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Telling An Epic – Again

November 5, 2016



Yup – we’re doing it again.

As fifteen storytellers and musicians gathered together after a very successful telling of the entire Irish epic, “Wonder Smith and His Son” in Seattle last March, we made a unanimous decision: we wanted to do it again. The experience of telling a long ancient piece was totally unlike any other kind of storytelling most of us knew. We had no idea whether there would an audience for this  – but people came – and they loved it! So did we.

I watched … as tellers I had known for years reached new levels of power and skill in this performance.  Because we were far flung geographically, we had ZERO chance to rehearse together before the performance. All of us neophytes were extremely worried about this. But the veterans kept reassuring us…’don’t worry’, they said, ‘it’ll be fine’.  And they were right. As we spoke, somehow… the whole piece began to flow together; became a tightly knit unit right before our eyes.  How did this happen? Never mind – it did! And we were hooked.  So, the only question was – what will we do next?

As the months passed, I became aware of other groups that perform an annual epic: in Canada and California. I began reading epics again – for the first time since college. What a rich source they are! I realized that bringing this neglected and forgotten genre of literature alive again is an exciting and worthwhile thing. Then we got the word.

SO – in March of 2017, we will gather again in Seattle to perform “The Kalevala”, a Finnish epic. The performance will be presented at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, the only museum in the US which represents the heritage of all Scandinavian immigrants: Swedish-Americans, Norwegian-Americans, Finns, and Icelandic-Americans. The performance will be presented as part of the Finnish centennial year celebration – with a special Finnish exhibit planned. Kippis!

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