Storytelling is an art form as old as language itself. Before the advent of writing and civilisation as we understand it today, we had stories.Be it spoken word, song, emceeing or poetry recital, many of us have come into contact with artists or been involved in arts that keep the tradition of passing on wisdom, humour or knowledge orally. I like to see myself, through my roots in hip-hop and my newly found home in spoken word, as a part of this tradition.
However there are those out there who keep a flame alive for a truly ancient and irresistibly human form of expression. These are the very first, the genesis from which all forms of oral performance have sprung. Of course I speak of the story tellers...
In Chelmsford last night, patrons of the United Brethren public house took refuge from the cold winter winds, clasped pints of ale and just listened...
The story tellers turned a humble pub into an ancient longhouse or mead hall. The beating of a drum and the plucking of a stringed instrument I daren't attempt to name sent a modern day audience into an misty medieval world. There was something old, something secret, something...(dare I say it?) magical in the air. One by one the story tellers arose and transported us to far off lands, fantasy scenes, ancient orchards and frozen wastes. With nothing but memory, a voice and a mind filled with stories, the story tellers compelled us, an audience who had hailed from a land of cat videos, the X-factor and Facebook to stop and listen.
This was a truly inspiring experience. As I returned from each story, as if from in a trance, I felt like I had emerged from a kind of guided meditation. Relaxed, enlightened and better for the experience.
The story tellers are the real deal. And if you get a chance to attend one of these nights I recommend that you do. Any spoken word artist, poet, emcee or writer could learn an awful lot from experiencing our art form in its original and most purest form. I know that I have.
Traditional story teller, Shane Ibbs, assembled the varied and talented artists to the event, which he organised himself. He is hoping that this could become a regular occurrence. You can keep up to date with his work and events at his website, as well as book him to perform at your night or school. Teachers out there, your classes will love this. Check out all of the above here: https://www.storytellershane.co.uk/
I know that I wont miss the next story telling event in Chelmsford. I hope that you'll be there too.