Yes, a Place Exists in Today’s World for Epic Storytelling

Last Saturday, I had the great pleasure of being one of 16 storytellers from the Seattle Storytellers Guild who performed the epic Finnish myth, the Kalevala, at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard. What a fun and amazing experience!

The whole Kalevala took six hours to tell, with two intermissions. Listeners — including myself — truly entered a magical world — one of wonder, humor, adventure, and human foibles — presented against a backdrop of times past or perhaps never were. I personally felt something wake up: my human nature that knows and expects to have an immersive storytelling experience that resounds with layers of myth. For an afternoon the Finnish mythic roots became my own — or perhaps stirred recognition of a similar fabric in my own ancestral and soul psyche. I loved the sense of “passing the story” — one teller to the next — with each teller bring their own “color” and sensibilities to the tale, while also tending the weave of the whole.

One of the tellers, Jill Johnson, well captures the scope and spirit of the event. Read her blog post, An Epic Revisited.

Kalevala tellers - photo by Barry McWilliams
Seattle Storytelllers Guild Epic Tellers for The Kalevala at Nordic Heritage Museum March 25th 2017

Tellers from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California, all came together to perform this wondrous event. The show is over, but I believe it will air on the radio. I’ll let you know details about that airing when I get them! Also, consider joining the Seattle Storytellers Guild next year, when our 2018 epic storytelling features tales from The Thousand and One Nights!

Jane Valencia performing the Kalevala - photo by Barry McWilliams
Jane Valencia performing “Aino and the Queen of the Lake” from the Kalevala – photo by Barry McWilliams

Radio Show – Episode 22 – Brigid – February 5, 2017

Today’s show honors Brigid, the Celtic goddess and the Irish Saint, with music related to lore surrounding this powerful figure of light in Celtic traditions. Brigid was a goddess of the hearth, the forge, and of poetic fire, a protector of women in childbirth, guardian of the land, and more. In addition to music from the Celtic lands, we’ll enjoy some ancient prayers and poetry to Brigid. We’ll also wander along the shores, stepping outside Celtic-inspired music to touch into neighboring soundscapes that continue Brigid’s threads in various ways.

12:02: La Lugh – Oiche fa Fheil Bride
12:05: Aine Minogue – Brigit’s Feast
12:07: Lisa Thiel – Song to Brighid
12:13: Shira Kammen – Lullaby Set
12:19: Laurie Riley and Bob McNally – The Jewel
12:21: Phil Cunningham – The House in Rose Valley
12:26: Moving Cloud Orchestra – The Hut on Staffin Island/ The Haggis/Paddy Ryan’s Dream
12:32: Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin – Gabhaim Molta Bride
12:34: Jane Valencia – Saint Brigit’s Hymn + Lore about St. Brighid
12:41: Sian James – Lloer Dirion
12:46: La Lugh – Brighid’s Kiss
12:49: Tina Malia – Heal This Land
12:54: Spookytree (Deb Knodel & Jane Valencia) – Lochaber No More
12:55: Jeff Beck – Women of Ireland

Listen to the latest episode here

Program notes forthcoming!

Tell me a Story

Nature Tells Stories - photo
Nature Tells Stories – photo by Jane Valencia

Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are still in the storytelling time of year. This is the time when nature-infused community and cultures have, like the plants, reached into the roots of themselves, sourcing from dreams, song, and wisdom for the most essential treasures within. From this deep-within place new and renewed pathways are envisioned and explored in a variety of ways. Nature tells and shows us that in spring, we’ll experience the tender roots and shoots of this dreaming, storyweaving time emerging into our daily life.

In the meantime though, we rest, wander, drink deeply of and poke and prod our stories. The stories we tell about our lives, the stories that guide us forward, the stories we tell each other. It’s how we humans have survived and thrived since our beginnings. Storytelling — whether in conversation, reflecting on the day, in the gratitude we offer, and the information we aim to convey — is as essential to our humanity as our ability to create and work with fire.

Now, more than ever, we need to tend to story. Our stories need to be reflective of what we truly want in our world. They need to bring us together rather than divide us, inspire hope rather than fear, look to seeking understanding, to pointing to directions to kind and strong ways of being in challenging times. And they need to offer heart, the possibility of healing, and forgiveness. They need to be as honest as we can make them. After all, we deserve nothing less: we are in this life and this beautiful world together.

And we need to have stories that are fun!

With that in mind I invite you all to the Vashon Wilderness Program‘s Tenth Annual Storytelling Festival. I’m honored to be a teller at this event, offering harp and story. Details below!

VWP Storytelling Festival 2017
In the heart of winter, hundreds of people from Vashon and beyond gather around our proverbial fire to share in the ancient and powerful tradition of oral storytelling.

In honor of their 10th year Anniversary,
their 10th Annual Storytelling Festival
will be offered to our community for FREE!

Join us – January 28th, 2017 @ 1pm

doors open at 12:30pm
this event typically sells out – early arrival strongly recommended

buy concessions, sign up for our 1-Minute Story-thon, and settle in with family & friends

Vashon Theater, Vashon Island

Packed with incredible stories for and by the community,

plus audience participation, including a 1-minute Story-thon, story improv games, and more.

Don’t miss this wonderful, family-friendly event!