We’re immensely proud to have released ‘Birds‘ by Tongue Fu, which is a collaboration featuring Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule and Hollie McNish. This is a digital-only release, with 100% of the profits going to Black Minds Matter UK.

The track is part of a Tongue Fu project – produced by Chris Redmond – which was supported by Arts Council England’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds.

We commissioned Leeds-based artist Saifur Rehmaan Manzoor-Khan to create the illustration for the artwork, and Liz Counsell edited the video. If you’re interested in featuring us on a site or in a publication, the press release is here.

Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ official video

The single is priced at £5, with an option to pay more if you can afford to. It’ll remain exclusively on our Bandcamp site until the New Year, to maximise our revenue. The Bandcamp purchase includes a HD copy of the video and also a PDF booklet containing the lyrics and sleeve notes.

Tongue Fu ‘Birds’ on Nymphs & Thugs

Huge thank you to everybody that’s already supported the release. Black Minds Matter UK is an increasingly vital cause, so every retweet or share makes a difference and obviously every purchase means the world!

A group of artists and producers have come together to release a single supporting Black Minds Matter UK. ‘Birds’ is a collaboration between the renowned Tongue Fu collective and three leading poets: Salena Godden, Vanessa Kisuule, and Hollie McNish.

The single is available to purchase from our Bandcamp page and will remain exclusively on that site until the new year. 100% of all profits will be donated to Black Minds Matter UK.

Continue reading “Tongue Fu single release for Black Minds Matter UK”

The time has finally arrived! Salena Godden‘s brand new release ‘The Lockdown EP’ is available to stream and download, with 50% of the profits being donated to NHS Charities.

Obviously our strong preference is that you buy it direct from our Bandcamp site, but this page has handy shortcuts to the release in all of the major digital providers, as well as our Bandcamp.

There’s more information on the release here, and you can watch the brand new video to lead poem ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’ below. Wherever you get it, we hope you enjoy!

Salena Godden ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’

As you’ll know, Salena Godden is releasing ‘The Lockdown EP‘ on Friday 8 May, which is available to pre-order via our Bandcamp site. Yesterday, we premiered the video for the title track ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’, which is another collaboration with Idle Work Factory.

Salena Godden ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’
Continue reading “Salena Godden video for ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’”

This is already a familiar narrative. Society has imploded around us and the world has changed irreversibly, right before our eyes. So, who do we turn to…? Salena Godden, that’s who. A pioneer of the UK spoken word scene for a quarter of a century, she is perfectly placed to hold our hand and soundtrack the lockdown.

With apocalyptic poetry that already rallied against climate change and populist governments, she’s charging headfirst into the current crisis with poetry that’ll be firmly etched in the history books. In this carefully curated set of five timely pieces we explore a maze of other worlds; one where dutiful wives become unhinged; where we stockpile baked beans to swap for books; where nurses are angels, hospitals are churches and Goody Proctor has been seen jogging without a face mask.

The Lockdown EP will be released digitally by Nymphs & Thugs on Friday 8 May and is available to pre-order via their Bandcamp site here. 50% of profits will be donated to NHS Charities, with the hope that it’ll boost depleted PPE stock and also go towards providing mental health support for NHS staff.

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 were recorded live our ‘LIVEwire Leeds’ event at Hyde Park Book Club on Wednesday 2 October 2019. The lead track, ‘I Want to Be Your Wife’, includes a video produced by Idle Work Factory which will be premiered at 5pm on Monday 27 April. Tracks 4 and 5 are brand new poems, written and recorded during the lockdown April 2020. The closing track, ‘Pink Moon’ premiered on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb on Friday 24 April.

Salena’s first release with Nymphs & Thugs was her 2017 album ‘LIVEwire’. The album was shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s prestigious Ted Hughes Award and is available on 2LP gatefold vinyl, CD, zine and download. She also released the ‘Live at Byline Festival EP’ in October 2018, with lead track ‘Pessimism Is For Lightweights’ coming from her acclaimed pamphlet of the same name on Rough Trade Books. Her poem ‘Pessimism is for Lightweights’ is a public art piece: it was donated to The Peoples History Museum, Manchester, where it is now on permanent display. The poem was unveiled in February 2020 to mark the museum’s 10th birthday.


Salena Godden is a high-profile poet based in London. She is also an activist, broadcaster, essayist and memoirist whose work has been widely anthologised. She has had several volumes of poetry published including ‘Under The Pier’ (Nasty Little Press) ‘Fishing in the Aftermath: Poems 1994-2014’ (Burning Eye Books), Pessimism is for Lightweights’ (Rough Trade Books) and a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road’ (Unbound). Canongate pre-empted world rights to her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death’. ‘Mrs Death Misses’ Death has been described by the publisher as an “electrifying genre- and form-defying firestarter.” It will be published in January 2021.

Nymphs & Thugs are the UK’s leading spoken word record label. They were formed in 2015 by poet and activist Matt Abbott and are based between Leeds and London. Current artists include Salena Godden, Luke Wright, Toria Garbutt, Louise Fazackerley and Kevin P. Gilday, as well as releases from Matt Abbott himself. They were due to conclude a national theatre tour of ‘LIVEwire’ events in April, which has so-far included sell-out shows in Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds.

The label are celebrating their fifth birthday party with an online gig on Wednesday 29 April, which will feature all of their acts on the same bill for the first time. It’ll be broadcast live on their Facebook page and YouTube channel between 8-10pm BST.

In case you missed today’s episode of Roaring 20s Radio, it’s now available as a podcast in most of the usual places including Spotify and Apple Music. Click here for the podcast links to Episode 5: The Isolation tapes.

This episode features Salena Godden, Amah-Rose Abrams and Matt Abbott recording their own individual segments whilst socially distancing. As well as the usual round-ups, they have special guest recordings and music tracks to make one big juicy episode.

Nymphs & Thugs | Roaring 20s Radio

Episode 6 will be broadcast on Soho Radio‘s Culture channel on Saturday 9 May from 4-6pm. You can follow the show on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Happy listening!

LIVEwire Birmingham took place at The Hippodrome on Saturday 22 February, as part of Verve Poetry & Spoken Word Festival. We had sets from Salena Godden, oakley, Toria Garbutt and Saili Katebe, with Matt Abbott on hosting duties.

These video highlights were filmed and edited by Verse First. Huge thanks to Verve for having us, and to everybody that came along and made it such a special night. Next stop, Essex…

Video produced by Verse First

Huge thanks also to Thom Bartley for these photos.

Our first regional shows in Manchester and Bristol were two of the best events that we’ve ever run, and I’ve no doubt that Birmingham will be just as good. After a showcase in 2018, we’re returning to Verve Poetry Festival – and this time it’s at the Hippodrome. Tickets are on sale here.

LIVEwire Birmingham on Saturday 22 February
Continue reading “LIVEwire Birmingham | Salena Godden & Co. on 22 Feb”