Thursday, October 25, 2007

Denise Miller - Canadian Storyteller

Denise Miller, indigenous Canadian storyteller, performed at the Kookaburra Folk Club last night. She had a 40 minute set in which she included a greeting song; trickster tales from different traditions (why dogs smell each other's bums; why the coyote howls), the birth of Turtle Island (north america); Skeleton Woman.

Denise indicated to Alex & I afterwards that she uses skeleton woman when talking with indigenous youth – who have the highest suicide rate in Canada. The point of choice to be re-born, to remember what was good about living in community is a worthwhile discussion point. There are some quite nightmarish tellings of the tale's beginning in the Inuit Community, one of which she quickly outlined to me. (Goosebump city, and she said there were worse.)

AWAYE! an excellent Radio National program (6 October) recently featured Native American storytelling. Here is the link at the radio national site:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Redlands Women's Information Forum (April 28, 2007)

The Queensland Storytelling Guild was invited by the Redlands Women's Information Network to participate in their annual Women's Information Forum. The Redlands Community Cultural Centre was full with displays from community groups and services, and the Redback Room the venue for a health forum, skipping demonstration, debate between students from a local college and Forum Communicators, and more.

Bettina and I, representing the Guild, were scheduled 'after the skipping demonstration, before the debate'. What a wonderful opportunity for us to open with skipping & clapping rhymes prior to Bettina telling 'Elsie Piddock skips in her sleep' (by Eleanor Farjeon). This was well received by the young & talented skippers in addition to all those present. It is a story with much to offer - the values of community, respect for folk of all ages, and integrity (for 'signed and sealed is signed and sealed'.)

Shirley followed with 'Tongue Meat', a folk tale from Swahili. This teaches the values of communication (including tales, music and laughter) and respect.

Bettina and I would like to thank the Redlands Women's Information Network for the invitation; and to particularly thank Rhonda Kelly and Pam Tranter for their hospitality on the day.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Guild at Government House Australia Day Celebrations

Storytelling was alive and well at the Government House Australia Day Celebrations. I was pleased to be asked by the Queensland Governor, Ms. Quentin Bryce, to tell stories for families and children at the Australia Day Government House Open Day.

(photo - Karen Tunny © 2007)

My request to be listed as representing the Qld Storytelling Guild was only too happily agreed to. The venue was the Pool Pavilion in the gardens. It is a quite pleasant, modern wood and steel structure that opens out all around to the gardens and bush. It has quite a bit of room and reasonable accoustics given that it is basically open on three sides. There was a pleasantly cool breeze coming up the hill and through the pavilion.

Probably the only drawback with it as a venue is that the floor is concrete and although the mainly child audience coped OK, if I was doing it again, I would ask for or take rugs or carpet. My Australiana backdrop worked really well and blended in with the wood panelling.

The Vice-Regal Golf Buggy did excellent service chugging up and down the hill with all the gear. There has got to a new story in there somewhere.

(photo - Jan Amies © 2007)

I did three shows in the morning to enthusiastic audiences of mainly children and parents. I stuck to Australian stories as requested and was pleasantly surprised to find how many I still had in my repertoire. The younger children got 'The Little Blue Train Goes to the Beach' and 'ditto to the Farm', 'Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree', 'The Possum and the Garbage Truck Driver' and 'Going Fishing with my Dad'. The older children got 'The Gindie Silos', 'The Ghost of Vulture Street' and some improvisations.

All in all it was a pleasant gig and hopefully a sign of things to come.