Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

On behalf of everyone who makes the Teller and the Tale possible, I would like to wish all you storytellers and story listeners around the world a very Happy and Story-filled 2017!

Keep tuned to Blues and Roots Radio for another great year of music & story. 


Saturday, December 17, 2016

SISF Ghost Story Competition: The Tapestry House by Ewan Irvine



Teller and the Tale host Michael Williams tells the story of "Tapestry House" as part of the Ghost Tales Competition at this year's Scottish International Storytelling Festival. The evening was hosted by the National Library of Scotland. "Tapestry House" was written by Ewan Irvine of Edinburgh.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Storyteller Alison Clark tells "Jamal the Wise Camel"

Alison Clark, storyteller
This week on The Teller and the Tale joins host Michael Williams to share her original tale, "Jamal the Wise Camel", the first our stories for the winter season.

Alison lives on the Isle of Bute off the west coast of Scotland where she's a regular on the storytelling and street "theatre" scene.

To learn more about Alison and her work, go to http://bit.ly/2g5LmDv

Listen to Alison starting Sunday 11 December at 7am ET (Can/US), 12noon (UK/Ire) and 9pm (Australia) and repeated on Thursday 15 December at 5:30pm (Can/US), 10:30pm (UK/Ire) and on Friday 16 December at 7:30am in Australia.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Teller and the Tale pays tribute to the late Andy Hunter

Storyteller Andy Hunter
This week, I return to a show I broadcast last year in the wake of the sudden and tragic death of Andy Hunter, storyteller and founder of Story Bikes.

Andy was a wonderful and much-loved storyteller in the Edinburgh area and a stalwart supporter of the Scottish Storytelling Forum and Centre. He was also the founder of Story Bikes, a unique touring company that organised tours for bicycle enthusiasts like himself and accompanied them with stories along the way.

The show features a couple of stories from Andy.

You can listen to the show on Sunday 6 November at 7am ET (Canada/US), 12noon (UK/Ireland) and 9pm (Australia) or on Thursday 10 November at 5:30pm ET (Can/US), 10:30pm (UK/Ire) and on Friday 11 November at 7:30am in Australia. Only on Blues and Roots Radio (home of the independent artist) www.bluesandrootsradio.com

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween with Michael Williams and friends

This week I share a couple of strange tales and some other seasonal fare with listeners of the Teller and the Tale. First up, is a mysterious tale of the haunting of the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Of course, no one seems to know about it which is why I've come up with this story from an old tradition. Following that is a story inspired by a tale written by Scottish author James Roberston. But that's not all, but I'll leave you to find out for yourself . . . if you dare.

The Teller and the Tale with Michael Williams on Blues and Roots Radio (www.bluesandrootsradio.com). Begins Sunday 30 October 2016, 7am ET (Can/US), 11am (UK/Ireland) and 9pm (Australia). Repeated on Thursday 3 November 2016, 5:30pm (Can/US), 9:30 (UK/Ireland), and 4 Friday at 7:30am (Australia).

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Please note that the Teller and the Tale will be moving from our regular timeslot on Thursdays to the following times in order to make room for some fantastic new programmes --

Thursdays at 5:30pm ET (Can/US), 10:30pm (UK/Ire) and on Friday morning at 7:30am (Australia).

Check out Blues and Roots Radio (www.bluesandrootsradio.com) to keep up on all the great music from the world's greatest independent artists in folk, country, blues, Celtic, singer-songwriter, and storytelling.



Friday, July 15, 2016

A bear, some fish, and a whole lot of birds - meet storyteller and StoryCoach Michael Williams

This week, host of The Teller and the Tale Michael Williams celebrates his birthday with a special programme of stories and songs. He sings about a bear he saw as a child, shares a song about what to do with a herrin's heid, and tells an old tale about the blessings of the birds.

