TAKE YOUR VACATION WITH ODDS BODKIN AUDIO TALES

TAKE YOUR VACATION WITH ODDS BODKIN AUDIO TALES

 28 HOURS OF AMAZING STORYTELLING

Odds Bodkin tells stories with character voices, live music, humor and lots of love. If you want to enrich and entertain your kids while building their imaginations and ethics, here’s a great gift idea: the MASTER DRIVE.

Buy it, plug the USB in and scroll through the 22 age-coded albums. Load the appropriate titles onto your kids’ devices and watch them grow quiet, deep in a world of fascination.

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

THE ALBUMS

 

– The Odyssey: An Epic Telling (4 hrs)

– The Teacup Fairy: Very Old Tales for Very Young Children (43 mins)

– The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature (40 mins)

– With Twinkle in your Eye: Funny Folktales from Everywhere (43 mins)

– Rip Roarin’ Paul Bunyan Tales (44 mins)

– The Winter Cherries: Holiday Tales from Around the World (1 hr 6 mins)               

– The Blossom Tree: Tales from the Far East (56 mins)

– The Wise Little Girl: Tales of Strong, Smart Girls (47 mins)

– Giant’s Cauldron: Viking Myths of Adventure (1 hr 7 mins)

– Stories of Love (1 hr 4 mins)

– Dark Tales of the Supernatural (1 hr 48 mins)

– Voyage of the Waistgold (Ages 18+) (2 hrs 44 mins)

– The Rage of Hercules (1 hr 40 mins)

– The Old Man Speaks: A White Mountains History (1 hr 11 mins)

– The Adventures of Little Proto (52 mins)

– Little Proto’s T-Rex Adventure (1 hr 13 mins)

– Little Proto and the Volcano’s Fire (1 hr 13 mins)

– Earthstone: The Eco-Musical (2 hrs)

– The Hidden Grail: Sir Percival and the Fisher King (1.5 hrs)

– David and Goliath: The Harper and the King (1 hr)

– Beowulf: The Only One (Live at Grendel’s Den) (1 hr 21 mins)

– Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants (Live at Grendel’s Den) (80 mins)

 

The Iliad: Book I (50-minute video)

 

Original Musical Compositions on Acoustic Instruments and Kurzweil synthesizer:

Rapunzel’s Window

At Beauty’s Door

Black Irish

Soft-Hearted Men in the Good Old USA

Little Paws

Christmas Morning

The Great Irish Elk

 

ORDER NOW

 

A Storyteller’s Guide to Accessing the Muse

A STORYTELLER’S GUIDE TO ACCESSING THE MUSE

As a professional storyteller, in the past I’ve told stories that last four hours. Often, after long story performances, people ask me, “How did you memorize all that?” My answer is always the same: “I don’t memorize anything. I work with my Muse.”

All right, you might ask, what is the Muse?

Our familiar words “music”, “museum” and “amusement” derive from it. It goes back to an Ancient Greek word that described the Nine Muses, the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology.

“Inspiration” means “to breathe in.” And that’s exactly what the Ancient Greeks thought happened when an artist, let’s say a storyteller like Homer long ago, started to perform one of his long tales. Homer would call upon the Muse named Calliope. Her name means “beautiful voice”, and she was the Muse of Eloquence. According to the belief, she would appear invisibly behind the storyteller and breathe ideas into his head as he spoke.

But before starting off, he would ask for her help. He would “invoke the Muse.”

The first line of Homer’s The Iliad reads:

“Anger be now your song, immortal one,
Akhilleus’ anger, doomed and ruinous,
that caused the Akhaians loss on bitter loss
and crowded brave souls into the undergloom,
leaving so many dead men…”

Homer is about to “sing” a very long story about how Achilles, the greatest warrior at Troy, became furious with the Lord High Marshall, Agamemnon, for daring to take Achilles’ girl. Homer is also about to pluck a lyre while he’s singing his story. He’s what the Greeks called A Singer of Tales. He and others like him were the cinema of the day around 700 BC. There wasn’t much else in the Bronze Age.

But notice that Homer isn’t saying, “I am now beginning my poem.” Actually, he’s surrendering responsibility for his act to “the immortal one”–to Calliope, instead becoming her vessel. As he begins the daunting task of performing a poem over 15,000 lines long, he’s asking for the Muse’s inspiration.

According to the myths, Calliope was the daughter of Mnemosyne, the Titan of Memory, and Zeus, the King of the Gods. Quite the pedigree in those times.

Homer invokes her again when he begins The Odyssey:

“Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.”

