KENYAN & GLOBAL STORYTELLERS WOW THE CROWDS

UHURU KENYATTA comes to storytellers’ aid /// IN SUMMARY @ SATURDAY NATION/// • International cast takes part in annual ‘Sigana’ festival as performers tell tall tales on stage/// Every year, the Sigana International Storytelling Festival gets bigger, better and more global in its perspective and presentation. /// In its fifth configuration, staged at the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo last weekend, that assessment, made by Kimani wa Wanjiru, chairman of the Kenya chapter of the Arterial Network, was powerfully confirmed. Serving as guest of honour on the opening night of this year’s fete, Kimani has been a fan of the festival from the outset when KCC managing director, Aghan Odero, launched it years ago as a project of Aghan’s cultural group, Zamaleo ACT. Reiterating what one of the international storytellers, Kristin Pedemonte, had just said on stage, Kimani also noted that “Everyone has a story; it is just a matter of finding the best way to tell it.” This year, those who found the ‘best way’ to tell a whole range of people’s amazing stories included both Kenyan and international storytellers who had come from Denmark, Romania, USA and even Britain. The beauty of each story was the intimate and animated way that each one was told. What’s more, some stories were traditional folk tales with a moral and a message, like Marianne Christensen’s Scandinavian story about the woodcutter, the money lender and the king. Others were true stories like Ogutu Muraya’s graphically told story of Warutere, the rickshaw driver and Mau Mau detainee who was jailed, tortured and locked up for 13 years, his main ‘offence’ being to use a ‘For Whites Only’ toilet. And other stories were based on personal experience, like Kristin Pedemonti’s heart-warming tale of the Free Hugs movement. There was even one traditional fairy tale of Cinderella, which got twisted, turned upside down and retold by Newton Kweya in an outrageously witty style that literally kept the almost-full house crowd in stitches. Kweya, like several other Zamaleo Sigana storytellers, including Hellen Alumbe Namai and Wangari Grace, gave hilarious ‘gender-bending’ performances wherein women took on roles of men and vice-versa. Yet it was obvious that a great deal of effort had gone into the choreography and stylisation of every tale. That was largely due to the diligent direction of Alumbe, who is so good at setting her audience at ease that her interactive style of performing elicits swift responses from the public, most of whom left the theatre with a gracious feeling that we all have stories to tell and are worthy to tell them. The other vital component of the Festival was the music, which was all made with indigenous instruments, everything from traditional Kenyan flutes, horns, drums, shakers and various string instruments, including the nyatiti. Opening the festival with powerful percussive tunes, the band also lent background accompaniment — and sound effects — to each of the stories without being intrusive or overpowering A stunning revelation Alumbe shared at the festival opening was the news that President Kenyatta had donated funds for accommodating, feeding and locally transporting the international guests. “We had simply put a request for assistance on our Facebook page,” Aghan said. “Uhuru’s people called us and offered to help out, and for this we are most grateful.” DN2|Sports Magazine|Smart Company|Living|Money|Saturday Magazine|Lifestyle|Buzz|Zuqka|Weekend | WEEKEND Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid IN SUMMARY • International cast takes part in annual ‘Sigana’ festival as performers tell tall tales on stage Every year, the Sigana International Storytelling Festival gets bigger, better and more global in its perspective and presentation. In its fifth configuration, staged at the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo last weekend, that assessment, made by Kimani wa Wanjiru, chairman of the Kenya chapter of the Arterial Network, was powerfully confirmed. Serving as guest of honour on the opening night of this year’s fete, Kimani has been a fan of the festival from the outset when KCC managing director, Aghan Odero, launched it years ago as a project of Aghan’s cultural group, Zamaleo ACT. Reiterating what one of the international storytellers, Kristin Pedemonte, had just said on stage, Kimani also noted that “Everyone has a story; it is just a matter of finding the best way to tell it.” This year, those who found the ‘best way’ to tell a whole range of people’s amazing stories included both Kenyan and international storytellers who had come from Denmark, Romania, USA and even Britain. The beauty of each story was the intimate and animated way that each one was told. What’s more, some stories were traditional folk tales with a moral and a message, like Marianne Christensen’s Scandinavian story about the woodcutter, the money lender and the king. Others were true stories like Ogutu Muraya’s graphically told story of Warutere, the rickshaw driver and Mau Mau detainee who was jailed, tortured and locked up for 13 years, his main ‘offence’ being to use a ‘For Whites Only’ toilet. And other stories were based on personal experience, like Kristin Pedemonti’s heart-warming tale of the Free Hugs movement. There was even one traditional fairy tale of Cinderella, which got twisted, turned upside down and retold by Newton Kweya in an outrageously witty style that literally kept the almost-full house crowd in stitches. Kweya, like several other Zamaleo Sigana storytellers, including Hellen Alumbe Namai and Wangari Grace, gave hilarious ‘gender-bending’ performances wherein women took on roles of men and vice-versa. Yet it was obvious that a great deal of effort had gone into the choreography and stylisation