According to Michael, he was born on a hot July morning in the early '50s. That weekend, scores of flying saucers were reported swarming the skies over his birthplace and most of the north-eastern United States and Canada. Later, as a boy, the stars beckoned, inspiring young Michael to become an astronaut. He kept scrapbooks documenting the American and Russian space programmes and leapt at any opportunity in school to talk about the astronauts and cosmonauts.

Sadly, an innate fear of heights, speed, and confined spaces put an end to his dreams of flying into infinity and beyond. Michael retreated into the world of the imagination, immersing himself in books and flights of fancy. He'd sit all afternoon at the top of a walnut tree dreaming he was in the crow's nest of a pirate ship on the high seas. "My home life was not a particularly happy one," Michael recalls, "so I escaped into the world of story, inventing all sorts of adventures for myself. It was inevitable that I'd become a storyteller."

However, Michael's life took many detours and before he'd become a storyteller, he'd be a miner, a rug-cutter, a maker of grinding wheels and sewer pipes, a mover, a window-washer, a waiter, a dish-washer, a musician and singer, a traveller, and a counsellor to adolescents. In the 1980s he returned to University to study English Literature & Language, immersing himself in the study of stories. He married and started a family and moved to Scotland where he completed his Ph.D. in English Literature. Then for the next 15 years, he taught literature at both post-secondary and secondary school levels.

As much as Michael loved teaching, an inner voice was beginning to call him to another adventure. "It was while teaching that I began my apprenticeship as a storyteller," he tells us, "spending seven years taking workshops and courses at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh and with the help of two mentors -- Ruth Kirkpatrick and Claire McNicol -- I got the experience I needed." In 2005, Michael left full-time teaching to become a professional storyteller. "A lot of people thought I was crazy," Michael recalls, "but I knew I had to do this, even though it took me another two years before I stopped telling people I was a teacher and I was now a storyteller."

Initially, Michael was able to utilise his teaching experience with storytelling as a peace-education facilitator with Unipaz-UK, an organisation that invited children and adolescents to practice ways of feeling more peaceful and improving their relationships in schools. That led to being asked to help organise a Cross-Party Group on Creating a Culture of Peace in Scotland for the Scottish Parliament, which led to his being asked to contribute to the General Teaching Council of Scotland's Chartered Teacher Programme.  Michael explains: "Essentially, I worked as an Adviser and Assessor, supporting senior classroom teachers in becoming reflective practitioners to a high level, helping them tell their stories of their professional and personal development." Michael would work with teachers for almost 8 years in this capacity as well as tutor teenagers who were struggling with exam work in high school.

Michael in the Holy Land, May 2009
In 2009, he was invited to join the "Healing Words" project, which invited 12 storytellers from around the world with particular skills working with groups of children, teens, and adults. The project was inspired and led by Israeli storyteller Roi Gal-Or. Under Gal-Or's leadership, Michael and the others travelled to the Holy Land to work with Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews and others, using storytelling to encourage dialogue and mutual understanding. "It was a life-changing experience," says Michael, "during which I saw the power of story to transform people and their relationships. When I returned I saw my life's work before me." Since that time, Michael has worked as a StoryCoach helping individuals and organisations alike to find their stories and tell them more effectively. "A lot of my work," he says, "is therapeutic in the sense that I'm helping people who for any number of reasons--including poor health--are stuck in a story that no longer serves them well. I help them find more positive, healthy stories that improve their sense of well-being." He has also worked in corporate and organisational settings using story to explore issues of leadership, teamwork, and conflict-resolution.

Today, Michael is an international storyteller and StoryCoach who works in both the UK and Canada. He's the host of the popular Internet radio show, The Teller and the Tale, on Blues and Roots Radio where he introduces storytellers and stories from around the world. As a StoryCoach, Michael's clients have included the Scottish Parliament, the Church of Scotland, several Scottish universities, the National Museum of Scotland, MUSEArtspace (Canada), Children 1st, Children in Scotland, Action for M.E., Macmillan Cancer Research, Arthritis Care, PAMIS, the Scottish Marine Institute, the Aberdeen Leadership Forum, and many, many others.

