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The Circle Voice

Artist of the Issue: Langa Chinyoka

H. Callaway '17

H. Callaway '17

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If you were to stop any returning student on the Circle and ask them, “Who is the coolest person at this school?” the answer, every time, would be Langa Chinyoka. She is, therefore, the Circle Voice’s obvious choice for the first Artist of the Issue for the 16-17 school year! Langa, of DAWG, Grotones and SATTE fame, has been a mainstay on the Circle’s art scene ever since her entrance in 2013, and her portfolio spans many mediums.
The first of these mediums–her oldest and most treasured–is music. A member of the Grotones, former member of the choir, and current member of the “uber-lit” Gospel choir, Langa spends the majority of her time on the Circle in music-centered pursuits. She began writing songs at the age of eight and never stopped, recently partaking in a Spring FSA in Songwriting and Music Tech (with MC Abby Power ‘17). Although she promises many more songs to come, her current Soundcloud account, @prettyuglykid, is stocked with four songs that dutifully represent her musical pursuits: “Intro” from her rap duo DAWG with Adia Fielder ’17, “Forgiveness” ft. Anson Jones ’17,“dogs!” and a cover of “Ready for War,” both from her FSA project SATTE (pronounced like the beginning of “satellite,” an astronomical nod to both the title of her album (Gimme Space) and math teacher Mr. Creamer’s funky spelling (sattelite rather than satellite).
These works, especially “dogs!,” reflect her own music taste, which she describes as something that “immediately catches my interest. Stylistic and soft. Not action packed.” Her vision is mature and developed, and takes inspiration from many old and new artists. “When I first listened to Damien Rice,” she said, “I knew. This is what I like, this is what I want to make. The lyrics, the rhythm… everything.” Her new digs include Blond (Blonde?!) by Frank Ocean and Malibu by Anderson .Paak, both of which she praises for “bringing something new to the table.” Coincidentally, this is something Langa always manages to do.
Langa’s theatre career, despite being a small part of her Groton career, is electric and special. She made her main stage debut in 3rd form in the musical Hairspray as a member of the ensemble, but went on to carry a leading role in 2016’s production of The Wiz. Langa sparkled as Addaperle, the chill, relaxed Good Witch of the North. Her performance of “He’s the Wizard” was a highlight of the show and she still remembers it fondly: “It was my favorite song from the show beforehand, before we even knew our roles… it was really fun to do it.”
Her last medium, literature and poetry, is possibly her most visible to Groton’s student body. Langa is a three-time published author and Writing Editor for The Grotonian, a collection of the most impressive written works by Groton students. These include the poetry-prose work “Details,” which won the Upper School Poetry Prize, poem “For the Children of a Diaspora of Sorts,” and short story “Bend.” Her works take inspiration from famed poet Richard Siken and writer Jandy Nelson. She admires Nelson especially, saying, “She has this lyricism in her writing. She writes poetically, and that is something I try to do. Writing poetically, with rhythm.”
This ideal is certainly evident in “Details,” which blurs the line between prose and poetry while flowing and moving to the beat of Langa’s own words. Her artistic talents overlap here, with the lyricism of her writing and her ear for music intertwining into one. She creates something special, new, and promising, but she won’t be the one to tell you about it. “I’m just real,” she said. A real, true talent.

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