Welcome to my world where imagination is limitless! As a solo performer, let me introduce your schools, museums, libraries, corporations, children’s hospitals or Spirit Spaces to the power of story and song “Mama Edie Style.” Sing songs with me in Spanish, Yoruba (Nigeria), Kiswahili (East Africa), English and Twi (Ghana)! Monolingual or Bilingual performances may be provided blending Spanish and English. You may also choose to embrace storytelling as a multi-media experience incorporating visual art, drumming, movement and song! Allow me to wrap stories around your art at gallery exhibits that broaden one’s sense of perspective.
Whether as a guest lecturer for a college literature course, exploring cultural history, world religions or social justice, journey with me to extract the nuggets in stories that reveal universal truths and prove us to be one family – although we may not often act that way. Through a story such as “Ananse, the Spider and How the Moon Came to Be in the Sky,” be reminded – or discover for the very first time – that our differences can be our greatest source of strength. Let this story reveal the light that you too have inside that no one else has the right to diminish.
Explore the healing powers of story as parents, preachers, social workers, teachers, psychologists, speech pathologists or just because you need to rest, to heal. See how empowering cultural storytelling can be effectively incorporated into one’s Individualized Education Plan or planted within the core areas of STEM.
Find the power of “home” within you in temporary shelters or in centers of incarceration. Allow your shared personal stories to guide you, to help you see more clearly where you’ve been, how you got there and what you may now need to do to be truly free. Sing with me those songs that still remind us of how good life can be, so that you can make it so. Join me at storytelling and other cultural arts festivals as we’re reminded that we are children of the people who could fly!
Performances & Workshops
HISTORY, MYSTERY & CULTURAL PRIDE
With multicultural instruments and dolls, this program energetically relives the lives and events of world history that many people probably never knew in unique ways that take us far beyond any one culturally celebrated month! They TOO become a part of the story and may better appreciate the knowledge of history, their connection to it, and why they too matter and are an important part of history right now! Some programs may include video or photo images from Mama Edie’s world travels.
CUENTOS Y CANCIONES
These interactive performances blend Spanish and English in stories, songs & movements from Latin American cultures. Audiences learn the importance of speaking another language in stories like the Cuban Folktale of a mouse who saved her family’s life by learning to speak “Dog”! Audience members will experience the pleasure of enjoying other cultures and seeing that learning each other’s language together isn't as hard as they might have thought! And can be so much FUN!!
THE MAGIC OF THE TALKING DRUM
Experience the famous Talking Drum of West Africa! Audiences will begin to understand how a drum can actually talk and has even saved lives! They too will learn to make the drum SPEAK!! Stories from West African countries, the Caribbean Islands, the Americas and First Nations cultures will be shared around their use of the drum. The many ways that these cultures remain connected today will also be explored.
KICKIN’ UP A BIT OF STEAM
Stories & Songs of Science, Technology, Engineering, ART & Math
These stories demystify the often elusive comprehension of the areas of study in this title. Through story, music, silence, movement and sound, children will learn to embrace these subjects as exciting pathways to a rich and fulfilling life vs running from them as though from predators preventing their progress. It may also include face painting (using non-toxic and easily washable paints) to represent the various symbols of math, science geometry and architecture!
This presentation explores stories of the ways that people around the world have stood up for justice. It includes interactive music related to experiences of Mama Edie marching at 15 with Dr. King against redlining in Chicago and at a social justice conference in 2017 in Iraq. Through role-play, participants may explore how they too can make a difference to improve the quality of life in their own communities, jobs, homes, nations and the world. The audience joins a dynamic ending.
FINDING MY OWN BEAUTY, POWER AND LIGHT
These stories will explore, “What is the essence of beauty?” They will address the historically conditioned perception of people of darker complexions being by definition less than beautiful and also less worthy. They will celebrate the natural assets and often denied physical beauty of children of darker hues, for whom many have never learned to see their rich, unique beauty and light. It will also include the true story of the child in Mali, West Africa, born with polio but who later became the beloved and wealthiest ruler in the world: the first Emperor of Mali – the REAL Lion King!
