Upcoming Welsh Harp and Storytelling Performance

The Seattle Storytellers Guild presents:

When Harpers Once in Wooden Halls: Celtic tales, poetry, folklore, music and song for the dark of the year

Followed by more Music, Songs and Poetry presented by Puget Sound Welsh Association

Saturday, October 5th, 2019 7:00 PM
At the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church,
14724 1st Ave NE, Shoreline

Bardic harper and storyteller Jane Valencia will present tales of transformation for the dark of the year interwoven with early Welsh poetry, threads of medieval Welsh language, tree and herbal lore, music, and other Celtic magic.

A lover of Celtic tale and lore since she was a child, Jane took up the harp after studying medieval Welsh bardic poetry, language, and literature (including the Mabinogion) at UC Berkeley and at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. With harp and storytelling, Jane has found that she can weave everything she loves into bardic performance, including folklore, song, poetry, art, and the beauty and wonder of nature.

Deb Knodel

Jane’s harp duo partner, Deb Knodel will join Jane in this performance. As the harp duo Spookytree, Deb and Jane have performed together since 1990, have three recordings, and have offered bardic storytelling since 1994. Their music is described as “intelligent, playful” and “pure magic.”

Members of the Puget Sound Welsh Association in the second half of the program will bring even more Welsh music, songs and poetry. They are partnering with the Seattle Storytellers Guild in this program – which is a prelude to an Epic Telling of the Welsh Mabinogion to be presented by the Seattle Storytellers Guild this coming May.

Refreshments provided!

Admission: $10 Guild and Welsh association members – $15 non-members of the Guild

Info: seattlestorytellers.org or Contact Barry at eldrbarry@gmail.com

This Event will be preceded Saturday Afternoon, October 5th with:

A Taste of Storytelling Workshop

at the Haller Lake United Methodist Church, 13055 1st Ave NE, Seattle — 1-4 pm

Explore your curiosity about Storytelling while learning to tell a tale without memorization

a sample of Susy Irwin’s North Seattle College Storytelling Class.

$20 Guild and Welsh Members $25 Non-members

Book Reviews Coming Soon!

I just spent a fabulous couple of days at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, held this year in Seattle. I met editors, authors, book reviewers, bloggers, and publishing and distribution representatives. I review books from time to time, and that part of me has opened its dragon eyes and declared, Great books are still being published. We need to get them into the hands of families!

Some of the enticing books I brought home from ALA.

I came home with numerous books and graphic novels I’m eager to share with y’all. I specifically sought middle grade magical fiction and nature-connected fiction, however I found myself ranging into both picture books and young adult, and my dragon heart urged me to pick up titles related to diversity, social justice, and bettering our world.

Storytelling and losing oneself in story is integral to how we humans relate to one another and make sense of our lives and world. You can read more about my thoughts about books as magical doors and reading books to kids here. Books were my companions as a child. Children’s fantasy in particular fueled my imagination to live the kind of magical life I read about. Animal fiction (such as Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, and Jean Craighead George’s many animal novels) fed me — a suburban child — with experiences of forest life, of what it might be like to be the deer, or the fox, or the prairie dog.

I’m passionate about storytelling — hearing the story, experiencing the movement and expression of the teller — and I find reading a story to hold its own wonder. I find a book to indeed be a spell book of sorts, the markings on the pages lifting off to weave worlds in our hearts.

I look forward to sharing some exciting books with you in the coming weeks!

A stack of picture books and a poetry/recipe book from ALA.

The Fire & Legend of Bridget of Kildare

What follows is an article by Erin Durrett introducing the new Explore Celtic Spirituality series starting up this coming Sunday. I’m delighted to be one of the co-dreamers of this offering!

February 11, 2018, 4pm-5pm
Church of the Holy Spirit
15420 Vashon Hwy.

What does the word “Celtic” conjure for you? Lively, lilting music on St. Patrick’s Day? Lines of high-steppin’ Riverdancers? The misty isles of Britain? For the next few months we’re going to be exploring the deep currents that underlie these well-known traditions and images in a series of short workshops that will offer music, poetry, movement and food for the soul that come from the ancient sacred traditions of Celtic culture.

February 11th the series begins with a celebration of the “fire in the heart” of Bridget of Kildare, whose legend goes back into the mists of Irish prehistory. Like many saints, she comes down to us carrying the elements of her Divinity – blessings of fire and water, guarding prayers of home and hearth, brewing and good fellowship. She is the shepherdess of flocks and tender of their abundance.

One of her legends: When Bridget was a young woman her father tried to marry her off to a local king. As the king stood at his window watching her he said, “I suspect you want me to marry her because you are tired of her giving away all your possessions – just as I see her now giving away your jeweled sword to that beggar”. Her father, enraged, ran over to the window and began to yell down at Bridget but the king stopped him. “Your child’s reputation for generosity is well-known. But I think she will have no king of Tara; she is already the worthy bride of a greater King”.

Indeed, the fire in Bridget’s heart waits on no man! She walks back and forth through the mists of time tending that fire by touching the human heart with generosity, courage and companionship. She is with us when she makes ale for a bunch of thirsty lepers, when the last coals of the fire are banked with her blessing so the family may have hot porridge in the morning, when we weave the image of the fiery sun from cold, wet rushes as she taught us on her feast day in the bleak mid-winter.

Come with your children, grandparents and friends to celebrate with us at the fire in the labyrinth, with music and good fellowship in the hall! People of all ages and spiritual leanings welcome!

For more information: www.holyspiritvashon.org

And also in celebration of Brighid.

For the next two weeks you can listen to an episode of Forest Halls Celtic devoted to exploring the legend and myth of Brighid by way of music, poetry, and folklore.  Head over here to listen to Show 22