Meet Dodzi Aveh
He is a level 300 student who is combining English with Theatre arts. He is into spoken word and acting, and is also the host of the Open Air Theatre Show on Radio Univers. He is a Vandal and his favourite rappers are M.anifest and NF. He hates the bars from Medikal.
You want to know more about him, read this;
Kuulpeeps Legon: On stage, you are known as “WhoIsDeydzi”, tell us why that name and how or where it came from.
Dodzi: So erm, my Name is Dodzi and Dodzi is an Ewe name, it literally means take heart or be patient. When I was in senior high school, there was an incident with a senior. I was sitting in the chop box room and he came around and asked me what my name was and when I told him Dodzi, but he thought I was telling him “deydzi deydzi” and he made me kneel down. So it kinda became like a nickname, but then I realized that deydzi and Dodzi kinda have similar meanings cos, Dodzi means be patient and “deydzi” is a pidgin word and it means chale cool down or slow down, something like that. The meanings were similar so I picked it up as a nickname.
Now after senior high school, I was doing some performances, and anytime I go for events, they will be like lets welcome Deydzi, and there, I could hear the murmurs, they will be like “ah who is deydzi?”… “who is deydzi?”.
Nobody knew who i was, so I mount the stage, I impress and in the end, they are like oh wow….nice nice. But they keep asking who he is but from a different angle cos this time they are amazed, so looking at that, I began asking myself the question, who is deydzi? And frankly speaking, I didn’t have an answer.
So it’s like when you spend a lot of time asking yourself one particular question without getting an answer, you, in turn, become the question, with the hope that you will get an answer in due time and you kinda create an identity with the question and by the time you realize it’s no more a question, but it’s like you are making a statement, and when you’ve made a statement for quite some time, it becomes a lifestyle, and when you share it with people, it becomes an experience. So at this point in my life, if I’m asked to speak on who is deydzi, I would say it’s bigger than me, it’s not just a stage name, it’s a whole experience that I share with people when they listen to the stuff I produce.
Kuulpeeps Legon: wow, that’s a lot of thinking into your stage name. What would you say was the major stepping stone for you in the poetry?
Dodzi: When it comes to poetry, there are two things. I started poetry at a point when I didn’t know that I had started poetry, so from childhood, I’ve always been artistic in some sense. I used to write down certain things but I wasn’t sure what I was writing down was poetry, the major stepping stone was in senior high school, erm there’s this organization called Ehalakasa and they go to senior high schools to organize creativity workshops. So they came to my school (Ghanata Senior High School) and they organized a workshop on spoken word, and around that time, I didn’t know what spoken word was because poetry on its own was boring. I was very active in the drama troupe and I wanted to be a rapper and I remember that after going for the spoken word workshop, we were asked to share stuff and I had this poem that I had written in my book, it was some words that I put together and a friend pushed me to perform it and after I performed it, I was like wow, people really liked what I wasn’t so serious with, so I decided to get serious about it.
Kuulpeeps Legon: How long have you been performing spoken word?
Dodzi: I started doing spoken word in 2014, and I began doing performances in 2015, yeah, so I can say I’ve been actively performing for 3 years.
Kuulpeeps Legon: So you’ve been actively performing for 3 years, have you ever forgotten your lines while on stage?
Dodzi: Yeah, I have. It has happened several times and it depends on where I’m performing at. The most recent one was during the vacation. When it happens, I’m able to sail through on the spot and the thing is, it’s my poem I’m performing and people don’t know the poem so I’m able to pick up and continue. There was a time when I was performing on stage and I recited the first two lines and I blacked out and the poem that was coming to mind was a completely different poem but I just continued with that and at the end, it worked out well.
Kuulpeeps Legon: Which of your performances so far would you say has been your best?
Dodzi: Erm, first I would say the Sobolo plus Chicken poetry show. I performed and the audience applause was huge and I was like wow! Cos this was the first time I was seeing people stand up and clap to poetry and I was amazed and a lot of people were like my style was different from the others. It was great and I’m really grateful to Gombilla for having me on his show twice.
Kuulpeeps Legon: What impact has spoken word poetry had on you?
Dodzi: Spoken word poetry has become an outlet for me to pour out my feelings, and I am able to express my self on things that I like and don’t like. I talk about my pains, my sorrows and a whole lot. Spoken word poetry has become a part of me.
Kuulpeeps Legon: Your dad is a former lecturer in Performing Arts. Would you say he has influenced you to do what you are doing now?
Dodzi: To some extent, yes and to some extent no. The main influence from daddy is that he is into performing arts, so since childhood, I’ve been used in plays as a baby and a child, so I grew up in the theatre and I attended the University of Ghana basic school, so when I close from school I would walk from school to daddy’s office, sit down and watch rehearsals. I used to run around the drama studio and I used to see people who are now big names in the film industry. The greatest influence daddy had on me was to toe the line of theatre but not spoken word. Spoken Word is kinda my thing, spoken word is where I get to be who I am. My dad is not really into poetry and it not as if he sits down and corrects my lines or something. The only time he and I have ever worked on something was when I wrote few pieces of spoken word poetry for a project he is undertaking on disability which is titled “Sewoena” (The Act of Fate). But he and mummy have been of immense support. But he is not the reason why I do spoken word poetry, spoken word poetry is just me and it is a place I get to be myself.