Centuries later, when John Milton, the English poet born in London in 1608, wrote Paradise Lost, he invoked the Muse, too. However, since the Greek gods were long gone and he was a Christian, he invoked the Holy Spirit, not a goddess, for help:

 

“I thence

 Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,

 That with no middle flight intends to soar

 Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.”

 

He was trying to outdo the “Aonian mount,” otherwise known as the mountain home of the Greek Muses, of which he was quite jealous, it appears. “Hey, you oldsters ain’t got nuthin’ on this blind Brit.”

Humor aside, what does all this have to do with you accessing your Muse? Here, in modern times? To learn to tell stories in your own words, direct from your imagination? I think we can add imagination to the long list of what the Muse is. Buried inside the word “imagination” is the word “image.”  Since imagining is the summoning of mental images, let’s say that your Muse begins to work when you consciously create mental images.

I’ll explore with you my method for developing clear, living mental imagery in later blogs.

Countless times I’ve stood backstage in the semi-darkness with my 12-string guitar, walking around behind the drawn curtain, tuning and playing musical motifs I’ll use in the story. Beyond the curtain, the low roar of the audience tells me it’s almost time to step out there, sit in my chair with my microphones ready, and begin. Since I stole this trick from Homer and Milton and many others, I invoke my Muse. “Oh Muse,” I’ll say aloud, “please come to me tonight. I’m just a tiny human being and all these nice people are waiting. Please help me.”

Now you don’t have to believe in the Muse to be inspired by it. In modern language, some might call it the unconscious mind, or human creativity, or the soul, or the Holy Spirit, or simply imagination. Whatever you’d like to call it, I perform this simple ritual anyway to make myself feel better.

And usually, it works. The imagery pours into my mind and I step into a movie I can see, hear, smell and touch. After that, the words begin to flow.

More to follow.

May the Muse be with you.

 

–Odds Bodkin

You can find my stories at my online download shop.

THE OLD MAN SPEAKS: A Storyteller’s History of the White Mountains

$24.95 Download

 

Download Today for Instant Delivery!

Original acoustic music written and performed by Odds Bodkin.

71 minutes

112 mb

©2022 Odds Bodkin All Rights Reserved

Storyteller Odds Bodkin is Back with Live School Shows!

Storyteller Odds Bodkin is Back with Live School Shows!

There’s nothing quite like watching hundreds of children sitting spellbound while laughing, singing and using their imaginations. Odds blends soaring acoustic music with amazing character voices to create movies for the mind for young listeners.

Learn about his live school shows specially designed for K-2 and 3-5 audiences.

A Teacher’s GOLDEN RULE Review:

“My goodness, words cannot express our ENORMOUS thanks and gratitude for your time and talents on Tuesday… The students were absolutely awe-struck (as was I and the other adults!)! I’ve waited on writing you because I wanted to gather the feedback for you and the biggest feedback I’ve gotten is “He is AWESOME!!” “He needs to come back!!” — Christina Catino, Music Teacher

Learn more at:

https://www.oddsbodkin.net/elementary-school/

 

IN A WORLD OF WOE, THERE IS A CLASSIC OASIS

IN A WORLD OF WOE, THERE IS A CLASSIC OASIS

Simple, beautiful spoken-word stories from peoples around the world, all told with original, culturally flavored acoustic music.

Storyteller Odds Bodkin’s classic audio stories. A mentally healthy, simple gift for your kids so that they can understand the wisdom literature of other people.

Age coded for appropriate listening for ages 4 to forever.

THE EPIC DRIVE: 19 full-length storytelling albums.

Plug it in. Transfer files to music software. Start to listen.

“a consummate storyteller”—The New York Times

White Dove

White Dove

It was part of what used to make me very happy. Sitting in a big empty multi-purpose room in a school with my harp, guitars and PA system, with a half hour left over just to play music before the hundreds of children arrived for the show. I’d feel the harp music ripple through my fingers, filling the space with glorious sound. I’d be sipping at my black coffee. Often teachers would come in and stand to listen for a minute or so, smile and wave. “Can you come here every morning?” many would ask, as the harp music echoed down the halls. “It’s just so beautiful and peaceful.”

The children heard that music, too, in their classrooms. A faint, magical whisper that something special was about to happen.

And then close to the hour the principal would come over, or the arts liaison (usually a nice mom) and ask, “Mr. Bodkin, are you ready for them?”

“Bring them on in,” I’d reply. The doors would open.

Like goslings following mother goose, the little kindergarteners would usually arrive first with their teachers and sit on the floor about three feet away from me, row after row of them. They’d finally see who was playing the harp, and that it wasn’t a recording. Then the grades above them would arrive, sitting next in extending rows. These were shows for two hundred to five hundred kids, a growing sea of young faces. Often they wouldn’t say anything, forgetting to chitchat with their friends because of the music.

