Memphis’ Longest Running Spoken Word and Open Mic Event: The Word at the Rumba Room

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Every Monday night, musicians, singers and poets head down to a Latin club and restaurant in Memphis’ South Main Arts District for a weekly open mic event called The Word. Hosted by Memphis singer Tonya Dyson, The Word usually features a live band which backs up the singers, rappers and poets, and on the particular Monday night I was there, the band in question was Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Memphis’ best local reggae and dub band. The main drummer for CCDE is Donnon Johnson, but on this particular night, he traded out with my homeboy Otis Logan on certain tunes, and Otis was featured on an amazing drum solo over a keyboard vamp. Several singers and poets performed, including Tonya Dyson herself, who had an incredible reading of the Jamaican festival classic “What A Bam Bam”.

3 Replies to “Memphis’ Longest Running Spoken Word and Open Mic Event: The Word at the Rumba Room”

  1. Am a spoken word artist filming a documentary across the country about the hottest spoken word venues in the country and will be in Memphis in two weeks. And wanted to know who I need to contact to have a camera in the building and perform? Please advise, thank you

    1. Hey, Mary. Everyone gets the idea that they can contact the events I cover on this blog through the comments here. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The woman that is over The Word is named Tonya Dyson, and she is on Facebook. However, the event is no longer held at the Rumba Room, and is now held at The Den on Marshall Avenue in Memphis. Hope this helps.

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