of every tale. That was largely due to the diligent direction of Alumbe, who is so good at setting her audience at ease that her interactive style of performing elicits swift responses from the public, most of whom left the theatre with a gracious feeling that we all have stories to tell and are worthy to tell them. The other vital component of the Festival was the music, which was all made with indigenous instruments, everything from traditional Kenyan flutes, horns, drums, shakers and various string instruments, including the nyatiti. Opening the festival with powerful percussive tunes, the band also lent background accompaniment — and sound effects — to each of the stories without being intrusive or overpowering A stunning revelation Alumbe shared at the festival opening was the news that President Kenyatta had donated funds for accommodating, feeding and locally transporting the international guests. “We had simply put a request for assistance on our Facebook page,” Aghan said. “Uhuru’s people called us and offered to help out, and for this we are most grateful.” HOME Weekend Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid In Summary •International cast takes part in annual ‘Sigana’ festival as performers tell tall tales on stage Every year, the Sigana International Storytelling Festival gets bigger, better and more global in its perspective and presentation. In its fifth configuration, staged at the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo last weekend, that assessment, made by Kimani wa Wanjiru, chairman of the Kenya chapter of the Arterial Network, was powerfully confirmed. Serving as guest of honour on the opening night of this year’s fete, Kimani has been a fan of the festival from the outset when KCC managing director, Aghan Odero, launched it years ago as a project of Aghan’s cultural group, Zamaleo ACT. Reiterating what one of the international storytellers, Kristin Pedemonte, had just said on stage, Kimani also noted that “Everyone has a story; it is just a matter of finding the best way to tell it.” This year, those who found the ‘best way’ to tell a whole range of people’s amazing stories included both Kenyan and international storytellers who had come from Denmark, Romania, USA and even Britain. The beauty of each story was the intimate and animated way that each one was told. What’s more, some stories were traditional folk tales with a moral and a message, like Marianne Christensen’s Scandinavian story about the woodcutter, the money lender and the king. Others were true stories like Ogutu Muraya’s graphically told story of Warutere, the rickshaw driver and Mau Mau detainee who was jailed, tortured and locked up for 13 years, his main ‘offence’ being to use a ‘For Whites Only’ toilet. And other stories were based on personal experience, like Kristin Pedemonti’s heart-warming tale of the Free Hugs movement. There was even one traditional fairy tale of Cinderella, which got twisted, turned upside down and retold by Newton Kweya in an outrageously witty style that literally kept the almost-full house crowd in stitches. Kweya, like several other Zamaleo Sigana storytellers, including Hellen Alumbe Namai and Wangari Grace, gave hilarious ‘gender-bending’ performances wherein women took on roles of men and vice-versa. Yet it was obvious that a great deal of effort had gone into the choreography and stylisation of every tale. That was largely due to the diligent direction of Alumbe, who is so good at setting her audience at ease that her interactive style of performing elicits swift responses from the public, most of whom left the theatre with a gracious feeling that we all have stories to tell and are worthy to tell them. The other vital component of the Festival was the music, which was all made with indigenous instruments, everything from traditional Kenyan flutes, horns, drums, shakers and various string instruments, including the nyatiti. Opening the festival with powerful percussive tunes, the band also lent background accompaniment — and sound effects — to each of the stories without being intrusive or overpowering A stunning revelation Alumbe shared at the festival opening was the news that President Kenyatta had donated funds for accommodating, feeding and locally transporting the international guests. “We had simply put a request for assistance on our Facebook page,” Aghan said. “Uhuru’s people called us and offered to help out, and for this we are most grateful.” Back to Daily Nation: Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid Advertisement Pope Francis blesses the Olympic flag ahead of the Rio 2016 Summer Games, as Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes (3-R) and as Rio’s Governor Sergio Cabral (R) look on, at the City Palace in Rio de Janeiro where he will also receive the keys of the city, on July 25, 2013. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering World Youth Day. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS Officers from Central police station inspect the recovered explosives that were found packed in a Chania bus at it’s TSS Petrol Station along River Road, Nairobi, that was en-route to Mombasa on July 24, 2013. PHOTO/DENISH OCHIENG Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’ new-born baby boy seen in a car seat outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London on July 23, 2013. AFP HOME HOME Weekend Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid In Summary •International cast takes part in annual ‘Sigana’ festival as performers tell tall tales on stage Every year, the Sigana International Storytelling Festival gets bigger, better and more global in its perspective and presentation. In its fifth configuration, staged at the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo last weekend, that assessment, made by Kimani wa