- Category: PA 2002
AJA One of the pioneers of performance poetry in his country Barbados, first impacted on the local cultural scene as a trombonist before devoting his creative energies to poetry. He started writing in 1979, as Michael Richards, in a pure literary format, but began experimenting with performance poetry from 1982. In 1990 he took performance poetry in Barbados to a new level by incorporating full musical accompaniment in his presentations, leading to his first album, Mike Richards & The Re-Emergence Band Live. In 1994 AJA joined forces with world renowned Eddy Grant, coinciding with the start of Ringbang music. By 1996 he had produced seven tracks under the Ringbang banner on Eddy's Ice Records label.
In 1998 he returned to main stream poetry, in terms of structure and lyrical content, but with a different music feel, teaming up with Barbados' premiere contemporary jazz band, Jamari, to create a fusion of Caribbean rhythms with jazz, which he calls Saf, a partnership resulting in his third solo album, Doin' it Saf, in 2000. AJA has performed at the Millennium Dome in the UK; the London Jazz Festival; the Dunya Festival in Rotterdam 2001, and at the Tanz Folk & Dance Festival in Germany in 2001. In his poetry AJA addresses world issues as well as the abuse of children and women, poverty, war, racism and peace, and he hopes that the theme of his new concert CD live as one will inspire all peoples to see that there is only one race living on Planet Earth - that is the Human Race.