J’MIAH NABAWI PRESENTS HEALTH & PHYSICAL EDUCATION
THROUGH THE ART OF STORYTELLING WITH HIS
Contact Email: TallTales@jmiahnabawi.com
Under the auspices of a National Endowment for the Arts grant through Georgia Council for the Arts, J’miah Nabawi presents the book, “The Days When the Animals Talked: Black Folktales and How They Came to Be” by Revered Dr. William J. Faulkner. Directed by Choir Director Constance Andrews, it features an original musical score written by J’miah Nabawi (Were You There When the Animals Used to Talk?). Collaborating with Constance Andrews, Mr. Nabawi arranged the story performance into an ensemble piece for his public presentation with the Armstrong Atlantic State University Student Choir (Savannah, GA) in 2007.
“The story that I included in my TED Talk was adapted from Bruh Tiger and The Big Wind by Reverend Dr. William J. Faulkner. The animated voice used for Brer (Bruh) Rabbit is done in the manner in which Reverend Faulkner had first heard it as a ten year old boy who first heard the story from a formerly enslaved African descendent named Simon Brown. Mr. Simon Brown had been a hired hand of the Faulkners in Society Hill, SC. I first encountered the story that was a favorite of his family and had been published in his book, The Days When the Animals Talked: Black Folktales and How They Came to Be. Presented by a librarian, we soon learned that the book itself had been out of print. It was through Linda Goss, the Official Storyteller of Philadelphia, that I got connected with Reverend Faulkner’s family, particularly his daughter, Marie Faulkner Brown (Mom Marie) in Miami, FL.
At that time, I was hired by the family to archive Reverend Faulkner’s works and moved to Miami to live with the family while I worked on archiving the various works and files of Reverend Faulkner. Upon my suggestion, Mom Marie called some of her friends and family together for a meeting; soon after, we had found the William J. Faulkner Friends of Folklore, Inc. in honor of Reverend Faulkner and Simon Brown and to preserve and perpetuate various historical documents related to African American oral traditions and history. In the process, we eventually brought back to life and into the mainstream of publications, The Days When the Animals Talked: Black Folktales and How They Came to Be. We (William J. Faulkner Friends of Folklore, Inc) also managed to get an historical marker placed. Yes, for that, I am very pleased and proud of that.” ~ Storyteller J’miah Nabawi
Savannah Storyteller Wins National Award
J’miah Nabawi has been a professional storyteller for the last 20 years. He’s on top of the world as he takes children on adventures through storytelling.
This summer, he has racked up some well-deserved awards for his outstanding work with children, including the National Storytelling Network’s Oracle Award for leadership and service. He also won a National Endowment for the Arts-sponsored Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts. The organization gives the award to master artists.
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“JULIO’S BRIDGE TO THE LAND OF MAKEBELIEVE”
(A BRIDGE TO PARENT ENGAGEMENT)
MAY 19, 2017
“There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale”
The Feb. 27 event was an interactive storytelling session performed by Nabawi, Neri Torres, founder of the Ile-Ife Afro-Cuban Dance Troup, and her colorful group of characters. Nabawi, a professional storyteller, was playing the character of “Cotorra Cubana,” the Cuban Parrot whose job it was to inform them about the “Guije,” a Cuban mythical character that likes to hang out around water.
Dressed in an array of kid-friendly primary colors, J’Miah Nabawi engaged an audience of about 40 people – nearly half of them children – with a soothing voice and animated facial expressions.
The audience spent a recent Saturday morning listening to these and other stories at the Miami-Dade main library in downtown Miami.
The Feb. 27 event was an interactive storytelling session performed by Nabawi, Neri Torres, founder of the Ile-Ife Afro-Cuban Dance Troup, and her colorful group of characters.
Nabawi, a professional storyteller, was playing the character of “Cotorra Cubana,” the Cuban Parrot whose job it was to inform them about the “Guije,” a Cuban mythical character that likes to hang out around water. Actor Lunkner Bruno Jr. portrayed the mythical character – referred to by some as a “monster of medium size” – so realistically that two small children cried when he came too close.
In addition to cautioning children to stay away from the water, the story also informed the audience about the tropical area of Cuba, its land mass and some of the animals that inhabit the island.
In a colorful, multi-sensory show, complete with congas and an audience-involved conga-line, Torres and Nabawi entertained the group with lively, often over-the-top movements and sounds.
Nabawi, a youthful 60-year old, said his fondness for the storytelling craft dates back to his childhood experiences, when he listened to the jokes and harmless word play of beloved aunts and uncles.
Influenced by fictional characters such as Br’er Rabbit and real-life storytellers such as Bill Cosby, Nabawi told the South Florida Times that a meeting with best-selling author Linda Goss was pivotal to his now-full-time profession. The job takes him to schools, businesses and community organizations across the nation.
Nabawi, who also speaks Spanish, said his work is mostly based upon the African-inspired Anansesem, a combination of story, dance and drama that is still very much alive throughout the African Diaspora.
The award-winning storyteller is a member of the Southern Arts Federation Artistry Registry. He is a 2007 recipient of the Georgia Council for the Arts Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant, which is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
He teams up frequently with Torres, whose Afro-Cuban heritage plays a significant role in her performances. When she’s not entertaining children and their parents, Torres is an award-winning choreographer who has worked with Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia, and has crafted dance moves for such high-profile events as the Latin Grammys, the 1999 Super Bowl and the Latin Billboad Awards.
