Dembede Mido aka Checkmate Mido started performing at WAPI (Words and Pictures) where he became widely known for his beatboxing and freestyle skills. He released the collaboration album Broken City (2010) featuring Australian Femcee Izzy Brown and world reknowned percussionist Tenpar Tella. He acted as the main character in Mayor's Diary, a play on corruption in modern day Nairobi. He then graduated from The Theatre Company's Training Program where he and six other graduates created the musical Shungwaaya that went on a Kenyan tour and got invited to the Festival Du Theatre Des Realités in Mali. He graduated from TTC's Performer's Lab where he collaborated with five participants to create six original and new East African plays, among this Kimbia which he is set to direct later in 2013.He is currently recording his debut solo album set for release in 2014.

L-ness alias LIONESS aka Lydia Owano Akwabi is one of East Africa’s top female Emcees. She has performed alongside other artistes at Hip Hop Halisi, Jukwaani, WAPI, Translating Hip Hop, Afreekah Album launch, Art & Beer Peace Festival, Alfajiri Album launch and the African Hip Hop Caravan shows. She released the albums Simangwe (2011), Gal Power (2012) and Punch (2013). Gal Power, launched at the Goethe Institute Nairobi in July 2012, exclusively features female Emcees from the East African region adressing empowerment of girls and women. L-ness facilitates workshops on hip hop culture, roots and traditions. In cooperation with Elimu Sanifu, an NGO supporting underpriviledged students, she has organized workshops in Starehe Boys Center and Girls High School (Nairobi). She completed a documentary on the growth and development of hip hop in Nairobi alongside TUMI, a South African MC from Johannesburg.

The 1986 born Ogutu Muraya is a writer, theatre-maker and storyteller/spoken word artist. He holds a BA in International Relations, is an Associate Director of The Theatre Company of Kenya and works part-time with Kwani Trust as an Editorial Assistant.

His performances have been featured at international festivals, e.g. The Hay Festival (GB), The Durham World Heritage Center (UK) and NuVo Arts Festival (Kampala). He co-produces with Arts and AOK the annual storytelling concert Tales & Stories. In 2009 Ogutu toured with and starred in the poetry-showCut off My Tongueby Sitawa Namwalie. He has also featured inLiving Memoriesby Al Kags (2009), The Matatu from Watamu that Drove into the Sea:A children’s musical (2010) by Muthoni Muchemi, Spirit of the Nation (2010), a collaborative production mixing music, dance, storytelling, spoken word, and drama created and performed by USA, UK and Kenyan artists. His plays include Are We Here Yet?, What Are the Odds?, Doping, Forgive me Father, Counter Balance and have been performed Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, India, London and New York. In 2012 he was commissioned to translate and adapt William Shakespeare’sThe Merry Wives of Windsorinto the Swahili Wanawake wa Heri wa Windsor in which he was also a cast member premiered in 2012 at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London as part of the “Globe to Globe Festival”. In 2012, the production had a successful tour of three cities in India.

The Slam Africa Queen of 2009, Wanjiku Mwaurah (born 1989), is a natural performer. Her poems as well as her delivery style are characterized by a simplicity that reaches the audience directly. She has performed alongside some of the leading South African Poets like Mphutlane Wa Bofelo, Qbibo Intalektual (Swaziland), Napo Masheane (South Africa) at the Johannesburg Arts alive international festival in Sept. 2010 and at Jukwaani Nairobi 2009, Sawa Sawa Festival 2011, SAMOSA Festival 2012 and was one of the guest artists at Story Moja Hay Festival 2012. In Nairobi one might find her at Kwani? Open Mic, Poetry Spot, Slam Africa or Ignite Poets. She has also appeared on KTN, Citizen TV and on Capital FM’s ‘Soul Inc’. She goes beyond poetry and has been involved in awareness raising campaigns for the cerebral palsy condition (art4acause-2010) while playing mentor for many upcoming artists in the field. She published The Flow of My Soul, writes screen plays and facilitates poetry workshops.

