Oba William King: Traditional Folk Artist, Interactive Storyteller, Teaching Artist, and Master Cultural Arts presenter. He offers programs for all ages and cultures, incorporating original music, Vocals by Co - Artist Lisa J Williams White, and traditional African Drumming by Master Drummer Mark Vaughn. Oba is an Ethnic Folk Arts Master / Apprentice Award and Traditional Folk Arts fellowship recipient. He is a touring roster artist from Chicago, Illinois presenting programs throughout the midwest with a performance base in DFW Texas present throughout Mid America. He is the author of highly popular children's books for early readers, Firefly and Little Star, as well as R.E.A.D. and Other Story Poems. His original Stories Ancestors, Drum, I Love My People, How The Stars Got up-in the Sky, The Water Fountain, and The night before Kwanzaa are favorite tales for audiences across America.
Oba's workshops, residency programs, and family reading night activities have been presented at George HW Bush Presidential Library, Jonesborough International Storytelling Center, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Sun Foundation, and schools, libraries, colleges, cultural centers, and festivals too numerous to list.
Oba's primary goals in creating and presenting storytelling programs for all ages are to inspire, unite, educate, and entertain.
https://artsforillinois.org/posts/counting-w-djembe - "Counting with Djembe" Designed as interactive storytelling for the online classroom. Oba immediately engages the listener with his description of the African Instrument, teaching while presenting the rhythm of the drum. Oba keeps the listeners' attention by creatively using the art of "Call and Response" while counting one to ten in multiple languages"”including the African Language of Kiswahili. Throughout the sample video, Oba is instinctively combining the skill set of a traditional folk artist. In the video linked to this application, Oba introduces one of his original children's stories "Obalina Williamina The World's Most Beautiful Ballerina." He is giving the audience a special treat, with his poetic style, they too are the storyteller - utilizing familiar rhymes. Oba presents for all ages and cultures including Senior Adults, Family Audiences, Tweens, and Teens. He is an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award Recipient, a Midwest Master Storyteller, Mid America Touring Artist, and English Language Arts Teaching Artist. More information is available via his website and YouTube Oba William King
My work sample, Counting w/ Djembe, defines my purpose as a teaching artist applying the techniques of storytelling to educate and entertain.
I began presenting school assembly and library programs as a local actor in Chicago's Community Theaters. As a new artist, I applied for and won a Master / Apprentice Arts Council grant to study the art of storytelling with native Illinois Artist Oscar Brown Jr. With the opportunity to train with a true master of the arts and a cultural icon I began to use learned techniques to produce and present interactive storytelling performances, booking programs across Illinois and Midwest through my listing in the Arts Tour Roster. I joined the National Storytelling Circuit and was invited to perform at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tn. Through support from IAC - I was recruited by The Sun Foundation in Peoria, Il and for 12 years I have been a featured Teaching Artist for Arts and Science in the Woods, and The Clean Water Celebration. The contacts and connections developed through these engagements have allowed me to visit small towns, locals schools, and public libraries throughout the state since 1996.
To Inspire and Unite. As a teaching artist and performer, I am keenly aware of the importance of gaining the listeners' attention. In the moments of presentation, we have a unique opportunity to uplift, encourage, and use our creativity to share positive energy. Through Storytelling, Poetry, Spoken Word, and the rhythm of the drum I try to focus on the needs of the students, sharing stories of historic accomplishments, teaching through tidbits of wit and wisdom, shining a light on kindness and empathy to motivate participants and listeners to become their best selves.
Programs for Specific Audience(s) Expertise
Early Childhood and Elementary: interactive fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and sing-a-long songs.
Upper Elementary: Rhyming Stories, Rhythm Tales, and Imagination Stories.
Tweens: Poetry, Story Songs, She-roes and Heroes, Character Tales,
From Page to Stage.
Teens: History Comes To Life, Biography Stories, Spoken Word, and
From pPage to Stage
Family Stories: All Above
Seniors - Spinnin' a Yarn, Historical Tales, and Audience Engagement.
The process begins with a conversation with the potential client. We discuss the goal of their desired booking. The theme of their event, the anticipated age of the audience, and the number of participants. Based on the client's ideas, I begin to form the arch of the content for the production.
The most specific programs generally are for Teens and Seniors (When the opportunity presents itself, I like to engage these groups together). They each require specificity to engage. Once in Sterling, Illinois, I was asked to present a program for the community to involve seniors and teens in a workshop session and performance presentation. I created "Building Bridges" featuring three stories - Aesop's Bundle of Sticks "¢ Old Joe The Carpenter, and The Eagles Who Thought They Were Chickens. After each Story, We had Q & A.
Traditional Folk/Ethnic Artform Statement
As an African American, Black Man - Storytelling plays a valuable role in connecting our culture to its heritage by teaching lessons, answering questions, and connecting us to history. We can trace the importance of storytelling, to the early villages of Africa, through the Art of Storytelling we learn about the vast beauty of the World's 2nd largest continent, we can share the stories of the wisdom of our elders and the magnificence of original man. Through storytelling, we learn of the power of speaking in code, through songs known as negro spirituals, and through the art of quilting.
I share the tradition of storytelling to encourage my community to try their best while telling the stories of Brer Rabbit or keep their eyes on the prize through the warnings in the story of the Snake. We can share important discussions about our history through stories like The People Can Fly, and inspire young people with the sing song-poem; Hey Black Child. During the past years of presenting storytelling I've learned to find my own voice, in sharing stories like - We Are Connected, The Ancestors Drum, I Love My People, Firefly and Little Star, R.E.A.D., and The Night Before Kwanzaa.
Oba William King: Poetic Storyteller
5801 Main St
Downers Grove, IL 60516
Oba King / Lisa Joyce
$500 - $2,500