Irritable Tribe of Poets, a collective of performing poets and instrumentalists based in Tampa, Florida, is an improvisation-oriented ensemble, actively mixing jazz, rock, funk and world-music textures with sundry styles of poetry.
The group has performed for Dali and the Women exhibition and two Dali homage concerts at the Salvador Dali Museum for the 100th Centennial of Dali, USF's Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, quarterly themed concerts at Viva La Frida, WMNF's Tropical Heatwave (2001, 2003, 2004), BAAMO and WMNF's Artist Tributes at Skipper's Smokehouse, the Orpheum, various colleges and universities and played the last Thursday of every month at King Corona Cigars in Ybor City for a year and a half.
Recordings include: "Kahlo", a cd of Frida Kahlo based poetry by Rhonda J. Nelson and Irritable Tribe of Poets, as well as "em>Irritable Tribe of Poets Live at the Salvador Dali Museum". Irritable Tribe of Poets' musicians back a collective of female poets on the CD "Vital Signs: The Primal Sessions". The band additionally has recorded with poets Stone Handy, Kwabena Dinizulu, Bradley Morewood and Farrell X. Hall.
The core group consists of: Rhonda J. Nelson (poet/artistic director), Ray Villadonga (bass and musical director), Jim Beckwith (percussion & vocals), Rick Olsen (keyboards, guitar and a multitude of other instruments), and Alfredo Rivero (guitar).
Top talent guitarists, keyboardists, woodwind and horn players are featured on a rotating basis, which adds to the chameleon-like quality of each performance. Other musicians in the collective include Bob Brown, Willie Lawson, Peter Mongaya, Jon Richardson, Tom Kersey, Philip Booth, and Jon Priest.
The following poets/spoken-word artists appear with the Irritable Tribe of Poets on a rotating basis: Silvia Curbelo, Kwabena Dinizulu, Pamela Epps, Melissa Fair, Stone Handy, Myron Jackson, Lori Karpay, Bradley Morewood, Stazja McFadyen, Rhonda J. Nelson, Paradox, Edgar Santiago, James Tokley, and Susan Tyler.
Editor David Warner of Creative Loafing said some kind and encouraging words on page 26 of the August 26, 2009, issue. Partial quote, "At a moment when ignorance is being aggressively defended, Deep Carnivale still respects our intelligence. Imagine that."
Esther Martinez, in a story at The Florida Book Review" says she knows "Deep Carnivale will be 'A Celebration of Words' and not a Bourbon Street bacchanal."
"But logophile that I am, I reason I'll get drunk on language. With over 70 writers and artists scheduled [for the 2008 Carnivale] to perform or read from their works, my beaded necklaces will be strung with verse. I imagine haiku shooters..."
"It is just before 10am when I arrive at the corner of Palm Avenue and 14th StreetóDeep Carnivale ground zero. About a dozen vendor tables are lined up around the Hillsborough Community College courtyard where a band of teenagers [Next Exit] are setting up their instruments."The vendor tables sell books by local writers, HCC publications and baked goods. I grab a Cuban favorite, papa rellena, a potato stuffed with savory ground beef. Belly satisfied, I cross the street and enter the historic Circulo Cubano. A nearly 100 year old neo-classical building of ionic columns and marble staircases, it served as the Cuban Social Club and remains the oldest building of its kind in the country."
"When I look back over 2008, my visit to the second edition of Deep Carnivale was a
highlight. You and your staff did a great job and I loved being part of it, again.
I am sure there will be bigger festivals to come. But maybe not better!!!"
– Darrell House, children's book author and 2008 Deep Carnivale presenter.