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2017 Featured Storytellers & Musicians

Dovie Thomason - Mistress of Ceremonies

Dovie Thomason

We are pleased to bring back Dovie Thomason as our official emcee. She is an award-winning storyteller, recording artist and author, recognized internationally for her ability to take her listeners back to the "timeless place" that she first "visited" as a child, hearing old Indian stories from her Kiowa Apache and Lakota relatives, especially her Grandma Dovie and her Dad. From their voices, she first heard the voices of the Animal People and began to learn the lessons they had to teach her. Her love of stories and culture set her on a path to listen and learn and share the stories — to give people a clearer understanding of the often misunderstood, often invisible, cultures of the First Nations of North America.
www.doviethomason.com | video


Bill Harley

Bill Harley

A two-time Grammy award-winning artist and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the RI Council for the Humanities, Bill uses song and story to paint a vibrant and hilarious picture of growing up, schooling and family life. His work spans the generation gap, reminds us of our common humanity and challenges us to be our very best selves. A prolific author and recording artist, Bill tours nationwide as an author, performing artist and keynote speaker. No one captures childhood, parenting and the adventures of life like Bill Harley. Warning: His stories may be humorous to your health!
billharley.com | video


Kim Weitkamp

Kim Weitkamp

As the redheaded child of exhausted parents, Kim grew up enjoying the role of the middle child. Allowed to roam free in the heart of Amish Country, her imagination was ripened by a life lived outdoors. Now she enjoys the role of being one of the most sought after storytellers and speakers in the country. One reviewer stated, "Kim is a master at seamlessly building bridges from story, to song, to story. Like all good storytellers she evokes both laughter and tears, but her smooth silky voice, impeccable timing, and dead-on anticipation of her listeners’ needs place her at the pinnacle of her craft."
www.kimweitkamp.com | video


Motoko

Motoko

A native of Osaka, Japan, Motoko has performed storytelling and mime professionally since 1993. Her repertoire includes Asian folktales, Rakugo and Zen tales, and mime vignettes, as well as personal stories from her childhood in Japan and life as an immigrant in the U.S.  Motoko captivates audiences as she exquisitely blends ancient lore and original tales with traditional music and eloquent physical characterization. Her tales are at once comical and wise, earthly and sublime. Through her tales we journey beyond our imagination and return more whole.
motoko.folktales.net | video


Niall de Búrca

Niall de Burca

We are so pleased to be bringing back one of Ireland's treasures to our festival. Niall brings stories to life in the most amazing way with humor, physicality, audience participation and high drama. You will be captivated, entertained and transported to a world of imagination when Niall de Burca takes the stage. A shape-shifter extraordinaire, one minute you'll swear he's a woman, the next a giant leprechaun, you never know what you're going to see. Niall has performed in countries as diverse as Poland, Argentina, Italy and The Netherlands. Direct from Dublin, more dangerous than the pied piper, Niall de Búrca will cast a spell on young and old alike!
www.storyteller.ie | video


Antonio Rocha

Antonio Rocha

My Uncle Jack used to say, "There are many roads to Des Moines". And of course there are many ways to tell a story. Antonio is one of the most unique voices on the storytelling circuit. His repertoire includes stories of his homeland in Brazil, age-appropriate folktales, exquisite mime illusions and some hilarious characters in outrageous situations. Rocha’s unique fusion of storytelling with mime has been performed from Singapore to Hawaii, including fourteen countries on six continents. A feast for the eyes and ears, it's always Happy Hour when Antonio performs.
www.storyinmotion.com/ | video


Samite

Samite

Several years ago, Samite, was the final performer on a magical night at the Ojai Storytelling Festival. At the end of the festival, everyone, young, old and in-between were on their feet dancing to the rhythms of his Kalimba. A world-renowned musician Samite was born and raised in Uganda, where his grandfather taught him to play the traditional flute. When he was twelve, a music teacher placed a western flute in his hands setting him on his way to becoming one of East Africa's most acclaimed flutists. He performed frequently to enthusiastic audiences throughout Uganda until 1982, when he was forced to flee to Kenya as a political refugee. Today his smooth vocals accompanied by the kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes mesmerize audiences throughout the world.
www.samite.com | video


Musical Picnics at the Bowl

Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill

Winner of the prestigious Telluride Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, Alan's melodic playing captivates audiences of all ages, from concert halls to festival stages. His warm, resonant voice invites listeners to truly tune into the music. A festival favorite, we consider Alan one of Ojai's special treasures.
alanthornhill.com | video


Samite

Martin Young and Alan Thornhill

Come listen to the beautiful and exciting music of Samite and Friends.
www.samite.com | video