisting of spoken word over reggae rhythms in Jamaica in the 1970s. But I think I’ll let Lillian demonstrate instead …
Lillian’s work is very highly regarded indeed and she has been the recipient of two Juno Awards – for Best Reggae/Calypso Album for her album Revolutionary Tea Party in 1986 and Conditions Critical in 1988.
And as if all this wasn’t enough Lillian Allen is also a Creative Writing Professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto, Canada. She continues to regularly release new work and is a very much sought after speaker and performer. For a detailed account of Lillian’s life and work you should definitely pay a visit to her website.