Chuck Smart


Project Z

Project Z

Chuck Smart, M. Anne Sweet , Kate Modic, Bob Thompson

Poetry beyond the spoken word,
a rhythmic exchange of language and drums

Zebra is an ongoing and evolving collaboration with well over 30 years of history. Chuck Smart bridged the 30 years and there have been literally hundreds of musicians, artists, poets and dancers who have been involved.

In its current configuration, we are a poet and two percussionists – M. Anne Sweet, Kate Modic, and Bob Thompson – who employ poetry, song, clapping, and world instruments in what is a literary (poetry) based art form, but with a contemporary approach. Our combined travels (Africa, Cuba, Indonesia) and studies allow us to view these ideas from vastly different perspectives that challenge us to invent ways to collaborate in interdisciplinary ways with an emphasis on rhythm – rhythm in language and rhythm in music.

Language puts ideas into a rhythmic system. In its written form we use symbols to exchange ideas. This extends itself into what the drummers do to exchange ideas with the spoken word person in order to communicate. Through the use of sound, or auditory symbols, they create a rhythmic system of language. They are as much poets as the poet is a rhythmist.

Poetry is sometimes cerebral and without color. Anne’s approach to poetry is to communicate an idea, not directly, but through imagery and metaphor. Kate and Bob use a variety of drums, shakers, flutes and/or panpipes to expand on that image by creating color and texture or, one might say, by putting the spoken word into a metaphorical context of weather and environment.


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