I’d finish one extemporization in a major key with a flourish, and they’d wildly applaud. I’d bow slightly, winking and lifting my finger, as if to say, “All right. See if you like this one,” and then launch into another piece in what I call Fairytale Minor, which is really just B minor but played in a certain lilting way. If kids came into the space talking, others who were already seated would shush them, which I found charming, and the most effective crowd control I could ask for.

And so as often as not, there was no reason for the principal to call them to quiet before the show by doing the double hand clap, the universal training American kids learn in school to signal when it’s time to quiet down. Since they were already quiet, at a heightened state of attention–the music having primed them for the listening–it usually wasn’t necessary. This was much to the surprise of the teachers, who I could tell were archly eyeing their problem children. What would they do? Act out? Embarrass the school? Ruin the show?

Instead, the principal would repeat what I’d asked her to say: “This is Mr. Odds Bodkin, and he’s here to tell you some stories.” No preamble about empathy, kindness, or walking in others’ shoes. “The stories will explain themselves,” I’d usually tell her beforehand. “We don’t need to mention those things.” And then I’d pull the harp aside and pick up the 12-string for the introduction. It was always the same:

“Well how’s everybody? Good?”

“Good!” they’d reply in unison.

“Good. Well, it’s a pleasure to be here. As you heard, my name is Odds Bodkin. Can you say that?”

A chorus of Odds Bodkins, or something close, would follow.

“That’s right, and believe it or not, here at the dawn of the 21st century, I make my living telling stories. Now, I have a few for you this morning, but before I can tell them, I need to offer you a thought, and the thought is this: if instead of being here at your school, you were in a movie theater getting ready to watch a movie, all you’d need to do to see the story the movie told would be to look up at the movie screen, and there the story would be. Same thing with television: you look at it, and there it is. But in what we’re going to do today, you don’t have to look at anything. You don’t even have to look at me. But I hope you’ll consider this thought: think about looking inside something. It’s your power of imagination, or your Mind’s Eye, and it’s right up here.”

At this point I’d tap my forehead. Some of the kids would wrinkle their brows and touch their own foreheads, wondering if they really did have an eye in there. “Now, I can offer you words, character voices, music and sounds. But it’s going to be up to you to be the moviemakers here. To take those things and in your Mind’s Eye spin them up into a kind of movie of your own making, and if you do that, then the stories will come to life, I’ll probably disappear, and we’ll have a really great time. So what do you think, deal?”

At this point, they’d all thunder back, “Deal!”

“Good enough, then,” I’d say, setting aside the 12-string, which I’d have been playing in an upbeat way all during this introduction. “I’ll put away my 12-string guitar, which I’ll play for you later, because my first story comes from Africa, and in order to tell it to you, I need to use this.” I’d reach down and pick up my sanza, or kalimba, as some folks call it, and plink a few notes. Instant delight on their faces. “This is my sanza. Can you say that word?”

“Sanza!” came the chorus.

Holding it up so all could see, I’d explain the instrument. “All it is is a little wooden box with a hole in it to let out the sound. And there are strips of metal of different lengths along it. The long ones make the low tones (plunk) and the short ones make the high tones (plink). And with it, I’ll tell you my first story. This sanza was made in South Africa, and so, too, this first story. It’s called The Tale of the Name of the Tree.

I’d make the sound of dry, singing savannah wind, tinkle the notes, and begin the story.

———

The reason I bring all this up is because for two years, I haven’t done any of it. Haven’t set foot inside a school to perform for kids, haven’t asked where the adult bathroom is, haven’t dodged crowds of munchkins in their brightly colored jackets, haven’t been offered cupcakes or cookies– none of it, not since March of 2020. Been on Zoom plenty of times, and Facebook Live, and recently I’ve begun doing live shows again for adults in Cambridge at a club called Grendel’s Den, but I haven’t set foot inside a single elementary school in all that time.

But now that the masks are coming off and the fears are waning, lo and behold, the schools are calling to book shows once again. Live, in-person shows. Performances in schools I visited often in that life I lived before the world came apart.

Come May, I’ll be back with the little kids, playing my harp in those big empty rooms before they file in. As I write this—as much to remember how to do it as anything else—I’m getting a lump in my throat. I really missed telling stories to schoolkids, and wasn’t sure if I’d ever do it again.

It’s as if after two long years, a magician has pulled away his dark cape to reveal the same white dove I’ve always loved, still there, still alive.