"I owe my success to the mentors in my life," Michael says, "I've had the privilege of working closely with such storytellers and coaches as Lisa Bloom, David Campbell, Doug Lipman, Laura Simms, Michael Margolis, and Tanya Taylor Rubinstein. Without their sharing and support, I would not have made it this far. I'm so grateful for their guidance throughout these years. I'd encourage anyone in this line of work to find a mentor."

Michael offers one-to-one storycoaching and mentoring in person and via Skype. He is also available to facilitate storytelling workshops and trainings and is available for speaking engagements. Contact Michael at iamthestoryteller@gmail.com or through his website at www.michaelwilliamsstorycoaching.com or facebook.com/michaelwilliamstorycoaching or Twitter @MWStoryCoach

Michael shares his stories on The Teller and the Tale, starting Sunday 17 July 2016 at 7am ET (Canada/US), 12 noon (UK/Ireland) and 9pm (Australia). Repeated on Thursday at 4pm ET, 9pm BST, and 6am on Friday in Australia. To listen, go to bluesandrootsradio.com at the specified time and click on the "Listen" button.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Teller and the Tale features storyteller, writer, and sacred dance teacher Anna Barton

Anna Barton
This week, Anna Barton celebrates her 80th birthday! For more than forty of those years, Anna has lived in the Findhorn Community on the shores of the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. Friends and other community members will gather to celebrate Anna's life and the joy she has brought them.

I first came to know Anna as a writer and storyteller. For the past several years, she has been a regular storyteller at Findhorn's monthly "Wee Ceilidh" where she'd share stories of her children and of being a parent. Fortunately, Anna kept notes when her children were young and turned them into joyful stories full of the quirky and delightful things children say and do. Anna can also turn her humour on herself, relating some of her adventures and misadventures in the world of sacred dance.

In 2015, I finally caught up with Anna in her home in Findhorn and managed to spend an afternoon reminiscing and sharing stories from her life as a parent, an early member of the Findhorn Community, as a sacred dance teacher, and now elder in the community.

In honour of her 80th birthday, the Teller and the Tale repeats this interview and wishes Anna a very Happy Birthday!!

Listen on Blues and Roots Radio, starting this Sunday 12 June at 7am ET (Canada/US), 12noon (UK/Ireland), and 9pm (Australia). Repeated on Thursday 16 June at 4pm ET, 9pm (UK) and 6am on Friday 17 in Australia.

If you miss it, go to the Teller and the Tale website where it will be posted after the end of the week.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Carpenter, a Forest, and a Lockett: The Teller and the Tale meets 3 American Storytellers

Regi Carpenter
In this week's programme I feature a Carpenter, a Forest, and a Lockett. Hmmm. Sounds like an interesting story, doesn't it.

This week I feature three American award-winning storytellers -- Regi Carpenter, Heather Forest, and Mike Lockett.

Regi Carpenter is a solo performance artist, author, retreat leader and performance coach. An award winning performer, Regi has toured her solo shows and workshops in theatres, festivals and schools, nationally and internationally.

Heather Forest's unique minstrel style of storytelling blends original music, folk guitar, poetry, prose and the sung and spoken word.
Heather Forest


Mike Lockett is a life-long educator and teller of tales. He is recognized for his work in education and has won awards for his recorded stories and for bilingual children's books.
Mike Lockett

Join me on Sunday 29 May at 7am ET (Canada/US), 12noon (UK/Ireland), and 9pm (Australia) and listen to some of the world's best storytellers and their stories. Repeated on Thursday June 2 at 4pm ET (Can/US), 9pm (UK/Ireland) and 6am Friday June 3 in Australia.

Go to www.bluesandrootsradio.com and click on 'Listen'.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Teller and the Tale features storytellers Len Cabral, Norah Dooley, and Donna Jacobs Sife

This week, I feature three storytellers: Len Cabral and Norah Dooley from the United States; and Donna Jacobs Sife from Australia.

