Word magic -Luzon-based spoken word artist Kooky Tuason believes in the power of words and she tells us why

EVERYTHING that she is doing as an artist is largely anchored on her advocacy to help people find their own voices—big or small.

Tuason said that spoken word, as a medium, is a combination of theater, storytelling, poetry, dance, and music.

“It’s an all in one performance,” she said. “I want everyone to be conscious of their words.”

Tuason, and her spoken word partner (and project manager) Marty Tengco both believe that words are a powerful too. “Words either bless or curse,” Tengco said who also acts as Tuason’s percussionist during performances.

“When you declare words to the universe, the universe throws it back to you,” Tengco said.

(Photos by Angely Chi, Karla Singson, Sam Respecia, Pam Chua, and Silingan Art Space)


KOOKY Tuason and Marty Tengco

Tuason narrated that her love affair with words started with writing in high school. She continued to pursue her love for words since then. She’s been witness to how powerful words are when she once performed a experience-based piece about being mugged. She omitted one of the lines in that piece (that said something about blaming God) after she got mugged yet again.

“Every time it perform that piece, I become more aware and conscious of the words that I use,” she said.

Tuason shared that she is currently enjoying writing about love—the kind that not a lot of people often discuss: love that goes beyond the soul and the spirit.

In her workshops, Tuason said that she always wants to teach people to find their own voice. “I just want to help everyone to think,” she said. “I just want to to inspire everyone to get into the scene; I believe that everyone has a voice and a story to tell.”

Spoken word, to Tuason, is unlike any kind of media that always puts focus on “amazing and aspirational” people. “I just want everyone to be truthful,” she said.

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PARTICIPANTS of Tuason’s spoken word workshop at Silingan art space were taught to find their own voice

“Not everyone’s perfect; some are shy. But just because your voice is small doesn’t mean people shouldn’t to you,” Tengco added, saying that even small voices—like those of shy and introverted people—are meant to inspire.

Aside from holding performance poetry workshops (like the one currently being held in Silingan art space this weekend), she has also published four spoken word albums, which are available for sale. She is also the founder and the creative genius behind an online channel called the Thinking Man’s Classroom.

“We’re changing the face of education through alternative learning,” Tuason said. The website, which only started February this year, currently houses five video-based shows and gained a strong number of followers.

Earlier this year, she also released a coffee table book called Picket Lines: Dialogues Between Eves, Among Eves and For Eves. The tome contains 100 photos of women with poetry; it’s published for a cause, with the Women’s Crisis Center as its beneficiary.

With all the projects that Kooky is doing, it’s easy to see how words can change lives and communities.

“Spoken word will continue to flourish as long as people are willing to be real,” Tuason said. Tengco added that these contemporary practices of the oral tradition storytelling traditin will continue because people love stories and to listen to these.

“It’s a learning experience that helps people identify with one another,” Tengco said. “Some also get healing from that.”


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