Miz Floes Poetic Talent is Miz-merizing
by Teresa Castillo
The old, dark jazz room is filled with curling smoke from the warm stage lights that reflect back to the murmuring crowd. The soft tuning of instruments gives way to a slow, steady bass. Suddenly, the silky voice of Ms. Portiante Floes, poet extraordinaire, pours through the microphone.
Floes’ mature, steady approach and smooth lyrics are suited for a more sophisticated audience. The band does not overpower her voice and her talent is not bound to one style. Her ability to elaborate on real subjects that may apply to anyone listening keeps her versatile. The sultry beats compliment her whimsical, melancholy love lyrics, as well as her fun and lively poems so perfectly that Floes is attracting a large following in the Seattle area.
Her mission is to refamiliarize communities with soul poetry and spoken word, which she says seems to have faded over the years. Yet, her urban background enables her to blend right in with many different cultures. Classified as Neo-Soul/Jazz/Funk, Floes’ style reflects a beatnik vibe with hip-hop undertones.
“Although there are many wonderful paradigms of poetry still gracing the shelves…the voice of performance poetry is struggling to be heard,” explains Floes on her website. “In the 21st century, the poets’ voices have been replaced with bass beats and gyrating hip-hop dancers.”
Floes does not work alone. At first, she teamed with Rcurtis and Soul Stayshun to create Rhythmatic Rhyme, a Thursday night variety show featuring live music, spoken word and open-mic. The collaboration was an immediate success and only fueled more shows.
Carmel Latte, described as “Seattle’s only soulful expression band”, is her latest venue for expression. The traveling poetry theatre, The Smokin’ Spoken Wurd, is “a weekly forum [to] serve as a platform for community members to express themselves via open mic sessions throughout the evening,” Floes says. “Your race, religion and level of education matter not! The only requirements are passion and effort.”
Watch a clip of the Smokin Spoken Wurd Open Mic night on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/carmellate
Her gift has inspired other projects, as well. Her poetry book, I’m Still Growing, hit cyberstores in 2005 and is available for checkout at any branch of the King County Library System. She has also created a literary workshop, Relax, Review, Renew, Release, to inspire, encourage and enable other artists to transform their writing into theatrical performances Floes also serves as the board treasurer and literary coordinator for the Sundiata African American Cultural Association’s Festival Sundiata, which showcases the literary art, visual art, music, fashion, food and more of the African American culture every June at Seattle Center.