Storyteller Len Cabral
Len Cabral is an internationally renowned storytellers adept at engaging audiences of all ages. Len draws on his Cape Verdean roots, telling stories from his ancestors' homeland as well as Africa and the Caribbean.

Len has performed around the world and won many awards including the 2001 National Storytelling Network's Circle of Excellence Oracle Award. He's also published a number of books and CDs, of which you can find out more about at his website www.lencabral.com.




Storyteller Norah Dooley
American storyteller, author and educator Norah Dooley is well-known for her 1st person stories, historical presentations, and folktales. Many of her stories celebrate unity within diversity. She is the creator of StoriesLive® a high-school storytelling curriculum and a faculty member at Tufts University where she teaches storytelling to undergraduates. In 2014 Norah taught storytelling and language acquisition in Japan.

Norah grew up on Staten Island in a relatively rural area where she and her siblings played Robin Hood and Knights of the Round Table in the nearby woods. "We were ├╝ber geeks," she admits, "ever before there were geeks." At the age of 13, her family moved to Boston. After high school Norah attended university and it was while she was in graduate school that she was first introduced to storytelling. Learn more about Norah and her work at www.norahdooley.com.

Storyteller Donna Jacobs Sife
Donna Jacobs Sife is from Australia where she is a writer, storyteller and peace activist among other things. She has travelled widely throughout the world and much of her storytelling reflects the diversity of the cultures she's encountered as well as the common humanity of all of us.

Donna is a lecturer in Sacred Story at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. She is also an educator and performer involved with Judaism with regards to its rich history, culture, rituals and stories. She also uses story in her peace education work around the world.



Listen to these wonderful storytellers share their stories on the Teller and the Tale radio programme beginning on Sunday 22 May at 7am ET (Can/US) 12noon (UK/Ire) and 9pm (Australia). Rpt on Thursday at 4pm ET, 9pm UK, and 6am Friday in Australia. Only on Blues and Roots Radio at www.bluesandrootsradio.com.






Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Teller and the Tale featuring storyteller Peter Snow

Peter Snow, storyteller
Note: This show was originally scheduled to be broadcast the week of April 3rd. However, a change to the schedule means it will now go out on April 10th. This week will see a repeat of last week's show with Ottawa storyteller Dean Verger.

This week on The Teller and the Tale, host Michael Williams rewinds back to the beginning and features his very first guest storyteller -- Peter Snow.

"Peter had been one of my teaching colleagues for years, at the Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School," explains Michael, "and he'd always impressed me as a natural storyteller. When I began the show, Peter was my natural go-to guy to be my first guest."

Plagued with asthma as a boy, Peter remembers being told stories by his father to comfort him. Over the years, the asthma faded, but the stories remained. Adding to his love, in particular, of Brer Rabbit stories, Peter draws on his career as a psychiatric nurse in Scotland, a goatherd in Corsica as well as a teacher, for his stories. In recent years, he has made an intense study of Roslin Chapel and the numerous legends and stories that surround this iconic place, resulting in his recent publication "The Shifty Lad and other stories."

Listen to Peter share the adventure of his life as well as a story or two on The Teller and the Tale, beginning Sunday 10 April 2016 at 7am EST (Canada/US), 12noon (UK/Ireland), and 9pm in Australia. Repeated on Thursday - check www.bluesandrootsradio.com for details of times in your area.

Blues and Roots Radio
The Teller and the Tale

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Teller and the Tale features Ottawa storyteller Dean Verger, Week of March 27th

Singing at Rasputin's in the 80s
This week storyteller Dean Verger celebrated his 60th birthday so what better gift could we give him than to replay his interview with us (well, we couldn't give him world peace as much as we would've liked to).

Dean has been a stalwart force on the Ottawa storytelling scene for many years. He was the founder of Rasputin's (www.rasputins.ca), that iconic folk club known for launching and celebrating the careers of numerous singer-songwriters in the 70s like Sneezy Waters, David Whiffen, Ian Tamblyn and many others, and is still going strong, although a fire officially closed it in 2008. Its stage was also known as the place where many stories were told and shared and Dean was one of its most prolific storytellers.