Wanjiru, chairman of the Kenya chapter of the Arterial Network, was powerfully confirmed. Serving as guest of honour on the opening night of this year’s fete, Kimani has been a fan of the festival from the outset when KCC managing director, Aghan Odero, launched it years ago as a project of Aghan’s cultural group, Zamaleo ACT. Reiterating what one of the international storytellers, Kristin Pedemonte, had just said on stage, Kimani also noted that “Everyone has a story; it is just a matter of finding the best way to tell it.” This year, those who found the ‘best way’ to tell a whole range of people’s amazing stories included both Kenyan and international storytellers who had come from Denmark, Romania, USA and even Britain. The beauty of each story was the intimate and animated way that each one was told. What’s more, some stories were traditional folk tales with a moral and a message, like Marianne Christensen’s Scandinavian story about the woodcutter, the money lender and the king. Others were true stories like Ogutu Muraya’s graphically told story of Warutere, the rickshaw driver and Mau Mau detainee who was jailed, tortured and locked up for 13 years, his main ‘offence’ being to use a ‘For Whites Only’ toilet. And other stories were based on personal experience, like Kristin Pedemonti’s heart-warming tale of the Free Hugs movement. There was even one traditional fairy tale of Cinderella, which got twisted, turned upside down and retold by Newton Kweya in an outrageously witty style that literally kept the almost-full house crowd in stitches. Kweya, like several other Zamaleo Sigana storytellers, including Hellen Alumbe Namai and Wangari Grace, gave hilarious ‘gender-bending’ performances wherein women took on roles of men and vice-versa. Yet it was obvious that a great deal of effort had gone into the choreography and stylisation of every tale. That was largely due to the diligent direction of Alumbe, who is so good at setting her audience at ease that her interactive style of performing elicits swift responses from the public, most of whom left the theatre with a gracious feeling that we all have stories to tell and are worthy to tell them. The other vital component of the Festival was the music, which was all made with indigenous instruments, everything from traditional Kenyan flutes, horns, drums, shakers and various string instruments, including the nyatiti. Opening the festival with powerful percussive tunes, the band also lent background accompaniment — and sound effects — to each of the stories without being intrusive or overpowering A stunning revelation Alumbe shared at the festival opening was the news that President Kenyatta had donated funds for accommodating, feeding and locally transporting the international guests. “We had simply put a request for assistance on our Facebook page,” Aghan said. “Uhuru’s people called us and offered to help out, and for this we are most grateful.” Back to Daily Nation: Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid Advertisement Pope Francis blesses the Olympic flag ahead of the Rio 2016 Summer Games, as Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes (3-R) and as Rio’s Governor Sergio Cabral (R) look on, at the City Palace in Rio de Janeiro where he will also receive the keys of the city, on July 25, 2013. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering World Youth Day. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS Officers from Central police station inspect the recovered explosives that were found packed in a Chania bus at it’s TSS Petrol Station along River Road, Nairobi, that was en-route to Mombasa on July 24, 2013. PHOTO/DENISH OCHIENG Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’ new-born baby boy seen in a car seat outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London on July 23, 2013. AFP HOME HOME Weekend Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid In Summary •International cast takes part in annual ‘Sigana’ festival as performers tell tall tales on stage Every year, the Sigana International Storytelling Festival gets bigger, better and more global in its perspective and presentation. In its fifth configuration, staged at the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo last weekend, that assessment, made by Kimani wa Wanjiru, chairman of the Kenya chapter of the Arterial Network, was powerfully confirmed. Serving as guest of honour on the opening night of this year’s fete, Kimani has been a fan of the festival from the outset when KCC managing director, Aghan Odero, launched it years ago as a project of Aghan’s cultural group, Zamaleo ACT. Reiterating what one of the international storytellers, Kristin Pedemonte, had just said on stage, Kimani also noted that “Everyone has a story; it is just a matter of finding the best way to tell it.” This year, those who found the ‘best way’ to tell a whole range of people’s amazing stories included both Kenyan and international storytellers who had come from Denmark, Romania, USA and even Britain. The beauty of each story was the intimate and animated way that each one was told. What’s more, some stories were traditional folk tales with a moral and a message, like Marianne Christensen’s Scandinavian story about the woodcutter, the money lender and the king. Others were true stories like Ogutu Muraya’s graphically told story of Warutere, the rickshaw driver and Mau Mau detainee who was jailed, tortured and locked up for 13 years, his main ‘offence’ being to use a ‘For Whites Only’ toilet. And other stories were based on personal experience, like Kristin Pedemonti’s heart-warming tale of the Free Hugs movement. There was even one traditional fairy tale of Cinderella, which got twisted, turned upside down and retold by Newton Kweya in an outrageously witty style that literally kept the almost-full