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Cultural Center to present nationally recognized storytellers in free Feb. 22 program


The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will present a program featuring three nationally recognized storytellers on Friday, Feb. 22, in the West Virginia State Theater of the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex. The storytellers will perform tales from African, Jewish and Native American traditions. The free program, which is appropriate for audiences of all ages, will begin at 7 p.m.

Kala JoJo, or “The Tall Storyteller,” is a professional storyteller, vocalist and musician. He performs his songs, chants and stories with authentic African instruments, evoking African, African-American, and Caribbean oral traditions. With his engaging voice, personality and sense of humor, Kala JoJo is in demand at storytelling showcases and festivals across the country. He is the associate director of the African Heritage Drumming Camp for Boys and the producer of Keswick Annual Kwanzaa Fes’. He also is a member of both “Brother Story Drum,” a professional storytelling trio, and “Jubala,” a performing ensemble of storytellers, vocalists and musicians. Download photo here (160K)

Syd Lieberman is one of the country’s leading tellers of Jewish tales, known for his varied repertoire which features original personal stories and historical pieces, as well as new renditions of short stories and folk tales. He has appeared at major storytelling festivals across the country, including six featured appearances at the National Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn.; at the Glistening Waters Festival in New Zealand; and on American Public Radio’s “Good Evening” as a guest storyteller and host. In 1994, the Jewish Publication Society published his picture book for children, “The Wise Shoemaker of Studena,” and in 1995, August House Publishers released a book of Lieberman’s personal stories, “Streets and Alleys: Stories with a Chicago Accent.” Download photo here (330K)

For 20 years, Dovie Thomason-Sickles has shared the old stories she first heard from her Kiowa Apache and Lakota relatives. An award-winning storyteller and author, she is recognized internationally for her gift of both transmitting the oral tradition of her Native culture and transforming it for today’s world. Thomason-Sickles’ workshops on storytelling, culture and cultural integrity have been featured at the National Storytelling Conference in the United States and The Society for Storytelling’s Gathering in England. Download photo here (300K)

For more information about this or other programs of the Division, call (304) 558-0162.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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