Storyteller & Performer
Griot Chinyere is an international storyteller and fire dancer, born in England, made in Igbo land. All her performances throughout Britain, Europe, Africa and the Middle East are laced with underlying principles. She appears in multiple venues including schools, universities, corporate organisations, prisons and theatres; outdoors and in. Her C.V is a small testament to her abilities and skills.
Griot Chinyere blends her skills as a movement stylist, percussionist, mimic and performer to share dynamic and lyrical stories from around the worldwide. With a wonderful sense of playfulness and reverence for all cultures, she combines Rhythm and drama into a myriad of diverse folktales, legends and stories for all. From children to elders, from students to professionals, from freedom fighters to parents she has them on the edge of their seat eating from the palm of her hand.
The world of story is the place Griot Chinyere comes alive. She has blessed a myriad of venues with her performances, from under mango trees in Igbo and Ghanaian villages, to large auditoriums, South of France, from the top of Pyreenes mountains to around a fire in the depth of a Turkish forest, from dans la rue to the grandeur of a mirror tent on Blackheath, at festivals such as Salat, Avignon, Edinburgh, The Olympics 2012 and more, celebrating the art of storytelling. From the Purcell Rooms at the South Bank Centre, The Polka Children’s Theatre Wimbledon, The Albany Theatre, Royal and Derngate Northampton, Pegasus Theatre Oxford. Womad world music festival, Glastonbury, Rich Mix Shoreditch, Audiences ranging from 1 to over 1000, From one off events to longer projects running into months. “whatever, wherever, whoever my audience, I wax lyrics with a skip in my beat and music in my heart”.
The majority of Griot Chinyere performances are between 45 and 60 minutes long. Staying fit and healthy is paramount to keeping the dynamics of the storytelling energy constant and focused during perfomances. Here are some of the storytelling events she have been involved in during the last couple of months.
Nne Agwu Afrakan Storytelling Festival 2015 (August)
It was a 3-day annual event taking place in Epping forest, which encourages inner-city urban families to reconnect; with the natural environment, their heritage through storytelling and their self-esteem. I worked as one of the team of storytellers and musicians, who created performances, told ancient and contemporary tales, designed and delivered workshops for the duration. My 1-hour solo repeat x 3 performances took place in marquees, amongst the trees and around the fire to an audience of 90. The audiences began from 2 years up to 70 years old. The majority of the audience members were family groups.
Black History Studies Maya Angelou film festival 2015 (September)
It was a 6-day event over 3 weekends. I was commissioned to perform, this time with a musician an original story for family groups in St Anne library Seven Sisters, Tottenham. My performance preceded the documentary film about Zora Neale Hurston, Jumping at the Sun. The audience size was over 100 which was capacity. The performance was 1 hour long, An important part of the storytelling was the call and response, chants, songs, clapping and acoustic rhythms I taught the audience during the unfolding of the story. These techniques keep an audience engaged, involved and invested. A storytelling workshop followed the performance.
Entelechy 21st Century T-Dance 2015 (September)
It is a quarterly event that focuses on engaging some of societies excluded and marginalized individuals. As the resident storyteller I was commissioned to be the master of ceremony and tell stories that would engage an audience of diverse ages and cultural ranges with a collection of challenges, including learning disabilities, long-term health issues, elders who have complex disabilities all with profound needs. I used call and response, Rhythms and songs. I encouraged audience members to join me on stage and support the journey of the story in their own way. If someone was really nervous and wanted to make a contribution, I engaged the audience in a relaxation exercise so the individual could make their contribution.
During this month I have been called upon to support schools, prisons, libraries, communities, women’s groups to celebrate the contribution the global African community has made to the world. I have been working in the various institutes 6 hours a day, 4 days a week for the last 3 weeks until the first week of November. In the schools I have been working with years 1 to 6, in the prisons I have been performing to both inmates and officers, both male and female. In the libraries I have been storytelling to family groups. In all cases using percussion rhythms, songs, chants, call and response and audience participation to carry the audience on the journey as the magic of the story unfolds.
Griot Chinyere’s initiation into storytelling began with her family, friends and ancestors of her Mother’s village - Okwuta, Umuhia, asking her to tell her tales of adventure during her first visit to Igbo land. The English language may not have been grasped by all the villagers present, but the story was innerstood by all. To those who are fortunate to have experienced her flavour of storytelling she is known for her charismatic style of telling, that includes music, gestures, and rhythm, laced with humor, depth, and tenderness. Stories guide her as she walks her path in life.
Read testimonies of Griot Chinyere's work from reputed arts organisations and individuals.