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Iyeoka Okoawo

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Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo is a Poet and Recording Artist, a 2010 TED Global Fellow, the 2nd place 2009 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, and a spokesperson for the Amenawon Foundation. A first-generation Nigerian-American, Iyeoka was a practicing pharmacist before launching her career as a poet, singer, activist and educator. In her native Esan language, Iyeoka means “I want to be respected.” By channeling her culture and ancestral influences, she delivers an authentic and inspiring message of healing through accessing the power of the moment.

Iyeoka began her musical career by founding the group The Rock by Funk Tribe, a collective of musicians that enabled her to interweave her poetry with jazz, blues, funk, and gospel. She released her first solo full length album of poem-songs called “Black and Blues” in 2004 through Phanai Records and then began to tour and make numerous appearances on other artist’s albums, including The Press Project’s “Get Right” album and “Memoirs of the Tempo” by Tempo Valley.

In 2007, Iyeoka released her second album of poetry and music fusion “Hum The Bass Line” again on Phanai Records. In 2008, she recorded a live album in Hawaii called Live @ KTUH – Honolulu. That same year, Iyeoka lent her vocal talent to a cover of U2′s hit song “Desire” for a compilation of U2 covers called “In The Name Of Love: Africa Celebrates U2.” The album featured Grammy Award-winning/nominated African artists including Angelique Kidjo, Les Nubians, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, Vieux Farka Tour, Vusi Mahlasela and the Soweto Gospel Choir with proceeds benefiting the Global Fund.

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