BEYOND “I HAVE A DREAM” – THE AMAZING LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Come hear segments of speeches of Dr. King that reveal more of the vision and depth of compassion of this dynamic leader for not only his own people but for all of humanity. Hear stories of the significant role of his interactions with Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi, and how they contributed to his vision and growth. Come and be challenged by considering what more YOU can do to contribute to peace and equitable treatment for all.
CELEBRATING CONNECTIONS OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
This presentation will take participants on a journey to explore the various countries where children of Africa have been dispersed. It will celebrate the amazing seeds of Africa that they have planted within the countries they now call “home.” Experience the stories, songs and rhythms that have continued to vibrate through many generations, through the various languages they have been forced to speak, through the beliefs they have maintained, and through the hardships and heroism that have helped them to survive.
THE POWERS OF SILENCE AND SOUND
This workshop guides instructors, administrators, parents and others to an increased awareness of the powers of silence and sound as we consider our communication environments. Interactive stories, music and guided meditation will be employed to explore the dynamics of sound in establishing and maintaining healthy, nurturing sound environments that can affect the nature of relationships, productivity, an increased sense of confidence, safety, community and self-esteem.
AROUND THE CAMPFIRE
Mama Edie’s adaptations of stories told by Jackie Torrence and other lovers of the night!
As a performance, this presentation blends interactive stories and songs from various ancient and current spiritual beliefs from around the world. As a workshop, it is a conversation led by Mama Edie where participants share the personal stories of their spiritual journeys. It will include a review of the scriptural stories, beliefs, songs, rituals and prayers of various world religions and spiritualities to find points of connection, meaning and universal truth.
HEALING THROUGH STORYTELLING, MUSIC AND THE SOUNDS OF NATURE
This presentation guides participants through cultural folklore and other wisdom stories, their own personal stories and various sounds to find a place of healing and peace.
WHAT'S ALL THIS ABOUT KWANZAA
Join the December celebration of children of enslaved Africans worldwide whose spirits, faith, strength and creative genius helped them to survive and surpass unimaginable atrocities and other obstacles. Celebrate the diasporic cultures of people who contributed to a wealth that they were, to this day, never intended to enjoy. Learn about the seven basic principles (the Nguzo Saba), established by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. These principles serve as life guides for every day throughout the year to encourage unity, self-determination and faith in what can yet be achieved.
MY CITY, MY HOME
This presentation guides audiences to examine through their own stories what they appreciate about their city (wherever it is!) and how their lives are impacted by it. As a performance, audiences are encouraged to envision other possibilities and how they can empower themselves to make their visions happen. As a workshop or residency, their reflections will be shaped into stories, poetry and songs that may be recorded and shared among themselves.(They will not be available for purchase or sale.)
Multidisciplinary Bilingual Zoom Performance of “The Barking Mouse” (9.5 min)
(The Importance of Knowing How to Speak Another Language)
Multidisciplinary Zoom Performance for Changing Worlds Annual Gala Awards Production 2020
(As recipients of the 2020 Cultural Connections Award)
Finding a Place Called Home (11.5 min)
30 Good Minutes, Channel 11, WTTW (I Minute Intro Reflection for Guest Minister on the topic)
Sankofa Mbofra Fie (Childrens’ Orphanage Eguafo, near Cape Coast, Ghana) – Mama Edie is engaged in a wide range of support for this children’s home, an NGO, a non-governmental organization, that houses approximately 20 children and functions with minimal support from the national government. Donations and volunteer services are the primary forms of support, although both the children’s home and Sankofa Preparatory School are striving to reach goals for self-sufficiency. The young founder and director of both the children’s home and the school, Mr. David Kwesi Acquah, who was himself a child of the streets, was determined to provide a home for as many children as he can. For more information, please visit Sankofa Children Home (sankofachildrenshome.org). Donations may be made on their website.
