Nestled in the corner of Brentwood Square Shopping Center is a new venue that is quickly making its mark on the Raleigh nightlife scene. The venue is Smokin Grooves Bar & Grill and it’s there that culture and community have nurtured a beautiful working relationship. Award winning poet, educator, and spoken word artist Dasan Ahanu has partnered with Smokin Grooves owner Delph to present one of the hottest open mic events in the Triangle. The event is called City Soul Café Open Mic and it happens every Wednesday night. Starting at 8:30pm, the event provides a platform for the best local artists to showcase their art and also features some of the hottest poets from across the country.
The event kicked off in January 2013 and has been a recurring success every Wednesday night since. DJ Supreme provides the musical backdrop and the event is curated by some of the most seasoned hosts in the area. Dasan Ahanu shares hosting duties with Church da Poet and Sean Ingram. All three have worked together for years hosting, performing, and coordinating events across the Triangle. Ahanu and Ingram are products of the Raleigh poetry community having got their start in the late 90s at former Raleigh hot spots Expressions and The Cypher. Church is a transplant from Nashville where he was an active member of that poetry community and has been hard at work here since he arrived.
City Soul Café is where new voices have an opportunity to express themselves in an open and welcoming environment and established voices have a chance to share their ongoing work with an attentive audience. This is a place where artists both new and old can share, network, and learn. Ahanu saw a need for a space like this in Raleigh and was continually reminded that there was a wide audience of people who love the arts and wanted to have a place where they could enjoy poetry while having a good time amongst their peers. City Soul Café has become a place for that and so much more.
Smokin Grooves Bar & Grill is at 2253 New Hope Church Rd, Raleigh, NC. You can find out more about the venue and other events at smokingroovesbarandgrill.com.
You can find out more about City Soul Café Open Mic at citysoulcafe.splashthat.