JOHNSON CITY — Renowned storyteller, narrator, singer and traditional instrumentalist Charlotte Blake-Alston will perform “Ehsoti: Standing on Tradition” at East Tennessee State University on Thursday, Aug. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Bud Frank Theatre.
“Ehsoti” is a program of traditional stories and songs that have become the hallmark of Blake-Alston’s repertoire, blended with glimpses of the childhood influences that shaped her life.
She says a special parent-child bond was formed during her childhood and formative years in the 1950s and ’60s. While her African-American community was maligned from without, her father “spoon-fed her its cultural riches and treasures from within the circle of home and hearth,” and this backdrop “became the soil that fed the storyteller she eventually became,” she adds.
Blake-Alston, who hails from Philadelphia, has headlined venues throughout North America and abroad. Her solo performances are enhanced with such traditional instruments as djembe, mbira, shekere and 21-stringed kora. She is the first storyteller to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra on both its Family and Student concert series, and she has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, the National Festival of Black Storytelling, and regional festivals throughout the country.
Her appearance is part of the 2012 ETSU Summer Storytelling Institute Concert Series. While at ETSU, she will give master classes on topics in the art of storytelling.
She is also the featured guest artist for the ETSU/Umoja Storytelling Festival-Institute, a Johnson City tradition since 2005. She will appear on the Gazebo Storytelling Stage of the Johnson City Umoja Festival between Main and Market streets in downtown Johnson City on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11, between 4-7 p.m., along with faculty and students from the ETSU Master’s Degree Program in Storytelling.
All ages are welcome for her performances at both ETSU and the Umoja Festival Storytelling Stage.
Tickets for Blake-Alston’s ETSU concert are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. The Bud Frank Theatre is located on the ground floor of Gilbreath Hall.
For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, call Dr. Joseph Sobol, coordinator of the ETSU Storytelling Program, at 439-7863 or firstname.lastname@example.org.