No stranger to Miami, Nabawi, of Savannah, Ga., has received a proclamation from the city of Miami, and will be returning to share his talents with local schools and community organizations.
“My trip down [to Miami] was also preparation for Neri and I to continue collaborations as teaching artists partners,’’ said Nabawi, founder and artistic director of the Global Arts Education Network. “That will map out a plan for us to bring arts integration programming that will also assist teachers in connecting academic content and state standards in fun, meaningful ways.”
Photo by Khary Bruyning. J’Miah Nabawi
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Contact Email: TallTales@jmiahnabawi.com
Traduit de l’anglais par Sandy Lochu et illustré par Tasica Singleton pour les lecteurs d’Anansi, l’homme araignée, voici une autre histoire avec danse, musique, et action par le célèbre conteur, J’miah Nabawi
«Ce frère est une force. Il n’est pas là juste pour raconter une histoire, il la chante, il la danse et dresse un portrait qui ramène le passé au présent, éclairant le chemin de notre avenir. « C’est la faute d’Anansi » est comme sa narration, très sensée et divertissante !» ~ L’auteur de Best-seller, Bertice Berry PhD
«Je tiens à remercier mes chères amies, Sandy Lochu et sa mère, Marie-françoise Martin (Éducation nationale, Montmorency
Ile-De-France, France), et Amina Lamarre, fondatrice de The Original People Brand ( République du Cameroun, Paris et Hong Kong), pour leur soutien et leurs conseils pour mes éditions franco-anglaises de mes livres et leur distribution dans vos écoles et entreprises.» ~ J’miah Nabawi
“The students at Jasper Elementary love J’miah. The teachers at our school find him to be a full partner in curricular planning and implementation of lessons and units. J’miah can tell stories, write and direct plays that are performed school-wide, teach small groups and make children laugh and smile. If he had a cape, he could fly . . . at least the children think so.” — Dr. Kathleen Thompson, Retired Arts Educator/Director of Cultural Projects (Georgia Council for the Arts, Atlanta, GA)
“J’miah’s work passes on tradition, teaches language and helps develop a love for storytelling. His Why Spiders Hide in Corners (Anansi Makes It So!) is a lively appealing book and consistent with who he really is.” ~ Judy Strong, Retired Youth Services Coordinator, Live Oak Public Libraries, Savannah, GA
In 2005, J’miah Nabawi collaborated with Live Oak Public Libraries’ Savannah Children’s Books Festival organizers and directors and conceived “International Tent” for the festival goers. For the past decade, as the International Tent Host and Performer, J’miah has also planned and managed the schedule of activities and often invites schools, performing and visual artists, writers, Zumba presenters and local organizations and corporate sponsors to participate. ~ Books for Growing Minds
J’miah Nabawi joins the national Geek the Library campaign with “I Geek Marimbas.”
Geek the Library, a community awareness campaign designed to highlight the vital role of public libraries and raise awareness about the critical funding issues many libraries face, was developed based on the research findings included in From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America.
Contact Email: TallTales@jmiahnabawi.com
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Between computers, video games, and all of those high-tech gadgets for kids, you might think storytelling wouldn’t be quite as popular as it once was. But we found out that’s not exactly the case. In fact, it’s getting more popular.
For nearly 20 years, Dr. J’miah Nabawi has been bringing stories to life all over the country. Three years ago, he and his wife moved to Savannah. They quickly hit the road running.
Nabawi is on top of the world when he’s telling stories. “When I see children in a room like that I get turned on, I become this other person,” he said. “I’m ready to tell them stories and interact with them and let them know they are special and let the adults know it’s okay as an adult they can act silly too.”
Nabawi takes families on an unforgettable journey around the world, sharing the many unique cultures and languages. Librarian Judy Strong told us, “It passes on tradition, teaches languages and helps develop the history.”
“I want them to take away the idea of being self-sustained in their own creativity rather than having creativity imposed on them,” said Nabawi.
This has become a family affair. Nabawi’s wife Dana works along with him. She signs the stories he tells the children, opening up the experience to the deaf and hearing impaired. “It’s so exciting to see children who are deaf laughing as hard as the hearing children,” she said.
“It’s an extended visual component to what I do,” said Nabawi. “I have all of the sound, body movements and facial expressions, while Dana is signing it adds another visual effect.”
For his unique way of capturing the imagination of children, showing them learning is fun, Dr. J’miah Nabawi is part of WTOC’s Community Spirit.
Dr. Nabawi also wants to take his stories on the road by going to different communities telling stories and giving away books.
Questions or comments concerning WTOC Community Spirit should be directed to Dawn Baker, email@example.com.
ANANSESEM kyiri kasa!
STOYTELLING does not like idle talk!
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Contact Email: TallTales@jmiahnabawi.com
El Dorado was a Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Graduate Students’ film project that featured J’miah Nabawi.
“I believe in the complexity of the human story, and that there’s no way you can tell that story in one way and say, ‘This is it.’ Always, there will be someone who can tell it differently depending on where they are standing. This is the way I think the world’s stories should be told, from many different perspectives.” ~ Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe, born Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe, was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart, often considered his best, is the most widely read book in modern African literature.
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