Featured Artists 2018

The Nne Agwu storytelling festival aim to nourish you with first class global storytellers. Look at some of 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 in the UK


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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 2 master classes on Saturday and Sunday in Afrakan storytelling and the Griot Way applying the techniques of the oral traditions and its role in self actualisation of the melanin rich community. 

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 2 x 2 hour workshop daily. One workshop will be tilted: Introduction to storytelling. This will be open drop in workshops ""Introduction to African storytelling", with the emphasis on addressing the question who am I?

Amantha Edmead developed a passion for African and Caribbean stories and storytelling techniques over a decade ago. She applies her wide vocal singing range during her enthusiastic performances drawing on stories from her motherland which are infectious. Her ability to engage community groups is one of the undeniable facts that contributed to her being a regular contributor to the Nne Agwu storytelling team.

Amanatha Edmead will run 2 x 2 hour workshops a day titled devising songs for storytelling. One will be aimed at families and children that will be an open drop in workshop. For the other participants must sign up to attend all three sessions. Each season leading on from the previous. Amantha will also deliver one performance per day demonstrating the power of her artistry and inspiring festival attendees.

Sandra A Agard is a very experienced workshop facilitator, reader development consultant, oral development consultant. She has been working for Southwark and Lewisham library services as a Literature Development Officer for over 16 years and continues to do so. Sandra has worked in a diverse range of artistic. community and educational environments including theatres, festivals, libraries and schools. It is her ability to capture the attention and draw out the creativity of her audiences and participants, creating a unique interactive storytelling experiences, that hails her regular return to the Nne Agwu Afrakan Storytelling festival as an important member of the creative team.

Sandra will be running 2 x 2 hour class in storytelling daily titled: The Joy of Stories! The other will be a master class is aimed at anyone who wants to attend and participants will sign up for all three sessions. Each season leading on from the previous. Sandra will also deliver one performance per day demonstrating the power of her artistry and inspiring festival attendees.

Theodore’s artistic sparkle came at the age of 7 when he stated playing the guitar and in later years he advanced to learning theory of music at the Music Foundation College and has been playing guitar now for about 30 years; as well as bass, djembe, cabasa, kit drums and the shekere. Over the years, Theodore has played wide genres of music such as: funk, reggae, jazz and folk with various bands to name a few, Vibes to the Bone, ACD ARTS, Bantu Arts and Judah Funk.  He has gone on to produce albums too, one with Cezanne Taharqa producing the album Seeds of Love. 

Theodore talent emerges further with his love for art led him to doing graphic design and finally a degree in Interior Design and being a poet developed firstly from his father reading him Anansi stories as a child and now as an adult he continues to explore sound, textures and movement.

Theodore will run 2 workshops 1.5 hour: Where participants will produce Poetry/Song and graphic novel based on the theme self-love in honour of Buchi Emecheta novel Joy of Motherhood. It will incorporate sound, visual, literature and movement, aiming to give the client an individual learning experience that is sensual, creative and explorative.

Angie Amra Anderson BA (Hons) has contributed to the research and development of African and Caribbean arts since 1974.         She co-founded the pioneering award-winning Ekome National Dance Company, which took England and Europe by storm for over a decade. She is known to innumerable records of students as a very charismatic teacher and has presented countless performances in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Scandinavia. In October 2016, she received her first ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and the ‘Cultural Ambassador Of The Year Award’ from the Baoboa Foundation.

Angie will be offering drumming workshops o1.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday for beginners and intermediates. Participants will learn to listen to the messages and chants of the drum while learning rhythms and beats that speak to the power of our ancestors.

Jali Bakary

Jali Bakary Kontehis 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, because most internationally known Kora players have not learned Kora in the traditional way, surrounded by musicians on a family compound in Africa. He likes to add his own modern twists and improvisation to his arrangements, which gives his music a fresh but familiar feel. 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 2 workshops 2 x 1.5 hour drop in workshops on Saturday and Sunday, titled The Kora story and the stories of the Kora. He will perform with Griot Chinyere Theo Callista, Melika Queely and Angie Anderson each evening during the festival. 

Breathing Fire Playback Theatre is a unique form of interactive theatre enabling audiences to tell their stories. Playback Theatre is a safe way of exploring internal thought processes and using the arts to express and communicate. People from the audience are invited to share moments from their lives. They then see them being brought to life as the company immediately recreates the essence of their story using voice, movement, dance, music and song. They are a group of women of Afrikan / Caribbean descent who are committed to the empowerment of those who have historically been denied a voice. We are based in Bristol and are the UK's only Black Women's Playback Theatre company. We acknowledge that by sharing individual and collective stories, we tap in to the griot (Afrikan storytelling) which is grounded in our ancestral heritage.

They will run 2 x 1.5 hour drop in workshops on Saturday and Sunday titled: The healing story. Open to all festival attendees. Theey will also be part of the closing ceremony.

Shamanic Energy Balancing & Realignment ~ Naturopathic Guide & Percussionist.

It's a pleasure to be co-creating sacred space once again with Griot Chinyere at the Nne Agwu Afrakan Storytelling Festival 2018.  Holding innerchi, we will all journey together to create the opening and closing ceremony.  I request you bring an open heart and playful soul.  


My journey is a life of study, training & practice in cosmology and holistic well-being, the experience gained is applied in all areas of my service & work.  Ceremonies, Nature Events, Retreats, Workshops, Rituals & Talks. I co-create and facilitate organically with others where my objective always is to raise the vibration of our global village.   

I am available for personal Energy Balancing & Re-Alignment sessions and have products available. Appointments can be made during the festival.

Ken McCalla completed a Fine Arts B.A degree in 1984 at Central School of Art & Design. He 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. Ken has attended 3 Nne Agwu festivals as a participant and last year joined our artistic team. 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 Yahw will hold a central space where he will spend the weekend continuing carving the totem, began at last year’s festival, based on the Nne Agwu story created by Griot Chinyere. While working open to the public gaze as an inspiration to all festival attendees, he will also run 2 x 2 hour drop in curving workshop per day inspiring participants to explore further the Nne Agwu story. The story totem workshop is designed to be open to all festival attendees regardless of experience.


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