Sankofa Preparatory School, Eguafo, near Cape Coast, Ghana, West Africa – Mama Edie is engaged in the financial, academic and other support of this school, which is also an NGO. Despite its struggle, the school has managed to send at least 7 students to college over the past several years. Due to a severe rainy season, however, the school was as of June 2022 almost totally demolished. A more permanent structure was started two years ago but additional funding is sorely needed for its completion. Without this support, the 250 children who have been educated at this school, established in 2006, will no longer have access to a formal education. Donations can be made at the website above to support the rebuilding of the school and replacing its educational materials, equipment and supplies.
The Black Star Project: Senator Kimberly A. Lightford Saturday University – The Black Star Project, founded by Phillip Jackson and currently led by Executive Director Gloria Smith, has a wide range of activities geared toward the support of youth for their academic, technological, cultural, civic, entrepreneurial and personal growth and development. The Black Star Project has also been supportive of Sankofa Mbofra Fie and Sankofa Preparatory School and anticipates supporting the development of an international literary and cultural exchange program, along with young people from Brazil. https://www.blackstarproject.org
The Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project – Led by historian and author Larry McClellan and Associate Administrator Tom Shepherd, this developing project continues to expand its efforts to promote the knowledge of the little known area of the Underground Railroad that runs along Chicago’s southeast side, and includes the communities of Altgeld Gardens, Riverdale, IL, Beaubien Woods and other areas along the Little Calumet River. Recently recognized as an official historical site by the National Parks Service, the project is engaging partnerships with storytellers, visual artists and community stakeholders in exploring the history and significance of this area where the descendants of enslaved Africans found their way north to Canada in search of freedom. Many stopped in several of these areas, were able to make a home for themselves and their families, and made significant contributions in communities where descendants of the enslaved Africans still live right in the southeastern section of Chicago today. It should be noted that this area is the ancestral land of the Council of Three Fires: the Odawa, Ojibwe and Patowatomi, many who very likely assisted the escaping captives, along with Dutch and other new arrivals to the area along the way. (20+) Little Calumet River Underground Railroad Project | Facebook
· Residencies – May be provided on most topics listed under “Performances and Workshops.” The length and specifics of each may vary.
· Webinars – May be provided on most topics listed under “Performances and Workshops.” Professional backgrounds and cultural demographics of audience members and clients may vary widely.
· Keynotes – University events, educational or related professional conferences, graduations, and corporate or other organizational events addressing topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion or personal empowerment.
· Rites of Passage – Tailored training for women or teen girls that incorporates basic principles, values and traditions of the culture represented. This program will culminate in a Rites of Passage celebration, that welcomes family and community elders, marking the achievements of the participants and encouraging their continued growth.
· Crack the Code! © - A cultural linguistics program that helps participants to navigate between their cultural dialects and standard English without sacrificing dignity or cultural pride. May be tailored to specific age groups.
· Fundraising Performances – Solo storytelling and percussion or multidisciplinary performances can be produced as fundraisers. The theme or focus will be determined by the client. All matters such as venue, publicity, ticketing, etc. will be the responsibility of the client. For more details, write info@MamaEdie.com
· Guest Lecturer for Colleges/Universities
- Bring history, religious studies and/or political science to life through story, music and guided discourse.
- Explore children’s literature that teaches cultural connections, civic responsibility and personal empowerment.
- Experience the impact of story, instrumental music and poetic or musical lyrics on nurturing, safe and healthy communication styles.
- Reflect on the power of story as influenced by cultural rituals and traditions.
- Enhance the study of teaching the concepts of STEM/STEAM through storytelling, music and movement.
· Telling My Own Story
It’s time to tell your story. Your life has mattered even more than you realized. This program will walk you through Mama Edie’s process for autobiographical writing. If you haven’t already begun, it’s probably time to get started.
· Dialect Enhancement/Modification
This program is specifically for those who would like their speech to be more easily understood by other listeners. It is not intended to remove the rich, cultural nuances of one’s cultural language or dialect but to modify
pronunciations for enhanced clarity.
“… Having Mama Edie as a coach catapulted me to a new level. There’s nothing that I now cannot do with regard to telling stories. I am grateful.”
Storyteller & Educator