Noni’s Patois: The Next Black Lily?
At Noni’s Patois, a weekly event held at Dowling’s Palace on North Broad Street, soul reverberates through the room.
And when Kindle Burrows, the event’s creator and host, stands on the red-lit stage and introduces the house band and DJ, energy flows through the audience.
One by one, each of the evening’s lineup of artists takes complete ownership of the stage, jamming – even if for a short time – with no hints of nervousness or uncertainty.
Burrows (in the above photo with co-host Taron Green) created the event last March with the intent of fostering creativity.
The name, she says, represents “God’s gift of different languages.”
“The name Noni’s Patois is a reminder,” says Burrows, a poet and songwriter. “It’s your gift from God, your language, what you speak to people, how you affect a person everyday. This is your gift. So when you come to Noni’s Patois, you have to be a part of that and feel that.”
A welcoming person, Burrows says she tries to be a nurturing figure to the artists who perform every week, many of whom are still establishing themselves in Philadelphia’s arts community. While many of the acts that have come through are R&B or soul-influenced, the event is about live talent of all sorts – rock, hip-hop, jazz, whatever.
“I think she brings something that no one else has brought,” says Brandy Smith, Burrows’ sister-in-law, who helps book artists. “You can trust her when she says, ‘You’re cool,’ and when she says, ‘I love what you do.’”
A Philadelphia native, Burrows says she found inspiration for her project from neo-soul-based events of the past, specifically Black Lily. Black Lily ran a weekly showcase during the early 2000s, serving as a launch pad for the careers of Jill Scott and Jaguar Wright, among many others.
“I want the event to be a sequel to what Black Lily did,” Burrows says.
So far, the event has been a success – large, appreciative crowds have witnessed impressive talent, much of which is based in the city. Burrows has also booked an impressive list of established artists, including Jaguar Wright and China Black.
Even with her accomplishments, Burrows says growing her first event as a promoter has been challenging at times. There is the occasional microphone distortion or cancelled performance.
“That doesn’t stop the sprit in the room, that energy and that constant flow of happiness and euphoria,” Burrows insists.
The community of folks at the Wednesday events have become a like a family.
“Everybody supports each other,” says D’Armand, a gospel/pop singer. “We grow together. Everybody is teaching each other something. I love it.”