Have I got a story to tell
The Sierra Storytelling Festival on the Ridge is one of the most beloved traditions of this area.
It takes place over 3 days at the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center and brings professional storytellers from all over the country to delight, amuse, provoke thought and spellbind.
The biographies of this year’s six story tellers may be seen on the festival’s Web site.
They have traveled the world; they have told stories at prestigious festivals, they often teach their craft, some have even won awards. While each has a specialty, as professionals they know how to appeal to audiences of all ages.
Take Willie Claflin, for instance, who performs with his sidekick, Maynard the Moose. His specialty is children but, really, he appeals to the young spirit in us all. And Diane Ferlatte, she continues to focus on schools and libraries, believing that this is where the tradition of storytelling is to be nurtured and the lessons of the stories most need to be heard.
Or how about the emcee, Angela Lloyd, who uses a washboard and spoons to make music with and love pointing out the daily joys lots of folks never notice.
“She is a combination of Maria Von Trapp, Mary Poppins, and Tinkerbell,” said Donald Davis, when introducing Angela Lloyd at the 31st Annual National Storytelling Festival, in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
Gene Tagaban has got to be one of the more fascinatingly exotics of the storytellers, and he comes to the festival for the first time.
A member of the Tak`deintaan Raven Freshwater Sockeye clan of Hoonah, Alaska, and the Child of a Wooshkeetaan Eagle Thunderbird clan of Juneau, Alaska, Tagaban’s Native American name Gaay Yaaw loosely translates as “Salmon Home Coming.” The stories that he tells, and dances, teach.
He brings his tales to life with the use of traditional flutes, drums and rattles, dance and movement, and masks and regalia (what he wears and what is considered traditional, sacred).
Reached at his home in Washington state, Tagaban says he will perform the impressive Raven Dance. He tells me how he danced it in front of 17,000 children in Seattle recently.
Their reaction? “The feedback was awesome,” he says. None other than the Dalai Lama, with whom the dancer shared the stage, “kept shaking his head, saying ‘Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,’ and said, ‘I’ve lost my train of thought’ when he started speaking.”
In doing the dance, Tagaban says, “I tell a story about following your heart and living your vision, spreading your wings and flying.”
You can see him dancing in still shots on his Web site, http://www.genetagaban.com.
The first time to hear all the tellers is Friday evening at 8. Saturday is a full day and at 1:30 on Sunday, the festival is over.
New this year are two back-to-back workshops Friday afternoon, 1:30-5 p.m., by teller/teachers, Judith Black (storytelling in the classroom) and Antonio Sacre (telling your own compelling personal and family stories).
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