#8 – Faith & Fortune – Art & Ability

Do you remember Tom? Sitting in Amy’s kitchen? Well, Tom told me about a storytelling evening in Llangollen. Next day – on Tuesday.

Fiona Eadie & Hannah Moore (mother & daughter)

A nice evening. I felt very much at home. I knew many of the stories and have told most of them myself. And that’s where it gets interesting! Stories that are so familiar to me being shaped differently.

After Llangollen I’m heading on to the Llyn Peninsula, to Felin Uchaf.

What a special place!

Dafydd Davies-Hughes together with his family and the whole community has created something extraordinary. This charity project has recultivated the land. They have built roundhouses with the material being available in the area. They grow vegetables, sell them and offer them as delicious meals in the café.

Dafydd has grown up with stories

His Grandmother had been an endless source of folktales. No wonder that Dafydd has grown into a truly exhilarating storyteller. Actually, Dafydd is a craftsman, an ecological activist, a project manager, someone who makes dreams come true.

One dream he made come true is the roundhouse that has been built for storytelling specifically. There is a fire burning in the middle of the roundhouse. Different kinds of seats are arranged around it in circles. A fascinating location – pure atmosphere!

This is where Dafydd is telling stories

... if he’s not telling them somewhere else in Europe. And this is where all the big names have already been. Every week (!) there is a storytelling evening. Every week there will be 50-120 people coming to listen, to laugh, to awe. The people come to the middle of nowhere. You must travel lots of tiny streets with hardly any houses to get here. Here you don’t get to by chance. Here you really want to have to come to.
Sitting here on a Sunday evening at the fire, savouring Dafydd’s stories I get the magic that keeps bringing people here.

Dafydd is a full body storyteller He fills the whole roundhouse with his way of telling. He also told a few stories that I know or tell myself. But Dafydd again finds a totally different life in them. That really is fascinating!

The day before his storytelling event I get the chance to have a chat with Davydd.

We soon land on the subject that seems to be dominating this trip so far

Why isn’t storytelling as popular as it should be? Dafydd confirms what Mike had already made very clear: Nobody here can live on storytelling alone. Dafydd’s approach to explaining this is very interesting, though.
Storytelling maybe one of the oldest forms of art, but it has always been free. Storytellers my have a patron at court, but never would somebody pay to listen to a story. The common folk couldn’t afford such luxuries anyway. So, is it in our genes that we rather get a story told for free?

So, why is it that even here this artform is rather unknown?

Doesn’t this country have a more living history with storytelling? “Yest it does”, Dafydd confirms. But it was really getting close to becoming history. To die out. From the last smoulders of the ashes today’s storytelling scene has been erected. It saved the stories, took it out of the living rooms onto the stages and into the roundhouses.

So, what can we do to leverage storytelling to the popularity that it deserves?

“Carry the stories into the world und let them do their work”, is Dafydd’s advise.
Well, that definitely works in Felin Uchaf!

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