house crowd in stitches. Kweya, like several other Zamaleo Sigana storytellers, including Hellen Alumbe Namai and Wangari Grace, gave hilarious ‘gender-bending’ performances wherein women took on roles of men and vice-versa. Yet it was obvious that a great deal of effort had gone into the choreography and stylisation of every tale. That was largely due to the diligent direction of Alumbe, who is so good at setting her audience at ease that her interactive style of performing elicits swift responses from the public, most of whom left the theatre with a gracious feeling that we all have stories to tell and are worthy to tell them. The other vital component of the Festival was the music, which was all made with indigenous instruments, everything from traditional Kenyan flutes, horns, drums, shakers and various string instruments, including the nyatiti. Opening the festival with powerful percussive tunes, the band also lent background accompaniment — and sound effects — to each of the stories without being intrusive or overpowering A stunning revelation Alumbe shared at the festival opening was the news that President Kenyatta had donated funds for accommodating, feeding and locally transporting the international guests. “We had simply put a request for assistance on our Facebook page,” Aghan said. “Uhuru’s people called us and offered to help out, and for this we are most grateful.” Back to Daily Nation: Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid Advertisement Pope Francis blesses the Olympic flag ahead of the Rio 2016 Summer Games, as Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Eduardo Paes (3-R) and as Rio’s Governor Sergio Cabral (R) look on, at the City Palace in Rio de Janeiro where he will also receive the keys of the city, on July 25, 2013. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering World Youth Day. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS Officers from Central police station inspect the recovered explosives that were found packed in a Chania bus at it’s TSS Petrol Station along River Road, Nairobi, that was en-route to Mombasa on July 24, 2013. PHOTO/DENISH OCHIENG Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge’ new-born baby boy seen in a car seat outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London on July 23, 2013. AFP DN2|Sports Magazine|Smart Company|Living|Money|Saturday Magazine|Lifestyle|Buzz|Zuqka|Weekend | WEEKEND Uhuru comes to storytellers’ aid IN SUMMARY • International cast takes part in annual ‘Sigana’ festival as performers tell tall tales on stage Every year, the Sigana International Storytelling Festival gets bigger, better and more global in its perspective and presentation. In its fifth configuration, staged at the Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo last weekend, that assessment, made by Kimani wa Wanjiru, chairman of the Kenya chapter of the Arterial Network, was powerfully confirmed. Serving as guest of honour on the opening night of this year’s fete, Kimani has been a fan of the festival from the outset when KCC managing director, Aghan Odero, launched it years ago as a project of Aghan’s cultural group, Zamaleo ACT. Reiterating what one of the international storytellers, Kristin Pedemonte, had just said on stage, Kimani also noted that “Everyone has a story; it is just a matter of finding the best way to tell it.” This year, those who found the ‘best way’ to tell a whole range of people’s amazing stories included both Kenyan and international storytellers who had come from Denmark, Romania, USA and even Britain. The beauty of each story was the intimate and animated way that each one was told. What’s more, some stories were traditional folk tales with a moral and a message, like Marianne Christensen’s Scandinavian story about the woodcutter, the money lender and the king. Others were true stories like Ogutu Muraya’s graphically told story of Warutere, the rickshaw driver and Mau Mau detainee who was jailed, tortured and locked up for 13 years, his main ‘offence’ being to use a ‘For Whites Only’ toilet. And other stories were based on personal experience, like Kristin Pedemonti’s heart-warming tale of the Free Hugs movement. There was even one traditional fairy tale of Cinderella, which got twisted, turned upside down and retold by Newton Kweya in an outrageously witty style that literally kept the almost-full house crowd in stitches. Kweya, like several other Zamaleo Sigana storytellers, including Hellen Alumbe Namai and Wangari Grace, gave hilarious ‘gender-bending’ performances wherein women took on roles of men and vice-versa. Yet it was obvious that a great deal of effort had gone into the choreography and stylisation of every tale. That was largely due to the diligent direction of Alumbe, who is so good at setting her audience at ease that her interactive style of performing elicits swift responses from the public, most of whom left the theatre with a gracious feeling that we all have stories to tell and are worthy to tell them. The other vital component of the Festival was the music, which was all made with indigenous instruments, everything from traditional Kenyan flutes, horns, drums, shakers and various string instruments, including the nyatiti. Opening the festival with powerful percussive tunes, the band also lent background accompaniment — and sound effects — to each of the stories without being intrusive or overpowering A stunning revelation Alumbe shared at the festival opening was the news that President Kenyatta had donated funds for accommodating, feeding and locally transporting the international guests. “We had simply put a request for assistance on our Facebook page,” Aghan said. “Uhuru’s people called us and offered to help out, and for this we are most grateful.”

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