Funda Fest – Celebration of Black Storytelling

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Performers: schedule

Leeny Del Seamonds is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed storyteller of Hispanic/ Latino and world stories. Her performances are populated with a large cast of colorful characters, and include mime and an innate human empathy.  As a dedicated teaching artist, Leeny encourages audiences to rejoice in their own diversity and share in her unique Cuban-American sense of humor and passion for performing.

Teju Ologboni, a FUNDA Fest favorite, is a master storyteller and folklorist of international renown. Teju draws his listeners into stories with gestures, movements and the occasional African instrument. An author, teacher, poet, dancer and fabulist, Teju shares stories that reflect on longstanding and contemporary cultural perspectives to give listeners a greater understanding of the profound influence of African heritage on our own traditions and identities.

Oba William King has been captivating audiences’ attention with his professional theatrical training and distinct poetic style. His school and library-based Family Reading Night programs garner rave reviews nationally. He is a US military veteran, the founder of JUSTUS Arts Educational Entertainment, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award recipient and an Illinois Humanities Council “Road” Scholar and Hidden Jewel of the Neighborhood.

Len Cabral is a nationally acclaimed storyteller from Rhode Island and an author who has been enchanting audiences since 1976. His strong Cape Verdean ancestry comes alive in his exuberant retelling of Cape Verdean,  African and Caribbean tales.

Ramona Bass Kolobe, the Watermelon Lady, is a story wheeler. Miss Ramona brings her traditions of storytelling from her Jamaican and Native American ancestry together with her formal education to create works that “open up the treasury of healing and understanding.” Watermelon is a fruit of peace, friendship and sharing good times all around the world.

Raffini, a self-made artist, actress and teacher from the South Side of Providence, has long been committed to the community, teaching black history and theater, telling stories and nurturing the spiritual and creative abilities of youth.

Valerie Tutson, a local voice, has traveled in Africa, Europe and North America to gather and share stories. Her repertoire includes myths, folktales and historical and personal stories with an emphasis on African traditions.

Rochel Garner Coleman, an actor, singer and storyteller, has been performing since he was 9 years old. He travels nationally and internationally, sharing stories of black history legends such as Nat Love and Cool Papa Bell in shows developed using the research-to performance method.

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