Once upon a time, the storyteller was the book, the movie, the tv show, and the soundtrack to a people’s history. Nothing was written down so someone had to be given the task of memorizing their history and making sure the people remembered but just “talking at them” got boring after a while. One storyteller decided to add drums and created a spoken word history. The people loved it and stomped or clapped along. Another added some lines of singing to give the dramatic moments more emphasis. The people were entranced and asked for their favorite singing parts again and again. When the reed flute was created, it too was added to the story…and so it went as more instruments from animal hides, strings, wood, and metal were created, they too became part of the storyteller’s repertoire. Some even created costumes and painted objects to enhance their storytelling – giving rise eventually to the gleeman who entertains through elaborated histories with music, costumes, staging, and jokes. The first historians were also the first performers, the first musicians, the first authors, the first composers, the first comedians, and the first artists. I meet them still today. You think this is about you but I’ve met you many times all my life in many places around the world. And every single time, I think you are beautiful.
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