Featured Artists 2017
The Nne Agwu storytelling festival aim to nourish the creative well being of the African and African Caribbean of the diaspora and beyond with first class global storytellers. They are gathering this summer to captivate your imagination and conjure magic using the power of the oral tradition. Embrace this blessing!
Best African Storytellers and Leadership Facilitators in the UK
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. 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 is presently working with the Leadership Trust training Higher Education heads of departments in over 50 universities throughout the UK applying the techniques of the oral traditions of the storytelling art form.
Baba Adesose Wallace is a Master Drummer, Percussionist, Visual Artist and Singer, born in Ilorin, Nigeria. He has toured extensively with his 9 piece Afrobeat and Hi-life band ‘Ibile’, performing at music festivals such WOMAD, Glastonbury, Drum Call and Tribe of Doris. He has also performed alongside legendary artists such as Manneh Fuster, Gaspar Lawal, Miatta Fanbulleh and Hugh Masekela.
Also of Sierra Leonian and Ghanaian heritage, Baba is truly an ambassador for West African culture and he reaches many communities through traditional songs and rhythms. Based in London for the past 3 decades, Baba has shared his skills with many institutions, teaching in schools and supporting many community initiatives. You can find him at residencies around London with Afrospot Allstars and Afrikan Revolution collective.
Amantha has developed a passion for storytelling! Working as a storyteller for pre -schools, schools, community groups, events, and festivals. She specialises in African and Caribbean stories and story telling techniques. Her storytelling style is about engaging the audience in the telling and creating of the tales and shaping the outcome together. I have also performed in theatre in education tours, children's theatre and children's television.
Eli uses the ancient craft of storytelling 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. These places include formal (school, colleges, etc) and informal educational spaces (community and healthcare centres, hospitals, etc), where he runs exciting and dynamic performances and workshops.
Melika has been playing the violin since the tender age of 4!! After finishing a degree in Music at Wolverhampton University in 2009 she has begun to embark on her career as a violinist and also a teacher of music.
Playing music of different genres from Classical to Reggae, Gospel and Rock. Melika has toured Paris, Holland, and Switzerland with orchestras and has performed at various events over the UK as part of a string quartet and as a solo violinist.
Making music is her passion, and combined with her appreciation of fashion and art, Melika delivers powerful performances which are unique, stylish and full of creativity!
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.
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.
Beyonder is a regular contributor to the poetry/spoken word scene in the UK and internationally. In June 04, he traveled to Australia to contribute to a literature project (SaltWater, Fresh Water) with the Aboriginal community and in November 04 he was invited to Poland via the British Council to introduce them to the ‘dynamix’ of Beyonder through his new creative programmes – DIGITOLOGY 1 & DIGITOLOGY 2. Beyonder uses spoken word to convey African stories with a narrative and characters we can identify with.
Recognised, as one of London’s most dynamic Spoken Word artistes, Beyonder is a multiple-s lam winner. His titles include the prestigious Urban Griots Poetry UK Slam Championship (in 2 000 & 2001), the Lyrical Court All-Stars Grand Slam (2003) and the Born to Shine Poetry Slam.
Jane Ulysses Grell is a storyteller, writer, teacher, poet and singer. She was born and grew up on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Her poetry and storytelling are imbued with the love of the music of words in the spirit of the vibrant African-Caribbean Oral Tradition.
Jane has worked extensively with children, young people and adults in most London boroughs and beyond. She has presented stories and poetry for BBC Radio Schools’ Programmes.
Her poetry collections – Praise Songs and White River Blues conjure up a vivid landscape which embraces both the traditional and the modern and explore journeys, memories and loss through poems both tender and exuberant. “Jane, it would seem that some of Ananse’s stories went to you. You tell them so well. - Sarah Woodham (Leytonstone Festival 2013)
Zozo Shuaibu is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, writer, storyteller and music producer, born in Sierra Leone of Nigerian parents.
He has worked extensively with bands, theatre and dance companies in Africa and the UK, and is much in demand for his experience and expertise in ,music production, storytelling and drumming workshops in schools. Zozo is an expert storyteller drawing on his West African Heritage and his own creativity. His stories are very popular in schools and some of them can be found on the tune-in.org website. He also composed and performed music for Expressive Software Projects Ltd and has been a key practitioner in projects organised by the Creative Partnerships in London and Cumbria.
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.
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.
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.