Storyteller J’miah Nabawi presents . . .

“Oya-o! Oya-o! Eje kalo-o-o. Iṣe mbe la ti ṣe-e-e!” sang the children of  Ilé-Ifẹ̀.

“. . . the drumming is sweet and the music is good!”


THERE’S RHYTHM IN THE TELLING™ are various interactive, interdisciplinary storytelling  presentations (many not named here) reflective of the “story-dance-musical drama” of Africa and its Diaspora, particularly of Anansesem, the telling of Kwaku Ananse (Anansi/Ananse the spider-man) stories and their supporting recreational folktale songs known as Mmoguo. Mmoguo have been traditionally used as musical interludes and interactive play to move the stories along during Anansesem and to relieve boredom and monotony during long storytelling sessions and  at social gatherings.

Gankogui (Double Bell/Gong), Axatse (gourd rattles), hand drums and various hand-held percussion instruments, whistles, hand-clapping patterns with dance and creative movement are joined with song, the Mmoguo that prompts the spontaneous creation of a “storytelling ensemble” from the audience with everyone joining in as the stories are told, sung, danced to and drummed during the telling of the tale.

Gullah Ghana Geechee Gumbo musical instruments_They passed the hambone.jpg 2 close up

“Storytelling and its accompanying songs represent a family tree—with roots, stems, branches and leaves.  Ananse stories without their corresponding mmoguo are like a dead tree.”  ~ Dr. Kwasi  Aduonum, renowned Ghanaian Ethnomusicologist


“Mmoguo is that rhythmic, musical element during storytelling that moves both the teller and the audience into a communal happening of musical dramatic arts with a collective, creative expression  of hand-clapping, song and dance.” ~ J’miah Nabawi 

(See the “Cultural Enrichment” section in “Why Spiders Hide in Corners” by J’miah Nabawi. Now available in French, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese)

THERE’S RHYTHM IN THE TELLING™ connects with DRUM-TALK DRUMS!™  and has been adapted for musical therapeutic arts programs for local Mental Health agencies and Mental Health symposiums and conferences. Read one of several studies and reports about the health benefits of drumming on the brain. Drumming for Health_A Report


DRUM-TALK DRUMS!™ was conceived by J’miah Nabawi and developed and presented with Dr. Taffey Cunnien (LPC, NCC, CPCS) at Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) under the auspices of Counseling and Student Support Services (CS3) in 2008.

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 Drum-Talk Drums!™ has presented drum-circle gatherings at various times and locations throughout SCAD’s urban campus in Savannah, GA to provide fun, up-beat social gatherings and as positive stress release activity during mid-terms and finals. It was a big hit at one of SCAD’s “Midnight Breakfast.”

Consider Drum-Talk Drums!™ for cultural enrichment programs, family reunion activities and corporate gatherings and meetings that may focus on team-building and play.

(Program Listings may be discussed and sent upon request after initial contact)



 Close Up Gullah Geechee StryNet


(Craft-making, Language and Storytelling)

 Dem chillun binnuh nyam all we gumbo!  


For more information and program considerations, email direct inquiries to:


“J’miah’s understanding of all things Zora and his infectious storytelling style are a treat for listeners and readers of all ages. J’miah reworks Zora’s philosphy and presents her thoughts in a new light that captivates those already familiar with the writings of Zora Neale Hurston. For those kids who have not yet discovered Zora Neale Hurston, J’miah ushers them into a fabulous world filled with rhythm and contagious laughter with a healthy dose of love and wisdom. Zora Neale Hurston and J’miah Nabawi are great for your mind and soul!”

— Julie Bascom, Youth Services Director, Hilton Head Branch Public Library, Hilton Head Island, SC

Storyteller J'miah