I performed at the SIGANA INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING FESTIVAL in Nairobi (8 – 14 June 2016) alongside tellers from Tanzania (Christa D Komba), Uganda (Andrew Lwanga Ssebaggala) and Kim Seung-
The Kenyan tellers were led by festival director Alumbe Hellen (whom I met at the 2013 Kanoon Festival in Iran) and included John Titi (Video) , Wangari Grace and the effervescent Onyango Owino (whose energy and humour levels reminded me of Bobby Norfolk!) as well as theatre studies students from the Nairobi University who made a most encouraging debut.
The African telling I saw made exciting use of percussive accompaniment – our shows in schools had two drummers, those at the Cultural Centre four. Tellers frequently broke into song to punctuate their performance. As the songs usually featured a catchy refrain (which the tellers delighted in teaching us!) or a call-
John Titi’s version of the Two Goats on the Bridge (link to follow) makes wonderful use of the singing as he gently walks us through the story and I love the back-
Please note that the festival has faced considerable financial difficulties from 2016 onwards and several tellers I respect have shared graphic stories relating to very poor accommodation, food and telling conditions, as well as issues regarding non-
Masai Mara was of course fantastic!