Programs and Stories - Irishteller

Cathy Jo Smith
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Programs and Stories

What are my programs like?    
         I prefer to mix history and folklore, stories and  songs. For example, a typical St Patrick's Day program would start with  why the Irish tell so many tales of the Good People and their unpredictability, a leprechaun or pooka tale, a song from folklore, a  bit about the good saint Himself and how he came to be so honored in Ireland and a final song. Halloween programs include a history of the  holiday from New Year celebration to dealing with fear, Christmas-time brings appropriate stories and a more general program might look at how the Irish came to America and why there are eight times as many Irish-Americans as there are folks in Ireland today.
Whether the tales are from Ireland or...        
       from the Irish-American experience, my wish is to be able to share my love of the heritage of the Celtic folk.           
Are they ALL Irish tales?       
         Well, yes and no, in a manner of speaking. You  see, the Irish and their cousins the Scots were a major source of the settlers in the Appalachian Mountains. You can hear their influence in  the music, the speech and the tales of the Hills. And these tales are also a part of my background. For example, "Jack and the Giant of  Robinson's Mountain", a tale I wrote for a performance at the Ohio State Fair, is based on the Jack-tales of Europe and Appalachia.

Others,  like "The Sky-Foogle of Chillicothe" are American folk tales. And then there are the tales that are more exaggerated...okay, the are out and out LIES, but that's another story...
You sing, too?        
Yes, a bit. Folksongs like "De Luain, De  Mairt" (Monday, Tuesday), traditional songs like "Molly Malone" (in  English or Irish), some that bridge the old and new worlds like  "Connamara Cradle Song/Down in the Valley" or the totally American "When  Irish Eyes are Smiling" and "Arkansas Traveller".

I've even written a lyric or two, myself...

To see me tell "Seanin the Piper" (approx 8 minutes), click here

O'Sullivan's Cascade
This gentle waterfall is one of my favorite places in Ireland;
part of Tomie's Woods in Killarney National Park.
It is not easy to reach, but worth the effort and then some!
And it was here Someone played a bit of a joke on me, but that's a story to itself...
And what kind of tales do you tell?        
         I tell traditional folk stories from Ireland,  pulling from a variety of sources. I also have original tales in the  traditional mode--particularly the "Seamus McSeamus" tales.

Seamus  was a wanderer, a rover, a traveling man, if you will, back in the days  of "once upon a time". He walked the hills and valleys of Ireland as  much for the fun of it as anything else for he was the sort of person who enjoyed having adventures. And as you know, that is precisely the  sort of person to whom adventures happen...
Where have you told?              
I've told for church groups and libraries, social and business groups plus festivals.
Here are a few of the places I've been--
Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival
Kansas City Irish Fest
Michigan Irish Music Festival
Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest
Manheim Celtic Fling
Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival
Ohio Order For the Preservation of Storytelling Conference
Storytellers of Central Ohio Fireside Tales and Tellabration
National Storytelling Network Conference

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