Dean came to storytelling through his work as a writer, actor, and as programme producer. He has acted with Ottawa's Theater For Children, Orpheus, and Ottawa Little Theater. He has appeared at Centrepointe Theater, on stage at the National Arts Centre's Fourth Stage, and in the Museum of Nature. He has performed his original works on both radio and television, and across Canada at festivals, in schools, cafes, and libraries.

Listen to Dean Verger talk about his life and share a story on The Teller and the Tale only on Blues and Roots Radio. Starts on Sunday 27 March at 7am EST (Can/US) and 12noon (UK/Ireland) and 9pm (Australia). Repeated on Thursday at 4pm (Can/US), 9pm (UK/Ireland) and 6am Friday 28th March in Australia.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Teller and the Tale with Scots-French storyteller Fiona MacLeod

This week the Teller and the Tale rewinds to a previous programme with Scots-French storyteller Fiona MacLeod.

Fiona was born in Perthshire and raised there and in northern Ireland before following her grandmother's footsteps and heading off to France.

It was in Paris, 25 years ago, that Fiona first heard a storyteller. That experience hooked her and she's never looked back. Now living in the traditional village of Locronan, Fiona has made herself at home within storytelling circles, performing and giving workshops to children, young people, and adults.

Fiona is as passionate about the environment and our fellow creatures as she is about storytelling. She recently 'adopted' a donkey from a nearby sanctuary and often contributes her storytelling talents to raise awareness of environmental issues, including holding an annual week-long storytelling in nature workshop.

You can read more about Fiona's interests and storytelling on her Facebook site

https://www.facebook.com/fiona.macleod.storyteller

Fiona is an energetic traveller having taken her talents to North America, performing in Montreal, Canada among other places. Back in France, she's even followed in the footsteps (or donkey steps) of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, retracing much of his 19th-century journey around France.

Catch the show again on Sunday 6 March at 7am EDT (Can/US), 12noon (UK/Ire) and 9pm (Australia). Rpt again on Thursday 10 March at 4pm EDT (Can/US), 9pm (UK/Ire) and 6am on Friday 11 March in Australia.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Teller and the Tale features Canadian storyteller Karen Gummo

Storyteller Karen Gummo
Meet storyteller Karen Gummo. She lives in Calgary, Alberta in Canada and has been a storyteller and visual artist and a dedicated listener and lover of story for all of her days. Since 1986 she has been sharing favourite tales with willing audiences. Her Danish and Icelandic heritage provide her with countless sagas of the Vikings and of the humble folk of Scandinavia. Family members have been generous too in sharing tales of their adventures and so Karen continues to honour and to hone those remarkable stories.

Karen is very much involved in her local storytelling community. She's been instrumental in organising World Storytelling Day events and has been a long-standing member of both T.A.L.E.S. (The Alberta League Encouraging Storytelling) and the Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada).

Karen has performed on CBC radio, at museums, outdoor parks, hospitals, festivals and conferences across Canada. She has been a featured storyteller in schools, churches, community gatherings, and for hospice patients. Karen toured Newfoundland for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Book Week 10 years ago and traveled all the way to Iceland this year in the footsteps of her ancestors. Look for her stories of that marvelous journey.

Of late Karen has been performing in schools with the Young Alberta Book Society, at Lougheed House, and in the Olympic Plaza where she shared stories of Lady Isabella Lougheed. Her String Story workshops are popular with all ages. Karen regularly undertakes residencies in schools such as Monterey Park School in Calgary's N.E. where she helped students gather up family and cultural tales in some of their more than 40 home languages.

