Monday, March 18, 2019

Stor e Telling Summer 2018: Storytelling Traditions Around the World

The Moroccan Storyteller
by Alfred Dehodencq, 1877

Summer is just around the corner so it is time to share my Stor e Telling column in Storytelling Magazine from summer of 2018.  The magazine is a membership benefit of the National Storytelling Network.  If you are interested in getting fabulous articles from around the world, featuring renowned storytellers and educators, along with my most recent column, join us at  I will not be sharing anything from any 2019 publications until 2020 rolls around.

Many of us are familiar with The Moth and StoryCorp but what about some of the other ancient forms of storytelling? Below are a few of the fascinating and different traditions from around the world to complement this issue's theme.

Chinese Shadow Puppetry – In the world of shadow puppetry there are various styles of performance, Luanxian, a rare branch of performers who work from a written script, Traditional performance, and the classic Shaanxi. This site is full of information, history, aesthetic, performance clips, and more.

Al Zajal: Intangible Cultural Heritage – This ancient art can be traced back to the 12th century.  “Al-Zajal is a form of Lebanese folk poetry sung at social and family celebrations and in daily life… The poets declaim verses, often in the form of challenges, which are then repeated by the singers and audience.”

Cunto: Sicily’s Storytelling Tradition - Cuntu is the art of spoken word street storytelling. “For locals its true cultural meaning, however, goes much deeper, conjuring up thoughts of fables, fairy tales and fantastic anecdotes of chivalrous adventure.”

Hula: Dance That Tells a Story -In ancient Hawaii hula played an important role in keeping history, genealogy, mythology, and culture alive.  With each movement a story unfolds. and learn more about the History of the Hula here

Kamishibai - Kamishibai (kah-mee-shee-bye) is a form of Japanese street storytelling dating back to the 1920’s. “Most Kamishibai stories consist of 12 or 16 large, sturdy, beautifully illustrated cards. On the back is the English translation of the text, with the original Japanese beside it.”
Something Old and Something New: Rakugo and Japanese Culture – Rakugo, literally ‘fallen words’ traces its origins to Buddhist sermons. “The story is made up of three parts: the makura, or prelude; the hondai, or main story; and the ochithe closing/punch line.”
You can listen to 
Master Storyteller Motoko sharing a story in Rakugo style here:

We move now from the ancient to the modern.

TED Talks
 – "In these Ted Talks masters of storytelling share their creative secrets and explore new approaches to their age-old craft.

ugust 22 is Be An Angel Day so get ready to fly with these new tales.

The Angel – Hans Christian Andersen

Angel Dance - Indonesia

The Best Wish – The Stories of Three Brothers and an Angel – Slavic

Dream Bread – Here are seven variants of the same story from around the world.

Mary’s Child - Grimm

The Wonderful Hair – The Story of a Poor Man Who Dreamed of an Angel - Slavic

Below are links to all of the Stor e Telling columns from 2007- to spring of 2018, each with a short synopsis to help you efficiently find what you are seeking. 


Stor e Telling Spring 2018: Storytelling World
In this blog post you will find seven public domain books filled with folktales from Holland, South Africa, Scotland, the Magyars and more. There are also additional stories to help celebrate the national holiday, A Drop of Water Is A Grain of Gold, celebrated in Turkmenistan on April 1. For some extra fun there are tales to get your toes tapping for Dance Like a National Chicken Day on May 14.

1001 Nights to 2001 Story Resources V: Stor e Telling 2017

1001 Nights to 2001 Story Resources IV: Stor e Telling 2016

From 1001 Nights to 2001 Story Resources III: Stor e Telling 2015

From 1001 Nights to 2001 Story Resources II: Stor e Telling 2014

From 1001 Nights to 2001 Story Resources: Stor e Telling 2013

Stor e Telling Columns: 2007 to 2012 with Synopses

Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and web lnks may change or break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links.  At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.

Karen Chace 2019 ©
This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.

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