Hear From Diverse Storytellers at Funda Fest

For twenty-one years, Rhode Island Black Storytellers has hosted the event for listeners of all ages.
funda fest
Storyteller Abigail “Ifatola” Jefferson will take part in this year’s Funda Fest.

Storytelling isn’t just for children. That’s why for the past twenty-one years, Rhode Island Black Storytellers holds Funda Fest for people of all ages to celebrate the poetry, culture and traditions of Africa. Funda, which translates in the South African language Zulu to mean “to teach and to learn,” recognizes the power of creativity and storytelling in keeping history and traditions alive through generations. With performers such as Ron Daise from the ’90s TV show “Gullah, Gullah Island,” storyteller Abigail “Ifatola” Jefferson and hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon, Funda Fest shares the spirit and culture of Africa through educational programs, concerts and more. “I’m really interested in broadening that understanding of what storytelling is,” says Funda Fest founder, Valerie Tutson. “It locates you in a tradition and shows you that whatever you’re experiencing now is not new; it’s as old as humankind.” Funda Fest starts on Saturday, January 26, at the Westerly Public Library with a workshop and various performances. The rest of the week is filled with words and music, storytelling programs in schools across the state, a family concert at the Woonsocket YWCA and the Liar’s Contest at the Providence Fireman’s Hall. Funda Fest comes to a close on February 2 with a Family Fun Day with workshops, performances and an open mic at the Southside Cultural Center. Funda Fest is rooted in African tradition. “Find yourself wrapped up and engaged in a way that will definitely leave you feeling inspired,” Tutson says, “and probably challenged to think about things in a new way, but ultimately uplifted.” ribsfest.org