Poetry Evening – Only 7 Days Away


Free Poetry Event London

I’m beginning to get those butterflies whenever I think that my first poetry evening in years is only 7 days away! Thank God, in spite of initial roadblocks, I’m calm and positive about it… All in all, those are friendly butterflies – they can stay, for now, as long as they don’t misbehave.

It’s not butterflies that make this event special though, but the artists who offered to contribute… Poetry Evening with Monika Ribeiro & Friends Line-up Includes:

Lyrical Healer – Bestselling Author, Poet/Singer whose work was featured on BBC iPlayer, Virgin TV, BBC London radio…

Desiri Okobia – Author, Poet, English Literature Teacher…

PK Boadi – Multiple Award-Winning Gospel Musician…

Avril Swift – Theatre Actress as seen in “Daisy pulls it off” at the Miller Centre Theatre Company Productions…

Nigel Swift Contributes at a Theatre; Plays the Flute…

Monika Ribeiro – Author, Poet as seen in Polish Weekly, Goniec Polski, Nigeria MagazineBlack Heritage Today…

You may remember Lyrical Healer, aka Winsome Duncan, from my interview with her (on the subject of creative entrepreneurship). On that note, this event is also an opportunity to network with like-minded creative entrepreneurs.

Likewise, I had already introduced the author of “Diaries of a Visionary” and “Bodel” – Desiri Okobia who did a great job at recording the voice-over for my poem titled “I saw her smile”.

PK Boadi is a multi–award–winning Gospel musician whom I’ve also mentioned a few times before. Moreover, in my “other life”, as a journalist, I wrote about him winning AGMA Discovery of the Year 2012. He has won many more awards since then…

Avril Swift, in January this year, played Alice Fitzpatrick in “Daisy pulls it off” by an Irish screenwriter Denise Deegan. Having seen Avril in action, on a few occasions, I fell in love with her dramatic expressions. I’m super glad that she’ll be a part of this eve.

Nigel Swift, too, is an occasional actor who happens to play the flute beautifully. When he plays, I feel transported to another – very tranquil place in my mind.

Both Avril and Nigel will read and perform from my books “Love, don’t Fear” and “Do Lend Me Your Ears”. Topping it all off, Nigel will play a few beautiful melodies on his flute as well… 

I have no doubt that this will be an evening worth remembering… Still, if you’re unsure if it’s for you, find MORE INFORMATION HERE and/or watch out for brief previews in my Instagram Stories. I plan to post them daily starting from tomorrow…

Let’s Meet Offline. 😊

Poetry Evening – Let’s Meet Offline!


Stanley Halls EventEverything happens for a reason… It has been a while since I posted on my blog, I know… However, it’s been even longer since I hosted a poetry evening offline. It’s been too long… With that being said, I have one coming up in three weeks, on the 29th of June at 17:30 pm.

Place: Stanley Halls, London, 12 South Norwood Hill, SE25 6AB

This “Poetry Evening with Monika Ribeiro and Friends” started with a rather significant hiccup though. For a moment, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be writing this blog post. To begin with, last year, I was asked to host a poetry evening. Originally, the event organisers who asked me to do it, were meant to provide the venue… In April this year, we agreed the date and time. Everything was meant to be a–okay, but then… 3,5 weeks before the show, they asked me to change the date explaining that they had double-booked. Whaaaaat?!

I know I know, we all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty all by myself. Still, by then, I had already started promoting slowly and invited five artists to support me. They all agreed and they’re all busy people, so I really didn’t want to change the date which has been on their calendars for a few weeks already. Also, a few days before the venue cancellation, another person, who had seen me perform at other people’s events, DMd me saying that she’d change her work schedule to be there… I mean… changing the date of the event was not an option. I was left with a show but no venue and no promoters to support it… Great! That happened last Monday…

Thank God, without going into too much detail, I was able to find another venue quickly. 😊 That means that we’re back on track and can focus on preparing the show rather than looking for a stage to put it on. Yes, I’m left with less time, but I believe that the show is worth the hustle and that it will be much greater than the off-stage drama. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! 

So, if you are in London on 29.06.19 – please be there. I’d love to meet you, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it! Please RSVP by 27.06.19. 📮 I can’t wait to see you there!

Free Poetry Event – Click to Register Now.

