Sunday, October 24, 2010

F.O.O.L. Festival in Toronto; October 23rd 2010

By 8:20 on Saturday morning, we were on our way to Artscape Wychwood Barn, 601 Chrsitie Street. It was a little chilly but at least it was dry. From time to time the sun reinforced its brilliance and warmth. It had been a tough week and I was hoping that I would have the right energy to perform for our audience.
Wychwood Barn was bustlng with the Saturday Farmer's market; food grilling and sizzling, families walking, talking and pushing strollers, and the occassional wheel chair. There was our stand in the middle, nicely decorated with vibrant fabric, for a back drop, rows of chairs and a microphone on a boom. Then I saw my favorite elder urban storyteller, Dan Yashinsky with a coffee cup in hand and a big grin of welcome. We hugged, I hadn't seen him in probably two years when I did a special storytelling night for the Toronto Storytelling Festival with Brad Woods and Great Wooden Trio at the Artscape Wychwood Barns performance theatre. Dan was looking good. I met Gurpeet Chana who was soon going to amaze us with his virtuoso percussive talent. He was very striking in black, from turban to trousers, a handsome man with sensitive hands who could call out percussive sound and emotion from the Tabla and the Hang. Celia Lotteridge Barker came in then, whom I hadn't seen since 2006 when we were guest authors at the Stratford Children's Literary Festival.
At ten o'clock we began. First Gurpeet, next yours truly and the Celia and then Dan. In the audience I recognized, Regina from Brazil, with whom I had performed in 20o6(?) at the auspicious Saturday Concert of the Toronto Storytelling Festival, alongside the amazing Jan Blake. We went with site specific stories, involving food, eating, hunting and cooking. Hodja or Mulla Nasruddin appeared twice, Ananse once and other stories. I also told a snappy story of the 3 Fast men.
We settled into part two with more from Gurpeet, this time on the Tabla. Two young brothers were next, carriers of the torch of the oral tradition in Toronto-wow! Then came spoken word artist, Dahlia Eagle Ellis, the rhythms of whose poetry inspired me. What a precious way to end with more of Gurpeet Chana on the Hang. It is clear that the market, on a Saturday, is a great place to tell stories. Way to go Dan....Dan is storyteller in residence at Artscape Wychwood Barns, keeping an open stall at the Saturday market.

Monday, October 18, 2010

F.O.O.L. Festival of Oral Literature, TORONTO

photo by Amiliah Goodrich

THIS October check out F.O.O.L. the new festival of storytelling. Find out more at:

I will be performing on Saturday October 23 at 10am the market..
Market fresh storytelling...
very avant guard...
literally singing for my breakfast...
See you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October: The first half

Wow, October is half way through already. I have written the second draft of the first book of a YA series that I am planning for Ghana. I am quite pleased with the speed of that. You've got to love October with the trees in full Fall colours and falling off. The days of a light jacket and a long walk are fast diminishing and you can expect the cold to arrive shortly. October goes into history this year for the incredible rescue of the Chilean miners. And so for me October speaks of hope and breakthrough solutions. I have a lot of work to finish by the end of the month including a trip to Toronto and the FOOL festival which I will be attending and participating in for the very first time. October is always great for the celebrations of birthdays, anniveraries and Thanksgiving, which brought twenty-two people in my home for turkey fun and fellowship.