Porch Song

Storytellers make Cain Park look like teh front of your house.

The Cleveland Association of Black Storytellers hosts Tales From the Porch at Cain Park tonight. And just in case the talking-animal fables don’t tip you off, “Some of the stories are not so real,” says spokeswoman Judy Bateman. “It’s an old African American tradition of the South -- families would sit on the porch after supper and tell stories. It’s a form of entertainment.”

Tonight’s production features readings by folk drummer and performance artist Baba Jamal Koram, who’ll combine vivid verbal imagery with customary call-and-response techniques. “It’s all based on the tradition [of sharing] history by word-of-mouth,” says Bateman. “[Koram] can take the simplest story and capture the interest of any audience.” Madame Griotte also will read. Bateman says the tales about curious bunnies and determined ancestors aren’t just for kids; they’re living history lessons for everyone. “It’s important to preserve the storytelling tradition, so our children and future generations can know and appreciate their culture,” she says. “It is also important to know where we come from in order to know where we want to go. We all have a story, and we must tell it to keep it alive.”
Fri., July 6, 7:30 p.m.