Darkness falls. In the near distance, a Super 8 video flickers to life, thrusting forth mind altering visual messages. As your eyes struggle to adjust, a band begins to play. A dance enters from stage left, contorting his body into wicked new shapes as he seemingly floats towards the microphone.
In a heartbeat, his words fill your ears; soulful, poetic and prophetic, they’re at once both pleasingly alluring and grippingly personal. These are lyrics – poems, even – inspired by a life less ordinary. Some touch on a childhood spent learning on the streets of Paris, rather than in the education system, while others channel experiences of touring the world as a dancer for global megastars. If you listen hard enough, you may also pick up on references to years spent working with his band of musical collaborators, 19.
The band pauses, allowing the focus to return to our star’s graceful movements, and the films being projected onto the bare brick walls of this most urban of venues. The writer and dancer created these impressive visual narratives himself. Nobody taught him these skills, or even how to write music. As he has done all his life, he learned by trial and error in the pursuit of individual artistic expression.
The members of 19 pick up their instruments and begin again. Straight away, the main man is back behind the microphone, performing another song from his 2016 debut EP, Naked Life. The restlessness he experienced during earlier stages of his life seems to be a thing of the past. This is a writer, dancer and musician with messages to deliver; the pursuit for cross-cultural unity, the pursuit of positivity in life, and the transformative role of art.
This is the Visioneer, Oko Ebombo. His new journey has only just begun.