Mama Edie

 

Mama Edie McLoud Armstrong has been called the “Singing, SIGNING, Spanish-Speaking, Storytelling, Percussion Playing Speech Pathologist. Knowing in 1998 that the time had come for Chicago to have its own collective of Black Storytellers, along with D. Kucha Brownlee, Mama Edie became Founding Co-Chair of Ase: The Chicago Association of Black Storytellers. She served for 9 years as the National Membership Chair of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc. and as interim board member for Illinois Storytelling, Inc (its foundation having been laid by storyteller Jim May). Prior to performing professionally, Mama Edie provided speech and language therapy services, workshops and seminars in a variety of settings for students, parents, and administrators for over 30 years. Realizing how little her children and adult clients knew about themselves as valuable members of their cultural groups, the city, nation and the world, Mama Edie began addressing these matters within her speech and language programs, in seminars and workshops. As her clients’ low self-esteem and lack of personal and cultural knowledge became apparent, Mama Edie began to write personal stories, folk tales, poetry and songs tailored to meet these needs. Colleagues began requesting performances in other settings. From that point, more than 30 years ago, Mama Edie’s profession as a storyteller has continued to grow primarily by word of mouth. Among the highlights of her career have been helping audiences of all ages and cultures to see and love their own natural beauty and power like many had never seen before; increasing the understanding and appreciation for the cross-cultural connections we have as One Same Family; serving Spanish-speaking and culturally blended communities in the US, also being invited in 2019 as the featured storyteller for a festival in Tamaulipas, Mexico; and being invited as a fully funded guest to an international peace conference in Iraq in 2017.  The journey continues…

 

Member Affiliations

Delta Sigma Theta; IL Speech, Language and Hearing Assoc.; Nat'l Storytelling Network; Las Caras Lindas; Drum Divas; Nat'l Black Child Dev't Institute.

 

Audience

Pre-Schools - universities, museums, arts festivals, hospitals, temporary shelters, senior facilities, prisons, corporate sector (i.e. Argonne Nat’l Laboratories, Inland Steel, Sara Lee, Quaker Oats, the National Railroad Retirement Board, YMCA)

 

Story Types

Folk tales; original fiction; personal, spiritual and historical stories; most drawn from African and Native American ancestries; cultural stories from around the world; STEAM stories (that incorporate science, technology, engineering, art and math).

 

Story Programs

ǃCuentos y Canciones!

These interactive performances blend Spanish and English in stories, games and songs from Latin American cultures. Audiences learn the importance of speaking another language in stories, such as the Cuban Folktale of a mouse who saved her family’s life by learning to speak “Dog”! Audience members will experience the pleasure of enjoying other cultures and seeing that learning each other’s language together isn't as hard as they might have thought! And so much FUN!!

 

The Magic of the Talking Drum!

Experience the famous Talking Drum of West Africa! Audiences will begin to understand how a drum can actually talk and has even saved lives! They too will learn to make the drum SPEAK!!  Stories from West African countries, the Caribbean Islands, the Americas and First Nations cultures will be shared around their use of the drum. The many ways that these cultures remain connected today will also be explored.

 

History, Mystery & Cultural Pride!

With multi-cultural instruments and dolls, this program energetically relives the lives and events of world history that many people probably never knew and in rather unique ways. They TOO become a part of the story and come to see how they are connected to history, why knowledge of history and their connection to it matters and why they too are an important part of history right now. Some programs may include video or photo images from Mama Edie’s world travels.

 

From STEM to STEAM: Stories & Songs of Science, Technology, Engineering, ART and Math

These stories demystify the often elusive comprehension of the areas of study in this title. Through story, music, silence, movement and sound, children will learn to embrace these subjects as exciting pathways to a rich and fulfilling life vs  running from them as though from predators preventing their progress.

 

Finding My Own Beauty, Power and Light

These stories will explore, “What is the essence of beauty?”  They will address (without direct reference) the historically conditioned perception of darker complexions being by definition less than beautiful. They will celebrate the natural assets and often denied physical beauty of children of darker hues, for whom many have never learned to see their rich, unique beauty and light. It will also include the true story of the child in Mali, West Africa, born with polio but who later learned to walk and became the wealthiest ruler in the world: the first Emperor of Mali – the Lion King!

 

Does Workshops?

Yes

 

Workshop Descriptions

Bring Out the Storyteller in YOU!

This program is designed to give participants time to BE the storyteller! They will be guided through story starters, plot and character development, vocal dynamics, facial and other bodily expressions, creating short chants and melodies to support the story. They will also examine why certain stories are selected to be told. (8 years thru adults)

 

Crack the Code!

To effectively communicate thoughts, feelings and ideas in ANY situation is like gold!  While creating stories, poetry and songs, participants will become detectives as they figure out how to “crack the code,” moving from cultural dialects to Standard English and back again without sacrificing cultural identity or pride. (8 years thru adults.  Private adult sessions may also be scheduled.)

 

One Same Family: Social and Environmental Justice

Explore what it feels like to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”  This program includes true stories, folktales, poetry, video and music to inspire participants to see all of creation as family and to stand up for justice in every day ways. They will learn techniques to create a harmonious and productive environment at home, in school, in the community or in the work place.

 

Age Range

Pre K, K-12, Teens, Adults

 

Will Travel

Yes

© 2019 ASE: The Chicago Association of Black Storytellers, All rights reserved. PO Box 802834, Chicago, Illinois 60680

 

The November conference pre-festival gala is supported in part by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

© 2019 ASE: The Chicago Association of Black Storytellers, All rights reserved. PO Box 802834, Chicago, Illinois 60680

 

The November conference pre-festival gala is supported in part by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.