Spotlight on... Ian Keteku / Emcee E
By Ren Tomovcik

Ian Keteku - Emcee E

Can art really bring about positive social change, help break down barriers, and raise awareness about local and global issues?  Ian Keteku sure thinks so – and he’s proving that words, music and pictures can make a difference every single day. 

Ian Keteku - Emcee EHaving moved to Ottawa from Calgary just two years ago, Keteku hasn’t taken long to make the capital sit up and take notice.  Currently in his second year as a Masters of Journalism student at Carleton University, 24-year-old Keteku has chosen to specialize in documentary filmmaking, and he’s already been filling up his resume with some pretty impressive projects. 

Last summer, he travelled to Ghana to film a thought-provoking documentary about an African village displaced by the creation of  a wildlife sanctuary. He is currently editing the footage in preparation for the film's premiere this April.  Recently, he co-created a short film, Run Coconut Run, which was met with high praise and will be appearing on the film festival circuit later in the year.  And just this past November, Keteku’s travels took him to Chicago, where he documented history in the making at Barack Obama’s presidential victory speech.

However, filmmaking isn’t this artist’s only talent – Keteku is also an accomplished poet, whose way with words has taken him across Canada and has seen him compete in the CBC Poetry Faceoff and perform in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.  He has even proudly performed for the Governor General of Canada on two different occasions!

Speak Out!  Poetry With A Message...

By his own declaration, Keteku is committed to “using his voice to speak for the voiceless,” and he relies on his art as a platform to speak out about important issues including sexism, racism and social injustice. Spiritually and passionately connected to his Ghanaian heritage, Keteku has been strongly influenced by his journeys through Africa.  He believes that words have a great power to bring diverse people together, and he uses both poetry and music to communicate messages of unity and courage.

Ian Keteku - Emcee E Ian Keteku - Emcee E
The many sides of Ian Keteku.  Photos by Francis A. Willey, Brightsoul Photography (left)
and Leif Norman, Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (right)

An Emerging Voice in Socially Conscious Art...
In addition to being a gifted wordsmith, Keteku is also an up-and-coming musical artist, having begun recording music under the moniker Emcee E a few years ago. He plays guitar, bass guitar and piano, and has recently picked up the harmonica!  As Emcee E, he records what he calls “socially conscious hip-hop” - powerful lyrics backed by uplifting, inspiring beats, calling listeners to action on issues of social justice and global conflict.  Infused with jazz influences and African beats, his music has already gathered critical acclaim, and he is recording a full-length album for release in the spring.

Next month, Keteku has a busy schedule ahead of him - as well as developing some of his final journalism coursework at Carleton, he will perform at spoken word events in Calgary and Ottawa.  He will also be involved in several Black History Month events, continuing to speak out on causes he is passionate about and showing Canada and the world that art can, and does, make a difference!

Ian Keteku - Emcee E IAN KETEKU aka EMCEE E

Have a listen on Emcee E's Myspace page, and keep an eye out for Emcee E’s upcoming full-length album, Re-Evolution, due out soon through TMP Records.

Check out more of Ian Keteku's work here:
Stories Between Our Fingers: Supporting Culturally Diverse Youth
Social Justice Music Video: CCR Youth Network Video

Ian Keteku will be performing at Capital Slam on February 7th. Support your local arts scene! Capital Slam takes place on the first Saturday of every month at Mercury Lounge.
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