TheRAPutix: The Rap Therapists

Raggamama, Barnicle and Deville with Caxton Youth in facilitation mode: Rap-action!

DeVille (Aka Alex De Ville), Hannah Raggamama (AKA Hannah Matthews) and Barnacle (AKA Barney Seignior)

Alex Deville and ‘Barnacle’ (AKA Barney Seignior) met at the Magic Gardens in 2018. Performing at open mic slots for- ‘Sing For your Supper’. Together with Hannah Raggamama (AKA Hannah Matthews), ‘TheRAPutix‘ collaborated to devise a foundational concept- grounded within Rap Therapy. Entailing a mix of hip-hop, self-actualisation and enquiry we find our project wrapped up in confidence building, interpersonal animations and group cypher sessions.

Working across London, Alex’s skills as a psychotherapeutic bereavement counsellor ensured ‘Barnacle’s’ beat-boxing, rhythmic flow assisted our mutually interconnected devotion to Spoken Word and Hip-Hop. In the meantime, we cemented this concept further, via collaboration with ‘Creative Voices Mind’ in 2019. Using mental health as a key to unlocking interpersonal creativity, inspiration was gained which developed our individualised practices. Spoken Word encompassed by community development and current affairs were derived from “ongoing intersectional systemic oppressions” (Freire .P).

Many participants claimed the workshop helped “boost their confidence”, “Allowed them to vent stuff that is usually stigmatised and kept in our heads” and “release emotions”. The space felt safe enough to feel private, yet the atmosphere allowed a variety of participants to vibe off community encouragement. There were even students who attended ‘City Lit’ University, who engaged in the documentation process and participated in the #WeLoveWoodGreen project themselves.

Where, what, who?

This applied form of Spoken Word had been encompassed by community development and current affairs, derived from “ongoing intersectional systemic oppressions” (Freire . P) and learning gained in practice.

#WeLoveWoodGreen 2020 facilitated their first ever Rap Therapy workshop at the Goodness Brewing Co. Working with participants of all ages, heritage, and skill sets; they managed to generate a series of live cypher performances. Assisted by intergenerational and multi-talented individuals who opted to take part in the workshop.

Barnacle continues to work as a gardener in a crematorium. He has developed progressive Spoken-word and beat boxing techniques for over ten years, allowing personal introspection on death and life to merge dualistically as one. Nature and political action inspires his ability to reconnect with life forces around him. As a rapper- he has utilised the physical distancing period to hone in on recording his own bars and devise ideas for/ with ‘The Cat Burglar’ in his spare time.

‘DeVille’ continues to work as a psychotherapist and has since come face-to-face (through ‘Zoom’), with new challenges working as a bereavement counsellor, in light of the current Public Health Crises. All-encompassing issues arising from the use of mainstream technological sharing platforms, ultimately ensured he continues contextualising and understanding his personal experiences. Through his developing spell binding 16-bar cyphers and spoken word hip-hop, his bars are a mash up of spoken word proclamations and introspection from within our current existential dystopias.

‘Raggamama’s practice of applied theatre has been on going since the age of 16 when she started a course at ‘The BRIT School’. She began her Spoken Word and poetic journey via the dark abyss and social injustices received through being hosted within institutionalised care. The development and liberation gained when writing and performing live, travelling, spending time in hospitals, in education, in theatre ensured she engaged in releasing oppressions gained through her personal experiences of social injustice. This is what drives her to continue working with/for the release of systemic oppression- regardless of who critiques on stigma.

Click here to readwatch and hear more- So much more to come soon!

“The oppressor, who is himself dehumanized because he dehumanizes others, tries to hang onto his power and dehumanizing practices.” (Friere. P 2009:32)


By Barnacle in 2020

Until we meet again, both Hannah, Barney and Alex gave been featured in a Magazine! If you liked their work and wanted to hear/see more then check this out:

Click here to find out more:


In the WLWG Feature we asked A&B ‘What would their ideal outcome be for community artists in light of the public health crisis impact on the arts?’. Below we present their suggestions, hopes and visions, moving forward into the new year and beyond:

  • Central space for creatives to come together to find new partners and networks
  • In a process of changing over platforms and being able to have more agency over our own platforms
  • Our own syndicates for ownership over art
  • Free interactions which we own

Bios and Bibliography

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