Namatsi Lukoye (born 1984) is a poet, fashion maniac, an event’s organizer and Communication Officer of Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya. She started performing in 2010 and since then has graced many events around Nairobi. She founded Hisia Zangu Poetry group which moved from doing just performances to analyzing works of written art. She also started Street Poetry events held at Aga Khan, whose objective was to open up poetry to random people passing in the streets. She is a graduate of International Relations and Mass Communication hence her poems revolve around liberation. She will be launching her first spoken word album in November 2013 alongside JadeKD band. She fuses spoken word with music, her first So-em (song-poem) can be found at:

Sitawa Namwalie is a Kenyan poet, writer and performer who holds a Bachelor of Science in Botany and Zoology from the University of Nairobi and a MA in Environment, Society and Technology from Clark University in Massachusetts, USA. She worked in the development sector, with the United Nations and as an international consultant. She is a lyrical storyteller who deals e.g. with the complex issue of Kenyan identity, a topic became crucial for her after the political unrest in Kenya 2007/2008 as a result of the presidential election. From her reflections on ethnicity, identity, land ownership, dominion and love she created Cut Off My Tongue – a poetry collection published by Storymoja that was invited to Hay Festival (UK 2009). In Homecoming (2011) she experiments with the interpretability of the lyrical works by other art forms such as dance. Sitawa is working on her second poetry anthology and has a new performance called “Silence is a Woman”.

When you turn on the radio in Kenya you won’t have to wait too long until you hear Octopizzo aka Henry Ohanga. The hip hop artist from Kibera (Nairobi) has made ​​a name for himself in East Africa and beyond. He has shared the stage with Kenyan and international hip hop artists (such as Dead Prez, Nonini, Black Twang and Ukoo Flani) and performed at festivals and projects like Translating Hip Hop, WAPI and the International Hip Hop Summit. Besides creating music and starting his own clothing line YGB Wear he is also the founder of the youth group YGB (Young, Gifted, and Black). In 2012 he won the Best Male Artist Prize of the Year/Coastal Nzumari Award (Kenia).

Poeticbee’s aka Hellen Wambui’s poetry life was inspired by the idea that people just talk and never know the power their words hold. She performed with artists like the poetic legend kennet b, with whom she runs a radio show at citizen radio that targets all generations and social classes and promotes young lyrical talents. The 21 years old Poeticbee is the 46th slam African queen and she has performed on various stages with a fusion of poetry and music and music. She was featured as a poet in the June 2013 edition at Kwani Open Mic and performed at Fatuma's Voice Show, hosted at Poetry at the Park (all Nairobi). Poeticbee is very much aware on everything that goes on around her, her pieces focus on humanity, social life and day to day activities in her life.

Josephine Berkholz was born in 1994 in Durham, North Carolina and grew up in Central Franconia and Berlin. She writes since she has been able to hold a pen. Since the age of 14 mainly poetry and spoken word poetry. She celebrated one of her greatest achievements during the German Poetry Slam Championship of 2010, where she came in second place during the finals. Her debut came during the literary competition “lyrix”, where she collaborated with other young writers for the first time. Participating in other successful youth competitions lead her to the “meeting of young writers”, the “Lyrix competitions” of the following years and the “Theo price” for young literature. Since 2010 she has been conducting poetry slam workshops for young people. Among other things she has performed as a slam poet and lyricist for the Goethe Institut, The Deutschland Radio and ZDF Kultur. As of October 2013, she has been studying literary writing at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. watch?v=Y8VB8beXi_Y

Since 1998, the Berlin-based artist Diamantino Feijo Diamondog has been known as a major player in the European and Brazilian conscious rap and hip-hop scene. The Angola born (1980) journalist and documentary filmmaker studied Visual and Media Anthropology. Diamondog spent many years in Brazil, to where he returns frequently still, musically as well. Diamondog concerts are a worldwide journey between hip-hop, reggae and traditional influences of African and Latin American music. He collaborated on concerts in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland and Brazil, with artists such as Afrika Bambaataa, Marcelo D2 and DJ Primo, among others during the Pop Rock Festival 2004 in Brazil. His live band enriches his repertoire to include elements ranging from jazz all the way to global sound. Diamondog raps in Portuguese, English and Spanish.

Erkan Balci aka Erko, born in Berlin in 1988 always emphasizes his affiliation with the "underclass" and raps about life in Berlin´s problem district “Wedding” in his lyrics. Without sugarcoating or exaggeration. The young artists grew up in Wedding, where he probably knows every backyard like the insides of his pockets. His realistic and socially critical lyrics reflect the life experiences of so-called second-generation migrants. Inspired by Sido, die Sekte, BIG and by Wedding 65 his German Rap rhymes represent realness, fairness, creativity, street life and hustling. Erko has participated in several international hip-hop projects, including the BronxBerlinConnection.

