Ananse Sound Splash launched in MoBay
Adrian Frater, Gleaner Writer
"There was a time when ... ," are the first five words one often hears when one sits to listen to a traditional Jamaican story. The words often bring back wonderful childhood memories.
Amina Blackwood Meeks, the brainchild behind Ntukuma, the storytelling foundation of Jamaica, is collaborating with the community colleges in Jamaica to, once again, mount Ananse Sound Splash Storytelling Festival and Conference, which will unfold between November 19 and 24.
The festival, officially launched on October 26 at the Montego Bay Community College, will host the eighth leg on November 22, with a conference focusing on revitalising traditional stories. It will feature a series of speakers presenting papers in the morning, starting at 11 a.m.
The morning session will be followed by a storytelling concert in the evening, featuring several Montego Bay-based celebrities to include TVJ quiz master Marlene Stephenson Dalley.
The Montego Bay Community College performing arts club and choir are also slated to perform, alongside other members of the community.
This year, Ananse Sound Splash will take the form of a roadshow with eight legs, each leg representing one leg of Ananse. Each leg will be hosted by a community college.
The festival, which will be seeking to engage the community of storytellers everywhere, will feature Exed, Portmore, Moneague, Mico, St Josephs, Shortwood, and Sam Sharpe teachers colleges. Contributions will also come from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
In addition to local storytellers, there will be international storytellers such as Barry and Jerry Marshall, Diane Ferrate and Denise Valentine from the USA; Jan Blake and Mary Nelson from the UK; Into Springer from Trinidad; Edgar Salgado from Costa Rica and MshaiMwangola and NomsaMdlalose from Africa.
The festival will begin on November 19 with an opening ceremony at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre and culminates on November 24 at Church Teachers' College, in Mandeville.
The launch at the Montego Bay Community College, which happened on the birthday of comedian Ranny Williams, was done as a special gesture to honour him.
Williams was instrumental in starting the tradition of storytelling in theatre alongside fellow legend, Louise Bennett.
Amina Blackwood Meeks opened the launch by recounting the contribution of Williams and Bennett and other stalwarts to include national hero Marcus Garvey and Rex Nettleford, who also helped greatly in the preservation of Jamaica's traditional folklore by telling the Jamaican story through the arts.