• Once you've heard your aged Jewish grandmother - who survived the Holocaust - tell a tale that can make you believe there's still magic, there's no going back." For Shonaleigh, there could never be any going back. Storytelling is in her blood. A dyslexic, she's a drut'syla, a storyteller in the Jewish tradition, and she sees that tradition as very much alive.Trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she graduated as the Best Interpretative Student, a talent that's been put to excellent use throughout her storytelling career. But while she harnesses the power of words, Shonaleigh was also one of the first to fuse story and music. "Just as a good story speaks to your heart and your emotions, music plucks at your soul. Within music there's an unwritten empathy with the words - a ballad is a story with music. Sometimes music underlines and supports the narrative. Music to a story is the way pictures are to a book. It gives it that depth and extra dimension." With a repertoire of over three thousand stories which can be adapted as appropriate for the theme and audience with whom she is working, Shonaleigh is a dedicated and committed storyteller who's expanding her tradition. She's performed in venues as varied as church halls and London's Albert Hall, the Barbican and forests, and at festivals around the U.K. (such as Hay-on-Wye, Whitby Folk Week, and Festival at the Edge, among many others) and throughout Europe. She also does a great deal of work in schools and among community groups, helping people - teenagers and the immigrant community - find their voices. Currently she's working on her most ambitious projects to date, Voiceless and Elijah's Violin, both of which will be premiered during 2005/2006. She's begun working with a new band, Javalaka, named for an ancient guild of merchants who worked across cultures, helping to protect each other, weaving their maps into story webs, offering friendship, accommodation and trust to their members. No records of the Javalaka remain, for nothing was ever written down ...everything was held orally, only the wisps of stories and the notes of a few tunes remain. Like breath in the air.

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  • May 2017

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        • 07 Sep 2017

          2017 Timpanogos Storytelling Festival -

          Lehi, UT view event