April 4, 2002
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Storytellers from across the country will spin their tales at the 10th annual Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, a day-long event on Saturday, April 27, in the Keefe Campus Center Frontroom at Amherst College. Performances are scheduled for 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

This year’s nationally known storytellers are Onawumi Jean Moss, Diane Ferlatte, Catherine Conant, Tim Tingle, Eshu Bumpus and Motoko.

Onawumi Jean Moss, founder and director of the Keepers of the Word Storytelling Festival, is associate dean of students at Amherst College. With original stories, fairy tales, cautionary tales, folk tales and personal narratives she encourages appreciation of cultural differences, pride of heritage, recognition of kinship, reflection and inquiry. Her soulful narration, a capella singing, dramatic facial expressions and animated movements bring to life the worlds of adventurous girls and women, charming creatures, scheming tricksters and wicked demons.

Diane Ferlatte of Oakland, Calif., draws listeners into the oral tradition with stories from traditional Southern and African American folk history, culture and values. Her resonant voice, dramatic gestures, intense emotions, vibrant singing, instrumental music and use of sign language have earned her many awards, including Parents Choice (Gold and Silver), American Library Association Booklist Editor's Choice and National Parenting Publications Gold Award.

Catherine Conant, from Chester, Conn., is an author, recording artist, consultant and founder and director of the Doggone Storytelling Festival. She performs, coaches and teaches the oral tradition for modern expression. In her interactive workshops, she helps non-profit organizations build stronger communities and develop resources.

Tim Tingle of Canyon Lake, Texas, named Contemporary Storyteller of the Year by the Woodcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, performing “echo and response” animal stories, spine-tingling and humorous Choctaw narratives, trickster tales as well as ghost stories of Texas. He often adds music to his stories, playing on the “bones,” harmonica, flute and drum.

Eshu Bumpus and Motoko of Amherst, Mass., are authors, recording artists and educators who personify the multicultural renaissance in storytelling. Their dynamic, harmonious performances draw on their African, African American and Japanese heritage. “Though diverse in style and culture, they present seamless performances. Absolutely charming, they bring humor, a sense of drama and a talent for singing,” according to Peg O Sullivan, a cofounder of the Connecticut Storytelling Festival.

There will be three ensemble performances at the festival: “Stories for Little Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 10 to 11:30 a.m., “Stories for Young Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 2 to 4 p.m., and “Stories for Older Folk and the People Who Love Them” from 8 to 10 p.m.

General admission for adults is $7 for the 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. performances and $12 for the 8 p.m. performance. Tickets for children under 12 and senior citizens are $5 for morning or evening, and $7 for evening. A special rate of $11 for adults and $8 for children is available to those who wish to attend both the morning and afternoon performances. Advance tickets are available for each performance at the Keefe Campus Center Office. The performances are free to Amherst College students with I.D. For information call 413/542–2619.

Keepers of the Word is sponsored by the Amherst College Student Finance Committee, Office of the Dean of Students, academic departments and supporters throughout Amherst College.