Yeha Noha – A Friendly Croydon Café


yeha noha outside again

Interview with one of the Founders: Talking about Vision, Accolades, Team Work, Competition, Positive Energy & Work-Life Balance.

Today, I’d like to introduce a wonderful café, based in South West London. Why? Well, I know it’s cliche, but I like to write (or spend time) in coffee shops. Yeha Noha Café is one of my favorite cafés in London. 

gosia i ja
Gosia from Yeha Noha Cafe & I

Yeha Noha’ means ‘Wishes of Happiness & Prosperity’. It’s also the first single from a very successful album of Chants and Dances of the Native Americans, released in ’94. Back to my subject matter… When Yeha Noha Café won Croydon’s Best Independent Café Award its owners were surprised, but I wasn’t… This café is a gem amongst restaurants and cafés in the area.

The vicinity used to be grey and uninspiring. Gosia, one of the founders, was able to see the potential of the area which may not have been obvious to everyone.

yeha noha outsideI feel like smiling when I look at the café’s colorful outbuilding and its cutesy fence – they’re friendly, fun and unusual (in the area). Inside, the atmosphere is quite special too – some call it magical. Gosia says: “I had imagined that this place would provoke growth in people, but at the same time it was meant to stop them from running all the time. That was my intention.” She says. “When you enter the café, it’s like being transferred from one world to another. It’s a bit like going on holidays. You can sit down and think, ‘What can I do to be happier’? Maybe I can meet new friends here…”

I wanted to find out how the idea to open this precious place came about, so I sat down with her and listened as she told me their story.

Gosia: We thought it’s difficult for a family with small children to live in London. My children were ‘half-orphans’ – Boban used to leave in the morning and wouldn’t come back until midnight…” Boban is Gosia’s and Yeha Noha’s significant other i.e. husband and co-founder. He used to work “in the City” managing a successful restaurant by the River Thames…

yeha inside lamp

Gosia continues: “One day, when coming back from our friends place we noticed a restaurant lit with soft colorful lights transmitting a wonderful atmosphere of relaxation…” Mesmerised Gosia said to her husband: “You have a business background. I have ideas. Why can’t we open something like this?” He answered: “Actually why not?” That’s how the idea was born.  It was a joint venture from day one. “Once the intention had been released into the atmosphere things started falling into place even though it’s taken a while” she adds…

Gosia, a self-proclaimed risk taker with a philosophy that “unless you do something you’ll never know if it could work” says: “I have to be able to make money independently – in such a way that kids can have free access to both mum and dad.” One of the initial challenges was finding a venue. They’d almost secured one in Crystal Palace, but that fizzled out. “It wasn’t meant to be” Gosia says. Today, Yeha Noha Café is just by their house. The kids used to go there after school – they’d eat dinner and do homework in the café, but most importantly they could spend time, with both parents, in a family-friendly work environment.

Gosia recalls being exhausted while painting the fence before the grand opening. She tells me how “passers-by kept shaking their heads with pitiful comments such as ‘I hope you survive for about 6 months’. People didn’t believe in us. Some laughed at us when they found out we were about to open” She says.

Yeha Noha ChocolateHowever, sometime after the opening, customers started showing up. The owners were excited to see their intentions materializePeople came. They ordered coffee, hot chocolate, food… They’d sit down and relax… In the first year, Gosia’s friends, from North London, organised all their events in the café. “Travelling the distance made no sense” Gosia says and adds how grateful she still is for the support. Yeha Noha is a labour of love – it is a sweet reflection of its owners.

The Best Croydon Independent Café Award (2016) came as a surprise to the owners. A client called yelling into the phone: “Gosia, congratulations! You won! You won!” They didn’t strive to win. They didn’t even announce that they’d been nominated. “I will not be part of a rat race… I don’t have the need to be the best. I like team work…” Gosia explains. When asked about the award, however, she admits it was encouraging. It re-affirmed their belief that it pays to be honest in life. The owners have a very interesting approach to competition. They believe there’s enough resources and space for everyone. On this note, they choose to support other cafés and collaborate rather than compete… “We can grow together” says Boban in an interview with a local TV station.

