2014 Featured Storytellers & Musicians
Lyn Ford - Mistress of Ceremonies
Lyn Ford (OH) is an award winning storyteller who shares folktale adaptations, spooky tales and original stories from her family’s African American multicultural heritage. Her “Home Fried Tales” are seasoned with humor and heart. Like an acclaimed chef, Lynn serves up a banquet of storytelling delight.
www.storytellerlynford.com | video
Patrick Ball is one of the premier Celtic harp players in the world and a captivating spoken word artist. In playing the ancient, legendary brass-strung harp of Ireland with its crystalline, bell-like voice, and in performing marvelous tales of wit and enchantment, he not only brings new life to two cherished traditions, but blends them in concert to create “a richly theatrical and hauntingly beautiful performance.”
www.patrickball.com | video
Niall de Burca
Niall de Burca was raised in western Ireland, a region steeped in Celtic myth and legend. An enormously versatile storyteller, he combines tremendous energy and humor with audience participation to tell historical stories of Irish Diaspora, and tales from other lands, as well as original yarns. Using his voice with a craftsman skill, de Burca tells great stories with wonderful charm, judgement and superb timing. De Burca is considered to be one of Ireland's finest traditional storytellers and has been featured in theatre, radio and television. He has performed around the world in such diverse countries as Finland, Italy and Argentina.
www.storyteller.ie | video
Barbara McBride-Smith transports you from the ancient world of the Greek gods and goddesses to the post-modern experiences of her Baby Boomer generation. She narrates the lives of shady ladies and bad boys of the Bible, navigates literature with the heart and soul of a librarian, identifies with country music and rock n’ roll, and interprets it all with a Texas-born cheerleader’s perspective. Entertainer, historian, preacher, and storyteller all rolled into one, Barbara McBride-Smith serves up sweet truth with a side of southern grit.
From the streets of Brooklyn to the villages of the world, Laura Simms has criss-crossed the globe sharing and collecting tales that make a difference in people's lives. Known for her ability to weave traditional stories with personal narrative, Laura creates a cutting-edge performance style that bridges ancient oral tradition and performance art. With a dramatic flair, Laura inhabits her stories, captivating her audience and filling the space with humor and compassion. Her work has varied from serving as artist-in-residence at universities to creating original theater-dance works; co-designing a playground based on a fairytale; saving a zoo as a community and compassion endeavor in Romania; to working in conflict resolution and peace making with refugees and displaced persons. An award-winning storyteller, recording artist, teacher, writer and humanitarian we are so pleased to welcome this remarkable storyteller as a new voice to our festival.
www.laurasimms.com | video
Gene Tagaban is a Native American performing artist, storyteller, trainer, counselor and healer. His heritage is Cherokee, Tlingit and Filipino. Raised in Alaska, Gene's Nattive American name is Gaay Yaaw, loosely translates as Salmon Home Coming. He is of the Wooshkeetaan Eagle Thunderbird clan of Juneau, Alaska. Many of his stories tell of his journey to become Raven Dancer, drawing deeply from the stories his grandmother told him as a child. Gene believes that learning and laughter go hand in hand, and his stories educate and entertain all ages.
www.turtleislandstorytellers.net | video
Izzi combines two great arts, juggling so bold as to amaze the mind, and stories so enchanting as to capture the heart. His performance mixes wisdom and fun, intelligence and humor, laughter and education. Izzi Tooinsky … a true original!
www.izzitooinsky.com | video
The Story Pirates
Story Pirates features some of the best improvisors and entertainers from Los Angeles and New York, who create a musical sketch comedy show based on original stories written by kids.
storypirates.org | video
"Story Pirates helps kids to see that their words are really important. It's crazy entertaining for both kids and adults.
- Jon Stewart, The Daily Show
Musical Picnics at the Bowl
A wonderful singer and songwriter, Cindy Kalmenson, brings humor and a beautiful voice to original as well as cover songs from a variety of music genres. An award-winning songwriter, we are pleased to have Cindy open the festivities for Laughing Night. There are many ways to tell a story, and Cindy sings her tales in an authentic and passionate style. Come early and bring a picnic. www.cindykalmenson.net | video
I consider Alan an Ojai musical treasure. A past performer at the Ojai Storytelling Festival, audiences love his mellow and rich voice along with his deft guitar stylings. Alan Thornhill is the perfect beginning for a Saturday evening in the Bowl under the oaks.
alanthornhill.com | video