Jennings & Ponder

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Storytelling-- artistic colloquial narrative speech-- is a deeply rooted living Vermont tradition, from blacksmith shop to auto garage, from stoveside to folk festival.

Tim and Leanne are master storytellers who have performed across North America and abroad, but whose artistic development has been most strongly shaped through three decades of performing for rural New Englanders. Some of their shorter pieces they discovered "live," still in oral circulation in New England families.

They tell many kinds of stories, but all are traditional folk, and every program features at least one solid example of their main love, Marchen. That's the folklorists' word for the perpetually endangered tradition of fantastic unauthored oral tales about (for example):

  • youngest children,
  • roadside wonders,
  • wicked monarchs,
  • the obsessed and the fated,
  • fools, rogues, lovers and magic, and
  • things that go bump in the night

They tell together, their voices intertwining and overlapping in a kind of narrative counterpoint, a compelling alloy of technique and soul. Their physical presence is natural and animated, and very expressive. Harp and concertina weave music into the tale-spinning. Sometimes there's an old family ballad or parlor song. Humor, suspense, pathos and exhilaration all play together, with elements of chataqua, lyceum, and vaudeville.

This material is timeless, and ageless. Real storytellers, on the other hand, have always been very much people of their own day, performing for the people of their day. Generations of Vermont audiences have agreed: Tim and Leanne are the real McCoy.

"If you have ever wondered whether storytelling can be absolutely fascinating, give this duo a try-- they are brilliant!" FolkWorld Magazine
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