It has been such a busy time recently working, performing and travelling. I have done some great shows and met some good people but it is time to have a pause and try and work on a couple of new stories before the mayhem starts again! Choosing stories is always difficult as you love some stories but they don’t quite fit or you are not telling them in the right way. I am working on a Japanese Fairy Story called “The boy who drew Cats”. This should just be a simple story but somehow I wasn’t sure it was ready, this is one I will be working on this week. I am also looking at a Vampire story from the Lake District, all Romantic Poets Era on a very hot still summer evening. Dark monster and beautiful young woman! However, if I just write there will be no new stories……..so I am off to shut myself in a corner and work on a story.
We, Rokurokubi and I, had a great nigh in Monken Hadley, with a lovely warm audience. The focus for the night was ‘Walking in the Footsteps’ and there were tales of the Medieval knight Geoffrey de Mandeville, a tale of an Ancient Greek Hunt, the Ebony Horse from 1001 Nights and a Grimm’s Tale of the first Moon. All these linked to Monken Hadley. Geoffrey de Mandeville owned the land in 1141 and it was part of the Enfield Chase where Dukes and Royalty Hunted for many centuries. Lotte Reiniger was a German animator who created the oldest full length animated film, Prince Achmed, and lived for many years in New Barnet. In honour of this I told the story of The Ebony Horse one of the tales used in the film. And finally there was a tale about a Moon or Lamp caught in a tree which just reminded me of walking past the church at night seeing the lamp in the church yard looking like something from the lamp from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I was delighted to be joined by Rokurokubi, with their amazing haunting sound and lyrics which really suited the evening. The music fitted wonderfully between the stories creating a magical space in this old building on the edge of a wood at the far reaches of North London. You can see their new video by Rokurokubi at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e70wcCyJVk8
Storyteller Sarah Lloyd-Winder, and Rokurokubi join together to tell dark stories and play charmingly dark, confessional music for night flowers. These are darkly sinewy tales for adults that reflect our dreams and nightmares and especially all those creatures that may creep in when we close our eyes. This is not reading it is the ancient tradition of storytelling mixing the real, this moment, with the old stories, myths and legends. Sounds and music support the storytelling as you run wild with Atalanta, fly with the Hagrider in Iceland and conquer the Sea Beast Mester Stoorworm or visit the folk stories and myth of Japan. Travel to London’s Great Dark North, High Barnet, for Music and Storytelling in the Magic of Church House, Monken Hadley on the edge of the Ancient Woodland that is Hadley Woods, Friday 28th September at 8.30pm, there will be brilliant music from Rokurobubi who are not to be missed!
I have been so busy for the last few months that writing about all the things I see and do is difficult. The above picture is a picture of an art work by a young person in Brunei where I visited a school and saw some amazing work. Then back home again it is time for Brighton Fringe and a new show for children. In between there has been some new work on stories of Japanese gods, the research has been great fun for that, plus some Scottish Folk Tales based on a book from my mothers childhood. I have also been to Uganda recently and this is a first time to this beautiful country where everyone was so helpful and supportive. Then I come back home and walk through the fields near my home learning new stories and shouting at myself when I time the story and they are far too long! I am still working on the new version of ‘Into the Woods’ and that will be touring in the Autumn with music from the wonderful Rokurokubi and those dates will be confirmed soon. Now off I go again to walk through the field telling tales…..to myself.
Just before the winter ends the Medieval family would cook all the fat, cream, cheese and other wonderful food, in a final binge before the season of fasting for Lent. This last day of feast is called Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. This is a feast day a celebration and also a time of misrule and bad behaviour, before the grim 40 days of Lent. It was also that period of the winter when fresh fruit and vegetables were the most difficult to find, the chickens were not laying and there was no milk from the cow. We are all waiting for Spring, hanging in there with hope and loving each new spark of life. So we eat the Pancake and tell the stories in the darkest time of Winter.
November has been such a busy month and there has been no time to stop and review what I have been doing and the stories I have been telling. I have another 2 weeks before I can start to wind down and prepare for Christmas, and that means there are another 2 new stories to be worked on and refined. There have been lots of school visits and these are always great. You can never guess what questions you will be asked and how a story you tell will bring forward ideas, thoughts and discussions you have never thought about. I am also doing lots of planning for next year. I am planning something for National Storytelling week in a new venue, not used for storytelling, as I thought it would be good to take storytelling to new places. I also hope to travel further away with my storytelling with a journey north in February. I must also not forget all the wonderful stories I have seen by other people. Storytelling is a joy, both as a giver or receiver, and there are great stories and storytellers out there.
Apple Day or days to celebrate the apple are also great days to remember stories about apples. It has been great to tell old stories and learn some new apple stories this year. Stories are as varied as the apples themselves. There are gentle sweet stories like a lovely Cox’s Orange Pippin or they can be quite tart or sour like a large cooking apple. Apple stories also come from all around the world as we exchange apple stories from places you might not expect. An Ethiopian story about an apple orchard was the most unexpected. This was about a farmer who looked at the best apple in his orchard and decided it was an apple fit for a king. Now the stories will be all wrapped up and stored in a cool dry place until next year.
Sarah and the Blue Man invite you to an evening of stortelling and music, live from the Blue Man Cafe celebrating the traditional night of the mangelwurzel latern.
On Punkie night in the village of Hinton St George in Somerset the men of the village would return from the county fair to be greeted by women and childeren carrying manglewurzel lanterns to guide them back home.
Sarah Lloyd-Winder is a contemporary storyteller, part of a long line of storytellers, keeping the ancient tradition alive.
Rokurokubi are a dreamscape rock and roll band. Gathering influence from the corners of a chest made of rabbit bones, playing songs to bring the weary home.
Plus guests, TBA.