Christian Filips, born in 1981 in Osthofen near Worms, lives as a poet, playwright and performer in Berlin. Between 2000 and 2007 he studied in Vienna and Berlin. In 2001 he received Austrian Radio´s Rimbaud price for his first poems. From 2001 to 2003 he held a position as dramaturge at the Dance Theatre of the Staatstheater Darmstadt. Since 2006 he has worked as a program and archive manager of the Sing-Akademie in Berlin. In the same year he founded the Choral Society, a workshop for poets, composers and singers. Since 2010 he has been publishing the"rough books” along with Urs Engeler. In 2012 he received the Heimrad-Bäcker Award for experimental poetry. He currently works for the theater and increasingly performs as a singer and performer (among others for the Maxim Gorki Theater and the UDK Berlin, in collaboration with Jens Harzer, Hanna Schygulla, Sophie Rois and Lautten Compagney Berlin). Additionally Filips translates primarily from English, Dutch and Italian (Pasolini, Prynne, Bogaert).

MC Josh (Josina Neidhardt) was born in Berlin in 1990. After her first lyrical works at age 16, the promising young artist was already celebrated as a secret favorite among friends. A short time later MC Josh took it a step further to present her powerful and expressive voice in concerts and jams. She raps in German and her lyrical themes include various topics from women's rights all the way to social injustice and much else in-between. Her participation in international musical exchange projects brought MC Josh to New York, St. Petersburg, Cairo, Paris and Prague. She is increasingly getting involved in social projects and is currently working with underserved young women in a Neukölln neighborhood space. She is currently working on her debut album.

The Berlin born (1985) Sound Engineer, Producer and Rapper Markus Gram aka LMNZ (pronounced "elements") focuses his rap on multilingual linguistic diversity, internationalism, dialogue and social justice issues while his pieces always conclude with a positive message. On his first rap album Worldwide Rap, which was received enthusiastically by critics and the press worldwide, he brings together 76 different artists from all over the world who sing, rap and speak in 29 languages.

He toured three times, among other things, with Sister Fa in Senegal for human rights and against female circumcision, performed shows in Austria, Slovakia, Sweden, France, Tanzania and of course in Germany. Due to his commitment, he was appointed German Ambassador to "Youth on the Move" by the European Commission. Since then he, together with his crew Le Mélange, regularly plays shows for the Commission or the European Parliament. His second solo album "Anders als die Besseren" has just been released and features among others international greats such as KC Da Rookee, Nosliw, Bajka, Flip (Texta), Lurdez da Luz (Brazil), Gunman Xuman (hip-hop pioneer from Senegal) and many more. The first single, "Sun" was chosen by the governing body of “Dance in Germany” as the official anthem of the “World Day of Dance”. Due to his zeal within the dance scene he was able to collaborate with the world-renowned crew Yakfilms for which he has since composed music to which some of the best dancers in the world move in their videos.

Joe "Madog" Bliese, born in Berlin in 1982, has been active in Berlin`s Hip Hop scene since 1999 along with his crew “Zeugen der Zeit”. In addition he has been known as a spoken word artist around town. Thanks to his stints in Paris and London he is familiar with local scenes and languages there as well. He has a degree in cultural studies and coordinates numerous “social” music projects for the Street Social Work organization Gangway e.V. In addition he has worked as booking as well as event manager. His repertoire also includes coaching and live rap performance training.

Sabine Scho, Ochtrup * 1970, lives in Berlin and São Paulo. Almost all of her texts work within the cross-section of photography and image. Two books of poetry have been published: Album (first publication Europa Verlag, Hamburg / Vienna, 2001, reprinted by kookbooks, Berlin, 2008) and Colors by kookbooks, Berlin 2008, as well as a reformulation of Adelbert Chamisso´s Frauen Liebe und -leben, hochroth Press, Berlin 2010. She also translated poems from English by Karen Solie and Judith Beveridge, from French by Denise Desautels, and recently from Brazilian Portuguese by Ricardo Domeneck. In the fall of 2013, the publication Tiere in Architektur will be published, texts and photos by kookbooks. Most recently, she was awarded the Schiller Foundation´s 2012 Anke Bennholdt-Thomsen price. In addition, she received the Leonce and Lena Price, prizes for literature by the GWK, the NRW Scholarship and the residential scholarship at Villa Aurora, Los Angeles.