By Rhiana Chickering
Shining lights pigmented with vibrant hues mixed with fog like food coloring as it dropped into water, spreading out into layers of colorful, transparent clouds.
At the Englert, 221 E. Washington St., music group Ancient Posse began the Mission Creek’s final event with vivid lights, soulful singing, upbeat synthetic productions, and strong beats from a drum set.
While singing soulfully, vocalist Kamillah Jonaé expertly danced in 3- to 5-inch heels in ways that would strain some singers’ voices or make them fall on the stage altogether. The dancing was expertly choreographed and included components of hip-hop dance with ballet-inspired technique.
“I always want to illustrate [songs] through my body and through my movement, so I always want to … make sure I am doing to movements correctly,” said Jonaé in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “[It is my] story, and I’m the director, and it’s like my body [has to] produce something that is true to the story or true to the song.”
In an interview with The Daily Iowan, Steven Bergeron provided insight on Ancient Posse’s formation.
“Since [I was] 15-16 years old, I have been producing beats on my computer, so I was doing that for years and years, getting better at it and not showing anybody,” he said. “Kamillah made it her mission to get me to show those [production beats] to the world. The more she encouraged me to do that, [the more] we started working on it together … and it kind of snowballed into where [our band] is now.”
Cristalle Bowen and Psalm One’s DJ, Angel Davenport, encouraged the audience to sing and rap along with her by telling the crowd which lyrics to sing and when to sing them.
“Music found me,” said Bowen in an email to The Daily Iowan. “I was a scientific nerd with a love of books and drawing, but through my own journey through poetry I was able to naturally discover I was good at songs.”
At the Mission Creek ’s keynote reading, attendees heard Jamila Woods read from her poetry collection.
Among the R&B-inspired music from electric and bass guitars and percussion, Woods’s soulful voice lured crowds closer to the stage, squealing in excitement.
Woods performed her own songs in addition to a more soulful and emotive covers of “Say My Name,” by Destiny’s Child, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” by Nirvana, expertly making the covers her own.
Woods even read one of her poems, “Blk Girl Art,” as the instruments became musical undertones against her voice.
“Poetry was always a big part of my imagination, and my music [and poetry] feed into each other,” said Woods in an interview with The Daily Iowan.
While performing on stage, Woods was incredibly attuned to the audience. Grateful for the younger girls dancing in the front row, Woods took the time to say goodbye to one of them before they left.
Woods passionately sang her lyrics as the crowd swayed and hung on every note. Her set ended with a percussion solo, officially spotlighting her amazing instrumentalists before thanking the audience and walking off stage.
Mission Creek’s final event brought in audiences with different demographics, perfectly ending a festival whose mission is rooted in bringing in new, diverse voices.