Cape Breton University, in partnership with Celtic Colours International Festival and CBC Cape Breton will launch Singing Storytellers on Friday, September 5 at the McConnell Public Library in Sydney.
Singing Storytellers is a multifaceted public outreach program that will bring together a diversity of local, national and international artists and scholars to celebrate the lives, music and verbal artistry of bards in our world. Singing Storytellers is facilitated through engagement with several local community groups and organization, and international institutions.
“Singing Storytellers puts Cape Breton, and Cape Breton University, on the global stage,” says Marcia Ostashewski, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Communities and Cultures, and project lead. “It’s bringing international artists, scholars and audiences to our island. Musical traditions from five different continents are part of this project, traditions that connect with the histories and heritage of the diverse cultures of our communities. This changes the look of Cape Breton, how we think about this island. It changes it from a place that is known for one culture, and opens up the narrative to the very complex present that we have here. Singing Storytellers provides us an opportunity to honour the diverse peoples of our region – those who have been here for millennia, as well as those who have come and have stayed here.”
As part of the project, an international interdisciplinary symposium will be held October 9-12 in conjunction with Celtic Colours International Festival and hosted by CBU. Celtic Colours events featuring Singing Storytellers artists include concerts Bards of the World at the Boardmore Playhouse on Sunday, October 12 and Whitney Pier Welcome on Monday, October 13. Other Celtic Colours events associated with the symposium include Singing Storytellers at the Library–a day filled with films, workshops, talks and demonstrations about the lives, music and verbal artistry of bards in our world on Thursday, October 9 at the McConnell Library; A Life in Story and Song featuring Irish traditional singers Seán Ó Sé and Lillis Ó Laoire, and a film created by ethnomusicologist Matthew Allen on Thursday, October 9 at the Sydney Curling Club; and Capt. John Smith Goes to Ukraine, a multi-media comedy/musical/historical epic-in-an-hour play featuring bandurist Julian Kytasty and poet Bob Holman on Saturday, October 11 at CBU’s Boardmore Playhouse.
“The success of Singing Storytellers, a project that enjoys the widespread support and partnership of many local organizations, industries and businesses, is also about Cape Breton University being an economic driver,” adds Ostashewski. “It’s a prime example of how CBU often leads changes that create an environment for economic development. This helps to strengthen CBU’s position as an international player. We’re tremendously excited about welcoming international, national and local visitors to the symposium events this October – all of whom will, together with us, be creating new and exciting stories about Cape Breton, about our communities, and about our university.”
The public is invited to attend the launch from 4-6 pm where Wendy Bergfeldt of CBC Cape Breton will broadcast the launch live-to-air on CBC Mainstreet.