Performer: Charlotte Blake Alston
A family program of stories and songs with the master storyteller, Charlotte Blake Alston. Charlotte selects from her wide repertoire of stories and songs that feature animals from the African and African American oral traditions such as “Anansi,” “Starfish,” “How Raccoon Got His Dinner,” “Billy Goats’ Gruff,” and “Little Red Hen.”
Discover the history and beauty of the oral tradition and how people gathered and told stories throughout the African continent for hundreds of years. Stories, often featuring animal characters, were the way the beliefs, mythology, cultural identity, history, and shared community values of a people were taught and preserved. The tradition may be the strongest in the West African countries of Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, and Mali where history was preserved and is still passed down orally through the words and music of the griots or jalis, (a storyteller, poet, and/or musician, who delivers oral history through song). The tradition continued when Africans were brought to America.
Charlotte is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, librettist, and singer who has performed in venues throughout North America and abroad including the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Festival, and the National Festival of Black Storytelling. She is the host of Sound All Around, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Preschool concert series, and has appeared as host or narrator on the orchestra’s school and family concerts since 1991. In 2021, Charlotte received the appointment of The Philadelphia Orchestra's Official Storyteller, Narrator, and Host.