Kuulpeeps Legon: So you have an album coming up. Could you tell us about it?
Dodzi: Okay, so the title of the album is Sound Mind,
and it’s on mental health issues in Ghana, and the major theme for the album is If The Broken Mind Could Speak. So with regards to Sound Mind, it’s it’s, I don’t even know how to describe it, but in April 2017, John Paul, who happens to be from Mind setters Gh, which is a Ghanaian mental health consult and he happens to be my mom’s cousin too. So my mom told him that I was into spoken word poetry and all that, so John Paul linked up with me after I did a show on Hitz FM and he told me he is a mental health advocate and his organization deals with relocating mad people on the streets and give them the care they need. So he asked me if I could write a piece on the theme, If a broken mind could speak, so I started working on it and the title on the piece I wrote at the time was titled “abodam”. So when I began working on “abodam”, I used to follow John Paul when he goes on his trips, he used to go to churches, corporate bodies and other places to organize mental health programs to train people on ways to become mental health activists and stuff like that. So sitting through some of the training, I began learning about some of these disorders and their symptoms like schizophrenia, bipolar, effects of depression, things that could push people to commit suicide. And while I was learning about the different classes of mental illness, I realized that at one point in our lives we are all in one way or the other close to mental illness. So I told John then that, writing one, just one piece is an understatement, I want to come up with an album, and so that’s how “Sound Mind” started. I’ve been on it for long and I’ve had so many people help me, in fact, it’s been wonderful, and so many interesting metaphors came along the line, and I was able to connect with Nicola Tesla.
Kuulpeeps Legon: Nicola Tesla, who is he and what made you connect with him?
Dodzi: Nicola Tesla happens to be a 19th-century mad scientist. He is known for inventing a lot of things when it comes to the field of electromagnetic physics. And the surprising this is that Tesla was a really really mad scientist. He worked for Thomas Edison for a while and Edison kept on stealing his ideas. The most beautiful things about Tesla that I like is that he was in love with a pigeon. He knew being in love with a pigeon was wrong and that he and a pigeon could never be together but he still knew he was in love with a pigeon. And I was able to connect with that. I’m in love with certain things, I’m in love with spoken word, I’m in love with theatre and when I look at these things, I’m like, you can’t really make a living out of these things in this country, but here I am in my third year combining theatre arts with English language, after school what the hell am I going to do and all those things. So I was able to connect to Tesla, so Tesla was born.
Kuulpeeps Legon: How many pieces do you have on the album?
Dodzi: Sound Mind has 20 different spoken word pieces.
I ended at 20 because if I didn’t, I was going to write more than that. There are some that I’ve put on hold, so I’m sure there might definitely be a Sound Mind 2. So Sound Mind is big, Sound mind is something the world isn’t prepared to hear, but it’s something the world must hear. And I thank everyone who helped to make sound mind possible.
Kuulpeeps Legon: When is the album going to be released?
Dodzi: Come March 30th, it will be launched here on campus. Still working on a venue. But you will see Sound Mind album launch, you will see “If The Broken Mind Could Speak” poetry concert, you will see “If The Broken Mind Could Speak” seminars and all that. There’s going to be a mental health awareness programme in the afternoon, and it will be liaised with a few performances and in the evening. It’s going to be pure performance.
Kuulpeeps Legon: What impact do you want the Sound Mind album to have on people
Dodzi: Honestly speaking, to think of the impact that I want the album to have on people, I have no idea. All I knew was this is something I have to do. You’ve got to write it out. So the whole idea is throughout the album, I’m trying to answer the question if a broken mind could speak and I tried answering the question through Tesla. The impact will be great.
Kuulpeeps Legon: What’s next after sound mind?
Dodzi: A lot of things are coming up. I said earlier that I was working on something with my dad, Swoena (the act of fate). That might come as an album soon. I’m not sure how soon that is going to be. And I’m also thinking of compiling some of my old works. Things I’ve written, which are very great and interesting stuff that I haven’t performed or recorded. So I’m thinking of gathering them as a compilation titled unspoken words.
Kuulpeeps Legon: What do you do aside spoken word poetry?
Dodzi: When I’m not doing spoken word, erm I play video games. I like videos games a lot. I actually have some punches in my pieces that are inspired by video games. I also love comics, I have a lot on my laptop that I read when I’m not doing spoken word. I also have a blog where I usually go to rant. The site is deydzi.wordpress.com and the title is life’s junkyard.
Kuulpeeps Legon: Last question. just choose one. Marvel or DC comics?
Dodzi: Marvel all day!
here are some pictures of Dodzi doing what he loves