Boban is organised. He’s a social being and people like him. Gosia is more of a creative strength. Organizing events, courses, opening doors to meditation, Bible studies, live music & poetry is what she thinks about. He is an entrepreneur while she takes interest in psychology, psycho-biology, being assertive, designing your life rather than being a victim of circumstances. Her husband deals with finances, accountants, lawyers, etc. During a time of major challenges e.g. no building, no money – Gosia was there to encourage him, so he could fight those battles with confidence. They work well together, which is one of the “secrets” to Yeha Noha Café’s success.

Yeha Noha SoupGosia shares with me that one of her desires is to bring positive energy into her world. She says: “I don’t want people to feel like they have to rush in, buy and then rush out of the café…” She encourages her customers to stay and enjoy the place & food (so tasty, by the way) while respecting the needs of other customers. “Just because I am born Catholic doesn’t mean I cannot serve a Muslim woman in a hijab. If we both have good will, there’s no problem.” She says. Yeha Noha Café is a place for everyone.

Reportedly, old & new friendships continue to grow in the café. Marriages have been born there. Couples come back to celebrate their anniversaries while new initiatives continue to develop within and around the café. Yeha Noha Café, recognized by the judges & journalists, continues to be appreciated by its loyal customers…

Consider visiting them if you’re looking for a café to call your own, or if you simply want a nice cup of hot chocolate or a delicious meal to warm your soul…

Retrospection (I am Free finally) – Poem


My past is a story of a tortured soul

Trapped in a jail with invisible doors

No way out and no way in –

Complete unawareness of being within

…In the heart of the greatest lie…

I was the most faithful friend of my greatest enemy

I was the lost coin

Looking for ways to be destroyed

Locked away. Locked in…

Believing religiously that I held the key

Surrounded by darkness from inside of me

I was a vampire, not even a leech –

so convinced I lived, convinced I was free

Chasing after shadows and fighting with winds

I just kept running around, like a chicken – beheaded one

Just running in circles, running in the darkness

Flipping my crippled wings in my utter madness

Admiring the image of my ugliness

Tripping against each stone on my way

In the dirtiest soil I kept washing my face

.

Not knowing why I kept running away –

Away from the world!

Away from myself!

Away from my fate!

Running after freedom, getting more in-caged!

I tried! …To break away from the spell of his darkness!

But was overwhelmed by fear and tangible sadness…

…After I experienced all deaths that were mine

He surrounded me with a silent shout singing:

‘Girl, for you my body has been drained of blood.

How many more times will I pass you by?

How many more crimes will you bring to life?

Recognize me – I am He… Acknowledge me now.’

My past is a story of a tortured soul

Trapped in a jail with invisible doors…

Ayo, Music, Poetry – We Will Overcome!


Ayo & MeToday’s post is a little different, but not entirely. After all, Music is Poetry’s 1st cousin, isn’t it? On this note, I hope you allow me to introduce one of my favorite musicians Joy Ogunmakin.

Ayọ is a fantastic singer/songwriter. Her debut album, released in 2006, reached Double-Platinum status in France, Platinum and Gold in a few other European countries. It was released in America as well. The rest is history… Joy released her fifth record titled “Ayọ” in October this year. Currently, she is touring France with her music. That’s where we met last weekend. It was so much fun! One of the musical highlights of this trip was her concert at Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, in Paris. It was epic! (as my daughter described it). However, music is more than a job for Joy. Initially, it helped her cope with a rather traumatic childhood caused mainly by her mum’s drug addiction. During the concert, she said: “I had to play music to overcome”.

I didn’t study writing at school. Writing wasn’t something I wanted to explore or even thought I could do, at first. Today, however, it is such an integral part of me that I cannot imagine not writing. Thankfully, I’ve met people who, intentionally or unintentionally, helped me and encouraged me to express myself in this way.  Ayọ is one of those people. We all have something to overcome. I don’t know exactly how far my pen is going to take me, but I also feel like I need to write to overcome so I do.

I have a feeling there’s something you also must do to overcome… What is it, and are you doing it? We may not be trained to do it & the circumstances may not be perfect. We might experience the lack of resources from time to time & 10.000 other reasons to not do what we know we should be doing. We may have 99 great reasons to fail, but we needn’t fail if we do what must be done to overcome. “Don’t be evil” as Google defines their corporate code of conduct, but do it whatever your ‘it’ might be…

If you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, the right training, people and resources will find you… Let’s do it, and let’s overcome. 

Enjoy this short excerpt from Ayọ’s concert. Be inspired 😊