This February, Zamaleo welcomed Fabula Storytelling Company of Stockholm, Sweden in Nairobi for an eventful 7 days exchange-working visit. The team comprised of 3 leading Scandinavian Storytellers and a Consultant Creative Manager. The Fabula storytellers were Ida Junker, Mats Rehnman and Peter. The team's creative manager Mr. Christer Flodin had preceded the tellers to work closer with Zamaleo on future planning assignments.
Fabula Storytellers (Sweden)
A packed 1-week program that kicked off on February 01 saw both Zamaleo and Fabula tellers successfully conduct several activities that included a 2 days Master Storytelling Workshop, Joint Program Planning and Performance visits to Aga Khan University (East Africa) and Swedish Embassy, Nairobi.
Fabula's visit further strengthened the already burgeoning collaborative partnership between them and Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers. The two companies held discussions in which their current 3 years old working partnership was appraised in greater details. Plans for future collaborative research on various aspects of storytelling tradition, joint performance projects and audience development modalities were also mapped out. As the Fabula team left Nairobi for Stockholm in the morning of February 7, it was unanimously agreed that the next stop would be the forthcoming June 10-15 2010 Sigana International Storytelling Festival scheduled for Nairobi, Kenya!
It is a bright warm Tuesday morning in a Nairobi city's old abandoned industrial quarter turned arts center. 7 professional storytellers - 4 Swedish and 3 Kenyan are wrapped in a fast paced high concentration game of wits, physical adeptness and split second deliberate verbal wordplay. They mingle, dash and jump. Seven frenzied bodies wheezing amidst several multicolored small balls being thrown back and forth. They shout, hiss and squeal out sharp monosyllable words in Swahili and Swedish languages. Ten minutes passes. Breaths are heightened. Perspiration sets in. A stop. Standstill. Silence. Deep breaths repeated at two score counts is taken twice. They troop in-doors into a small intimate experimental art studio exhibition room. Soon the seven closes into an easy circle. Eyes interlocked, each pair recounts - in short pithy descriptive sentences - the bare settings of a favorite lore.
Zamaleo/Fabula in Duotelling workshop
(picture by fabula)
These were the Zamaleo Sigana and Fabula Storytellers going through a 2 day long master storytelling workshop led by Mats Rehnman - the widely traveled story connoisseur from Swedish. The workshop was held in the premises of Nairobi Arts Trust & Centre for Contemporary Art of Eastern Africa - CCAEA situated within Go Down Arts Centre, Nairobi-Kenya. Participant professional Storytellers included Ida Junker, Mats Rehnman, Peter, Christer Flodin (Fabula) and Alumbe Namai, Grace Wangare, John Mukeni, Kweya, Aghan Odero (Zamaleo SS).
The workshop titled Duo-Telling tackled the stylistic storytelling approach of partnering two tellers in single story presentations. Creative treatment of story material focused on tellers' conscious comparative elevation of Imagery over other performative rendition elements such as illustrative embellishments and narrative extensions. For the vastly experienced participant storytellers, the workshop provided them with a critical creative re-visit to the often-unexamined weakness found in everyday telling by veteran practitioners.
" Quite revealing about how we, as professional tellers, often get caught up within the coziness of our comfort telling zones!" Remarked Alumbe Namai at the end.