Traditional Tales of the Caribbean
Virgin Island Storytellers, Dr. Lois Hassell-Habtes and Glen “Kwabena” Davis
at 3 PM on Sunday, September 17, 2023
at the Charlene Larsen Center for the Performing Arts
588 16th St, Astoria, Oregon
Sponsored by Peace First Lutheran Church
The event is free and donations will be accepted
Storyteller Master Class Saturday, Sept. 16, 1-4 pm
“Life lessons as taught by a spider” – Many children of the Virgin Islands or the wider Caribbean have sat spellbound by the legendary tales of Anansi the Spider, a popular folk hero who uses wit and creativity to maneuver himself out of danger. Known as Anansi Stories, these tales were brought to the Caribbean and North America by the Ashanti people of Ghana, West Africa. The stories survived the slave trade and have been handed down through the generations. Anansi is an ‘ancient spiderman’ who is sometimes depicted as a bald-headed man with six arms-who has the transformative powers.
Culture bearer, Glen “Kwabena” Davis was inspired in the ’50s by hearing traditional tales from family members and considers Anansi stories to be “one of our greatest gifts to the new world.” These tales are part of a larger tradition of storytelling, in which listeners are left with inspiration that can be applied to their own lives. Glenn Davis is a native Virgin Islander, born and raised in St. Thomas. He is a graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Virgin Islands.
On a recent visit to St. Thomas, members from the Peace First Lutheran congregation in Astoria met author and storyteller Dr Lois Hassell-Habtes, experienced her music and stories, and invited her to visit Astoria. She is a much beloved educator, musician, and leader in the cultural scene in St. Thomas, and an active member of the oldest church in the ELCA, Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church (1666). Dr. Habtes is the author of Under the Big Tree: Traditional Tales of the Caribbean and Beyond—Broo ‘Nansi and the Tar Baby., (Little Bell Caribbean; 2016).