Featured Tellers



The 38th “In the Tradition...” Annual National

Black Storytelling Festival and Conference

In The Footsteps of Our Ancestors!







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April Armstrong has been a featured teller at the Hudson River Clearwater,
The Mohegan, and the Connecticut College Festivals. She won the 2020 National Storyteller Network’s J.J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award and the Bronx Council for the Arts’ BRIO Award for Storytelling. Her CD, The Cat Came Back won a Parent’s Choice Award. With her jazz trio she has performed her Stories and Songs with a Jazzy Twist at the legendary Apollo Theater and Florida’s Kravis Arts Center. 




Deborah Asante is a storytelling and performance artist based in Indianapolis. A practitioner of her art form for more than 20 years, Deborah has worked with Arts for Learning for more than 10 years. In her performances, Deborah uses words to paint pictures, transporting young audiences to different locations and eras throughout history. “I work hard to ensure that the words I choose and the timbre of my voice will connect with the listener’s imagination and easily pull them into a shared experience of the story,” she says. Throughout her career, Deborah has received numerous awards, including the Aesop Cup for Tall Tales and the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the National Association of Black Storytellers. The Arts Council of Indianapolis has also honored her twice as a Creative Renewal Arts Fellow. “Storytelling seeds the imagination and strengthens vocabulary,” she says. “I always hope to inspire children to tell their own stories and deepen their appreciation stories and literature
in general. Students are always reachable, even when it appears



Len Cabral is an internationally acclaimed storyteller who has been enchanting audiences with his storytelling performances at schools, libraries, museums and festivals since 1976. A great grandson of a Cape Verdean whaler whose grandparents immigrated to America from the islands off the coast of West Africa, Len’s strong Cape Verdean ancestry comes alive in his exuberant retelling of African, Cape Verdean, and Caribbean folktales as well as original stories and tales from around the world. Len is a popular storyteller at theaters, schools and festivals throughout the United States and has performed at festivals in Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Holland and Canada. He is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network 2001 Circle of Excellence Oracle Award. The author of a children’s book for young readers and contributing to several folktale collections, Len also has five Cd’s and audio cassettes featuring a wide range of his favorite stories, several receiving NAPPA and Parents’ Choice awards. For teachers, librarians, caregivers, and aspiring storytellers, “Len Cabral’s Storytelling Book,” is an excellent resource on how to begin telling stories, filled with 22 stories from around the world with telling and teaching guides, storytelling games and an extensive bibliography.


  Chetter Galloway    CHETTER GALLOWAY

Storyteller Chetter Galloway is as raconteur of African and African-American stories. He is a native of Suffolk, VA, the youngest of ten children and remembers his father telling stories on road trips. He first experienced the power of storytelling at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Williamsburg, VA. He honed his craft at East Tennessee State University in their Masters of Storytelling Program. Chetter has worked with the Woodruff Arts Center, the SC Arts Commission, and Better Basics Enrichment Program of Birmingham, AL. He has recorded (3) storytelling CDs: Evil Knows Where Evil Sleeps, Fresh Squeezed Carrot Juice, & A Story, A Story, Let It Come, Let It Come. Chetter has performed across the country at notable venues such as: Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta Dogwood Festival, The Fernbank Museum, The High Museum of Fine Art, The National Black Arts Festival, & The Smithsonian. His programs are perfect for schools, churches, family reunions, civic groups, holiday celebrations, assisted living homes,and more. Chetter is a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, National Storytelling Network, Kuumba
Storytellers of Georgia, and the Southern Order of Storytellers. Engaging and entertaining, Chetter invites you to Feel the Rhythm & Live the Story!



Toni Simmons, author and storyteller, graduated from Fisk University, where she majored in speech and drama. After receiving a Master’s degree in Library Science, she began working as a children’s librarian combining her knowledge of children’s literature and creative drama in storytelling sessions. As a professional storyteller, she brings to the stories, new life with the use of rhythms, songs, and audience participation, which places them in the story. Her work appeals to audiences of all ages, young and old, and includes a wide variety of literature from different cultures. community centers, and theaters, and has worked with teachers helping them to incorporate the arts into their curricula.
The Cheese Chase: Why Dogs Chase Cats, an I-Parenting Media Award winner, is Toni’s first book. Her video recording, Stories Alive: African and African-American Folktales won the Parents’ Choice and Parent Council Awards.

Toni now also serves as director of the Zula B. Wylie Public Library in Cedar Hill, Texas.



Mitch Capel / “Gran’daddy Junebug”, is a master storyteller, recording artist, published author, and poet. He is mesmerizing as he brings stories to life, while plucking the string with just the touch, the human heart craves. Mitch, who first began writing and performing skits at the age of 12 and has over 35 hours of stories stored to memory, has also been described as a “word magician”, a “national treasure”, “unexpectedly powerful” and a “transformer of lives”. He has been featured at numerous schools, libraries, museums and festivals since 1985 including the DuSable in Chicago; The Kennedy Center in DC; The National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN; The Smithsonian’s 2009 Folklife Festival on the National Mall and The Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama. He has been the Artist-In-Residence at the International Storytelling Center and is the national interpreter of poet laureate Paul Laurence Dunbar. He has received awards from local, state and national organizations for his amazing storytelling skills, his contributions to his community and his work with youth all over the United States.



Nothando Zulu is a Master storyteller and Performance Artist, who has been sharing with audiences since 1976. She shares stories that entertain, educate, motivate and inspire. She has performed in many venues as she draws from an extensive resource
of colorful, often funny characters whose antics and follies leave audiences pondering their own 
life’s lessons. She is a Roster artist with COMPAS, Givens and (in the past)
Young audiences. She and her husband 
with the help of their Board of Directors has
produced a three-day storytelling festival, “Signifyin’ & Testifyin’” since 1991.
is also a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grand mother, community and political
activist who believes in 
the power of stories.



Diane FerlatteDIANE FERLATTEAs a youngster Diane was steeped in the oral tradition. Her early childhood years in Louisiana were spent on her grandparent's porch with the family and neighbors swapping stories, lies, and tales. After moving to California as an adolescent, Diane has fond memories of the annual trek back to Louisiana
with her family, where she recalls fishing in the 
bayou, making hoecake bread, singing, and storytelling. Her raconteur father would invariably lead the way with family news and history. As she grew older,Diane played the piano and sang in church choirs, performed in various stage productions, and became proficient in American Sign Language, all of which contributed to a completely unforeseen career in storytelling. The seed for this career was planted in 1980, after Diane and her husband Tom adopted their second child. Four-year-old Joey was a boy who had been raised in a series of foster homes in front of a TV set. Diane soon realized that the nightly reading of stories that was eagerly anticipated by her daughter Cicely was absolutely of no interest to Joey. Committed to breaking him from TV and increasing his readiness for school, Diane started to story read/tell in the style for which she is so well known today, i.e., dynamic characterization with animation, expression, and interaction Diane has wowed audiences across the globe from Graz, Austria, to Auckland, New Zealand. She has toured and performed internationally many times over, including Holland, France, Bermuda, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia.Diane has visited almost every
state in the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska, to perform at major festivals, theaters, conferences,
universities, schools, libraries, senior
centers, detention facilities, churches---you name it.
Diane continues to be very busy, but now that her children are grown, (at least they think so), she hopes to find some time to do more recording and perhaps publish a book or two.




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