 

–Odds Bodkin

 

To book a show, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Odds Bodkin’s MASTER DRIVE: A Lifetime of Family Storytelling

Odds Bodkin’s MASTER DRIVE: A Lifetime of Family Storytelling

Odds Bodkin’s Collected Works–THE MASTER DRIVE–plugs into your USB port. Suddenly you have The Odyssey (all four hours), children’s stories from around the world, The Little Proto Trilogy of dinosaur tales for kids–plus hours and hours of folktales and fairy tales told with music. Included: The Water Mage’s Daughter, Mr. Bodkin’s original 550-page epic  poem for adult readers. And many more full-length storytelling albums.

Some of these award-winning tales are joyous and funny, others are adventures, but all are age-coded for trustworthy listening by your family. Share these mp3s with their listening devices and watch their imaginations grow!

You’ll own a lifetime of stories for your entire family.

Or read about THE ALL COLLECTIONS download bundle. All his audio tales available for instant download!

“Our kids were raised on these stories since they were tots. Our family custom during the winter is to gather around a warm wood stove with hot cup of latte and share time together listening to books and doing artful projects. When I asked the family what they would like to listen to this season, my husband and kids (now teenagers) asked if we could listen to Odds Bodkin stories again.”

Warm Thanks, 

Nuki Vaillancourt

 

Order yours today!

Odds Bodkin’s Collected Works: THE MASTER DRIVE. A Lifetime of Stories. Read a Review!

Odds Bodkin’s Collected Works–THE MASTER DRIVE–plugs into your USB port. Suddenly you have The Odyssey (all four hours), children’s stories from around the world, The Little Proto Trilogy of dinosaur tales for kids–hours and hours of tales told with music. Plus The Water Mage’s Daughter, Mr. Bodkin’s original 550-page epic  poem. And many more full-length storytelling albums.

Some tales are joyous and funny, others are adventures, but all are age-coded for safe listening by your family. Share these mp3s with their listening devices and watch their imaginations grow!

You’ll own a lifetime of stories for your entire family.

Or read about THE ALL COLLECTIONS download bundle. All his audio tales available for instant download!

“Our kids were raised on these stories since they were tots. Our family custom during the winter is to gather around a warm wood stove with hot cup of latte and share time together listening to books and doing artful projects. When I asked the family what they would like to listen to this season, my husband and kids (now teenagers) asked if we could listen to Odds Bodkin stories again.”

Warm Thanks, 

Nuki Vaillancourt

November 2021

Order yours today!

NOW IN STOCK: Odds Bodkin Story Drives

NOW IN STOCK: Odds Bodkin Story Drives. You can always download Odds Bodkin’s classic tales with original music from Odds’ Shop and get them instantly, or you can order a Story Drive to share with friends and family.

Click images for story details!

Coming to YouTube Live: Odds Bodkin Performs THE ODYSSEY January 16th at 7 pm EST

Coming to YouTube Live on January 16th at 7 pm. Get tickets now for Odds Bodkin’s epic, THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST.

Soaring, exciting music on 12-string guitar. A host of character voices, including Odysseus and the Cyclops. Amazing vocal effects of storm winds, sea birds and crashing stones.

Hosted by Six Feet Apart Productions, master talesman Odds Bodkin will spellbind you with his vivid storytelling during this Sunday performance.

Tickets: $25-$30. Assemble your family and friends for this “tour de force” (Dartmouth Classics Dept.) live performance by a “consummate storyteller” (The New York Times.).

TICKETS

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE Added to the All Collections Instant Delivery Download Bundle–FREE!

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE has been added to the All Collections Instant Download Bundle at Odds Bodkin’s Shop at no extra cost. A $19.95 award-winning live storytelling, FREE.

Looking for a lasting gift for your family? One that can arrive instantly, without shipping? Then purchase this collection of all Odds Bodkin’s audio storytellings, now including Beowulf, his 1 hour and 20 minute epic telling with music before a live adult audience at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

Before the telling, enjoy Odds’ introduction to the tale as he plays Celtic harp. Then journey to a vivid world of Vikings, monsters and kings as he tells his tale with a score on 12-string guitar.

“This is the version that made me absolutely fall in love with the Beowulf story, and really understand why it has become such a classic piece of literature. There is such life and emotion in the way Bodkin tells it, that you just can’t get from reading it alone. He takes it from being a dry, unsentimental piece of curriculum and spins it into a deeply moving journey, I always find myself crying by the end of it.” —amilolomy

Join this audience as they gasp, laugh and weep during this extraordinary performance. Winner of the Storytelling World Award.

Buy the Bundle, then log in any time to download your next epic, or children’s story, or musical adventure. Or download them all at once!

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE Added to the All Collections Instant Download Bundle at Odds Bodkin’s Shop!