Just as people travel, stories travel too. There is an ever-increasing availability of translated tales, songs and poems. Under normal circumstances, travelling to new places is more affordable and accessible than ever before and global use of the internet continues to expand. These, coupled with the very human desire to gain an insight into the lives of those whose traditions, cultures and countries of origin differ from our own, means that words now often travel for thousands of miles and across the ages, before reaching our ears.
Over the years, Live & Local has been blessed with many wonderful performers who bring with them stories that have migrated across cultures. Two recent and wonderful examples of this are Welsh storyteller, Daniel Morden, and fiddler, Oliver Wilson-Dickson, who teamed up to bring us Twice Upon a Time – a fusion of energetic music and lively storytelling. Their words and melodies portrayed timeless and traditional stories, often with strong Celtic folk connections. Morden is also a two-times winner of the Tir na n-Og Awards, he first claimed the title in 2007 for his book Dark Tales from the Woods – a vivid retelling of the traditional seven gypsy tales. His second win came in 2013 for his collection Tree of Leaf and Flame, which featured modern retellings of the short stories originally found in The Mabinogion.
Although a genre in its own right, storytelling is often used alongside other art forms to create inspirational and meaningful events. A fantastic gig-theatre show that recently toured with Live & Local was Little Bulb’s Mountain Music. The show successfully charted the journey of Celtic folk music over 300 years as it moved from the UK to America. The show also included tales of the British pioneers who went to settle in the Appalachian Mountains, taking their songs and stories from ‘the old country’ with them. Little Bulb explored how their culture and stories took on a new life in these new surroundings. For more of an insight into Little Bulb Theatre, you can check out this interview on YouTube which also includes some live performances of their work from 2015.
Scratchy Beard promise to journey you through an upbeat, fun and sincere collage of trans-European roots music. They are known for adding a storytelling element to their performances, often detailing the English and Celtic folk tales that inspired many of their songs. The group specialise in gypsy jazz, a genre which can be traced back to Romani Gypsy musician Django Reinhardt in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s, three decades after Reinhardt’s death, that the genre really took off. Reinhart spent most of his early life in the gypsy camps on the outskirts of Paris but in later years travelled the world performing his original style of jazz music and touring with big names such as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
Scratchy Beard were meant to be touring with us last March but sadly due to recent events, this was unable to happen. However, you can view several short performances on their Facebook page or their Youtube channel.
Another memorable Live & Local performer and writer is Daria Kulesh. The folksinger intertwines her Russian and Ingush roots with multicultural influences she has experienced on (what she describes as) a turbulent and exciting journey through life.
Through her incredible songwriting and beautiful vocals, Daria brings to life the vivid stories of her ancestors’ folktales and keeps alive the stories and memories of her long-lost homeland, Ingushetia. Set deep in the Caucasus Mountains, Ingushetia is an ancient land of breath-taking beauty and harrowing history, with a population that was subjected to ethnic cleansing as recently as the early 1990s. For those who didn’t catch Daria during her previous run of performances, you can experience many of her songs for free on Youtube.
Live & Local’s Admin Assistant, Emilie has been commissioned to run a free, online poetry workshop to celebrate Refugee Week 2020. The session is suitable for anyone who enjoys a bit of creative writing or who would like to have a go at something new – all you need is your imagination..! The workshop will be free to view from 21st June 2020 on Emilie’s YouTube Channel.