This fall we continue to remember our beloved friend and fellow story maker Orunamamu. Look at Karen's Blog for a remembrance of the wonderful Orunamamu; a Strong Woman with a tender listening ear. We shall celebrate her during our Calgary World Storytelling Day events in March of 2016. (updated from Karen's website at http://karengummo.squarespace.com/

Listen to Karen Gummon on the Teller and the Tale on Blues and Roots Radio

You can listen to Karen share her passion for story on Sunday 21 February 2016 at 7am EDT (Canada/US), 12noon (UK/Ireland) and 9pm (Australia) only on Blues and Roots Radio (www.bluesandrootsradio.co.uk).


Karen Gummo telling the story of Grettir the Strong

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stories of Near-Death Experiences

Author Anita Moorjani
Yesterday I was invited to join authors Anita Moorjani and Dr Eben Alexander on the BBC Worldservice to share and talk about near-death experiences. Both Moorjani and Alexander have published and spoken extensively on the subject. Dr Alexander is an American neurosurgeon who has shared his remarkable story in his book Proof of Heaven: a neurosurgeon's journey in the afterlife. I won't go into the details here but please learn more at http://www.ebenalexander.com/. Ms Moorjani has also risen to fame as a popular speaker and best-selling author through her book Dying to Be Me, her remarkable account of a miraculous recovery from cancer (http://www.anitamoorjani.com/).
Author Eben Alexander

By comparison, my story is mundane and nowhere near as dramatic; yet, like them, my near-death experience has had a profound effect on my life and I shared my thoughts with them in yesterday's programme, which you can listen to here.

As a result of this sharing of stories, I would like to invite you to share yours and, with your permission, share some of them on an upcoming Teller and the Tale programme dedicated to near-death stories.
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Invitation:
If you have had a near-death experience of any kind, please record in an .mp3 format and send to me using Dropbox (using email rjmwilliams@hotmail.com) or contact me to make arrangements. Stories should be approx 5-7 mins. Longer stories will be edited to allow for others. If there's lots of response, I may consider producing a follow-up show later in the year.
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I also understand if you'd rather not share your story. My experience occurred when I was 15 and I kept silent for many, many years. At the time, I was too scared of being punished by my parents or upsetting my grandparents (whose care I was in at the time). As far as I know, none of the other teens involved said anything and to this day I do not even know who the others were or who saved my life. It took nearly 25 years before I shared the story and only then with my wife. It had always seemed quite a private affair.

Yet after yesterday's sharing on the radio programme, I felt different. I thought that perhaps someone out there might feel a little less alone or reassured that whatever comes after this life (and I'm not entirely sure myself), it felt very peaceful and loving. And although their stories are very different, both Anita Moorjani and De Eben Alexander agreed.

What's your story?

Near-Death Experiences on the BBC Worldservice, 21 January 2016


Monday, January 18, 2016

Remembering storyteller Andy Hunter

Storyteller Andy Hunter (1954-2015)
This week on the Teller and the Tale, we remember storyteller Andy Hunter, who sadly passed away last January 2015. Andy was only 60 years young.

Andy will be remembered by his family and friends, of course, as well as many in the storytelling community. His appearances at the Scottish Storytelling Centre and the Guid Crack Club were always much loved. Andy was a consummate storyteller with a wry sense of humour. Like first-class storytellers, Andy could inform, entertain, and inspire all at the same time.

He applied his storytelling talents to his other love: bike riding. Andy was the founder of StoryBikes, taking folk out on bike journeys to different parts of the country and even across to Europe. Not only did you get much needed exercise and fresh air, but you got stories along the way, helping you experience the land and its history in an unique way.

In this week's episode (first broadcast last year), we hear Andy tell a couple of his favourite stories. As a number of people have already remarked, it's wonderful to hear Andy's voice again.

Broadcast times: Sunday 17 January 2016 at 7am EDT (Canada/US), 12 noon (UK/Ireland), and 9pm Australia.

Rpt on Thursday 21 January at 4pm EDT (Canada/US), 9pm (UK/Ireland) and 6am on Friday in Australia.

Only on Blues and Roots Radio, www.bluesandrootsradio.com