Featured Artists 2021

The Nne Agwu storytelling festival aim to nourish you with first class global storytellers. Look at the beautiful artists gathering this summer to captivate your imagination by conjuring the magic and the power of the oral tradition of storytelling. Embrace the gift! 

Best Afrakan Storytellers and Leadership Facilitators

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Award winning Griot Chinyere is an national and international grassroots storyteller, the artistic director for Shanti-Chi and the founder of the Nne Agwu Afrakan Storytelling festival. Her lineage is the griot way, coming from a long line of storytellers, healers, chiefs, historians, soothsayers, She is focused on developing the African storytelling artistry in the UK. She has traveled across Africa, Europe and the Middle East gathering knowledge and experience on the oral traditions. Her performances throughout the world blends her skills as a movement stylist and character actor to tell dynamic and lyrical stories with a wonderful sense of playfulness that makes you part of the story, and reverence for the deeper meaning of spirituality in storytelling. 

 

Griot will deliver master class: Griot Way applying the techniques of the oral traditions and its role in the self actualisation of the melanin rich community between Monday and Wednesday; support Caul Grant with delivering sessions on human rights, perform with the griot way ensemble Wednesday evening and lead a the midnight meditation walks. 

Eli Anderson uses the ancient craft of storytelling and drumming to reflect positively upon the critical issues of life. He truly enjoys the opportunity to share this craft through storytelling in a variety of environments where people are seeking intuitive answers to difficult and challenging questions. His unique approach and continued support makes him essential to the Nne Agwu Afrakan Storytelling Festival creative team.

Eli Anderson will deliver 3 x 1.5 hour workshop daily Monday to Wednesday. These will be open drop in workshops emphasising and addressing the question - who am I?

Olusola Adebiyi AKA Sola Story is a creative facilitator and performance storyteller with an international profile. He is the founder and director of Narrative Mindfulness ltd and co founder of Rebirth of the griot a  monthly Afrakan storytelling and spoken word showcase. When asked why do you storytell? he replies "to paint change making images with compelling narratives inspiring people to believe that the world of their longing of their fond heart's desire is achievable. At Nne Agwu Storytelling family retreat, Sola will be telling stories, delivering mythic medicine: a conceptual modality that mixes storytelling, play, physical storytelling (based on Kazimba Ngoma: Afrakan fighting arts) and multi-arts with mindfulness. "Mythic medicine is mapping the events of our lives through metaphor and story: becoming aware of what the stories mean for us." 

Sola will deliver 3 x 1.5 hour Kazimba martial arts at dawn & 3 x 1.5 hour storytelling workshops late morning.

Ken Yahw has produced a large body of work from set designs to totem carvings. Drawing on his rich cultural heritage, his art work explores personal growth & celebrates harmony. During his studies of word carving when in Ghana 89 – 90, he observed the carvers at work. Learning their techniques was a mesmerizing meditative and inspiring process. His serene approach and his ability while working with traditional hand tools, to transform the oral storytelling into a wood carving, using recycled and natural materials, to inspire original art, makes him an ideal Artist in residence for the Nne Agwu festival. Ken will hold a central space carving a storytelling totem for the Nne Agwu Afrakan storytelling festival. 

Ken will deliver 3 x 1.5 hour art workshops between Monday and Wednesday.

 

Jali Bakary

Jali Bakary Konteh is the son of Dembo Konteand Alhaji Bai Konte'sgrandson, two of the best known Gambian kora players ever. Like his forefathers, his exceptional talent gives him both flexibility and musical originality Jali Bakary Kontehis a master of traditional Gambian folk songs with the unique and special Gambian line, which is not heard much these days. As a Griot, Jali Bakary Kontehis also a teacher of music and Griot culture, and an historian, he weaves all these talents into his performance to make it a spellbinding, satisfying and fulfilling experience.

Jali Bakary will run 3 workshops x 1.5 hour drop in workshops on Monday to Wednesday, titled The Kora story and the stories of the Kora. He will also perform with the Griot way ensemble Wednesday evening and join the jam session each evening around the fire. 

The Griot Way ensemble are graduates of the Griot Way training (designed and delivered by Griot Chinyere) returns with a beautiful  This year it the training has focused on Igbo storytelling and explored the role of the feminine in spirituality through the exploration of alusi (archetypes) 6 feminine melanin rich storytellers journey along the story.

The ensemble: Griot Chinyere, Flavia McDonald, Shedihay HatNebMaoo & Chinyere Onyekwere. The storytellers graduated last year at the Nne Agwu storytelling family retreat after premiering the story, "Ezigbo the Obanje child. Having reworked the show they come again with their powerful energy. The aim always is to transform the world in honour of ancestors with the stories we tell. 

Kuumba Nia Arts began in 2008 with the Theatre Development Weekends, in collaboration with Nu Century Arts and Unity Arts. This experience marked the beginning of our work on African theatrical aesthetic which we have kept exploring ever since. 

In 2019 we started a one-year residency with the Oxford Playhouse. We used this opportunity to re-work our creation Mary Prince, her story, her words, and mewhich we performed at the Off-Beat Festival in 2018. In collaboration with the Unlock the Chains Collective, we are taking the show – renamed SOLD – to the Edinburgh Fringe to tell the extraordinary story of Mary Prince, born into enslavement in the former British colony of Bermuda, who went on to become a figurehead of the abolitionist movement. 

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Unlock the Chains Collective

Euton Daley, the director of SOLD is also an Artist, mentor and producer, with over 30 years experience working in the arts. Having developed and managed Pegasus Theatre Oxford, specialising in youth and community work for over 20 years, my focus is now as a consultant, project manager, performance poet and DJ. My second book #Ending the Silence was published in 2018. Unlock the Chains Collective are currently supported by Oxford Dance Forum Evolution programme which is funded by Arts Council England. 

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