Storyteller J’miah Nabawi presents . . .

Oya-o! Oya-o! Eje ka lo-o-o. Iṣe mbe lati ṣe-e-e!” sang the children of  Ilé-Ifẹ̀

“It is time, let’s go. There is work to do!”


There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale™ is a presentation of various interactive, interdisciplinary storytelling programs reflective of the “story-dance-musical drama” of Africa and its Diaspora. Depending on the interests and cultural needs of the host inviting this presentation, There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale™ is inclusive of  stories and folktales from other parts of the world and may include phrases, songs and vocabulary in other languages, particularly in French, Spanish, Twi, Yorùbá and Japanese.

Anansesem, the telling of Kwaku Ananse stories, and its interactive mmoguo (recreational folktale songs) with other trickster tales and songs help set up the rhythmic aspects of the programs. (Mmoguo have been traditionally used with Anansesem as musical interludes and play to move the stories along during storytelling sessions and workshops to relieve boredom or monotony during long storytelling sessions and social gatherings.) 


WSAV Anchor and Noted Media Personality, Kim Gusby with J’miah Nabawi.

Click here to watch the interview

At live presentations, students, teachers and general public audiences are invited to join Mr. Nabawi to play the Gankogui (Double Bell/Gong), Axatse (gourd rattles), hand drums and various hand-held percussion instruments, and hand-clapping patterns as some may dance freely with creative movement while the mmoguo or song prompts the spontaneous creation of a “storytelling ensemble” from the audience with everyone joining in as a story is told, sung, danced to and drummed during the telling of the tale.

During the Covid 19 criss, live performances are presently on hold. However, this program is adaptable and since May of 2020, the program has been made available VIRTUALLY as part of the Virtually Available presentations mentioned on this website. With the adaptations, the program remains highly interactive as viewing audience members choose to participate through singing parts of a song, repetitive hand-clapping patterns, bringing their own tambourines, hand drums, shakers, etc. that one may have at home or at school. 

A Teacher’s and Students’ Guide (Presenting There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale: ANANSE on Tour) is made available to teachers and Program Coordinators and sent ahead before the start of the program once the artist residency, school visit or virtual program dates are in order and decided upon. The teachers and Mr. Nabawi can then make revisions to the guide to the benefit of the teacher(s) or program coordinator’s interests to achieve any desired academic or Department of Education goals and objectives that may satisfy select national and state curriculum standards. 

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“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 on Amazon in French, Spanish, German and Mandarin Chinese)

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Drum-Talk Drums™

Drum-Talk Drums™ is an experiential, group drumming activity that encourages a community spirit of friendship and cooperation. With rhythm and music-making at the core, the Drum-Talk Drums™ program aligns itself with scientific investigations that have shown that drumming enhances the immune system, relieves stress, engages self-expression and well-being.
Through the use of a variety of drums and hand-held, percussive instruments, participants get to share in a multicultural experience of music, language, literature, communal support and self-discovery. The group will also work towards presenting the ensemble of Drum-Talk Drums participants as rhythmic accompaniment to poetry and a traditional Akan (Ghana) drum poem written for drum and spoken word (speech) orchestras.

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 Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) urban campus settings in Savannah, GA to provide fun, up-beat social gatherings and as a positive stress release activity during mid-terms and finals. It was a big hit at one of SCAD’s “Midnight Breakfasts.”

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

Teacher and Artist will do the initial conferencing to discuss the needs of the classroom and teacher to better direct the supplemental information, activities and culminating experience during artist residencies.


Yet to come: Vocalese, Please!
Vocalese is the practice of writing and adding words to established instrumental jazz melodies, improvised melodies or improvised jazz solos. With some background history, leading vocalese singers and listening samples, participants will practice at writing lyrics for instrumental jazz tunes, riff lines and solos.
A fictional character, Skat Skadoodle, takes on the role of the MC/Show Host where time and planning may permit for a public or school-wide assembly and presentation of students’ work.

“Miles Davis walked off the stage. So WHAT!” ~ Eddie Jefferson







Gullah, Ghana, Geechee, Gumbo!™

(African words, no mumble jumble!)

An introduction to Gullah-Geechee history, food-ways, folktales and language.

An easy connect to Georgia Standards on history, social studies, literature, language and . . . food!

Introduced by the story, NahNah Binyah’s Talking Sweet Potatoes.

 Dem chillun binnuh nyam all we sweet tatuh pie and gumbo!  



WOOD Makes Music!™

Arts Integration to make Standards connections to Math Sciences and Biology.

Learn more about WOOD Makes Music! clicking on this hyperlink.


Storybooks Alive at Savannah State University



(Zora Neale Hurston)

“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


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