11 Days Left in MASTER DRIVE Sale! Ends July 30th!

11 days remain in Odds Bodkin’s MASTER DRIVE sale at the storyteller’s online shop.

Get $50 off the price of his MASTER DRIVE this July. This flash drive features his complete audio stories, his epic poem The Water Mage’s Daughter (550 pages pdf), a live performance video plus original musical compositions.

Just plug it in and distribute the stories to your family’s devices! All mp3 audios.

 

Regular price: $199.95. Now $149.95!

Perfect for Family Travel!

 

Age-Coded Stories Include:

The Adventures of Little Proto (audio)

Little Proto’s T-Rex Adventure (audio)

Little Proto and the Volcano’s Fire (audio)

The Teacup Fairy: Very Old Tales for Very Young Children (audio)

The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature (audio)

With Twinkle in your Eye: Funny Folktales from Everywhere (audio)

Rip Roarin’ Paul Bunyan Tales (audio)

The Winter Cherries: Holiday Tales from Around the World (audio)

The Blossom Tree: Tales from the Far East (audio)

The Wise Little Girl: Tales of the Feminine (audio)

Earthstone: The Eco-Musical (2 hour audio)

The Odyssey: An Epic Telling (4 hour audio)

Giant’s Cauldron: Viking Myths of Adventure (audio)

Hidden Grail: Sir Percival and the Fisher King (90 minute audio)

Stories of Love (audio)

David and Goliath: The Harper and the King (audio)

The Myth of Hercules (audio)

 

Plus Rare Works:

Beowulf: The Only One (live audio recording)

The Iliad: Book I (50-minute video)

The Water Mage’s Daughter: a 13,000-line epic poem. (PDF e-book)

 

Plus Odds Bodkin’s 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 yours today!

CLASSICAL SONGS EXPLODE INSIDE AN ADVENTURE ON MAY 23RD

Classical songs explode inside an adventure this coming Sunday, May 23rd at 3 pm EST when Odds Bodkin joins musicians live onstage in Philadelphia to perform the broadcast premiere of DANIKA THE ROSE. Get your livestream tickets here and tune in for this groundbreaking new performance work. As Sopranos Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer sing Dvorak’s beloved Moravian Duets in Czech, pianist Jonathan Ware wraps them both in music while Odds tells his original story in English and Brett Ashley Robinson plays the girl Danika. It’s a vivid, exciting and hauntingly artful display of virtuosity on many fronts. Don’t miss it!

Akin to Peter and the Wolf, only for adults, DANIKA THE ROSE tells the tale of a girl haunted by her beauty and the two men who violently compete for her affections, all set in a duchy along the Danube long ago. Hunting dogs, telepathic deer, storms of mayflies, deep fried eagles and talking dream birds add to the otherworldly nature of this adult fairy tale.

Tickets begin at $15. The live audience is sold out, but you can watch it from the comfort of home!

This concert is sponsored by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and takes place on the stage of the American Philosophical Society next to Independence Hall.

Danika the Rose

Sunday, May 23rd at 3 pm EST

Live on the Web

 

 

Odds Bodkin’s DANIKA THE ROSE Livestreams May 23rd! Two Great Singers, A Renowned Pianist, An Up And Coming Actor and A Versatile Storyteller Together on Stage

A Total Cast of Five

Joined by sopranos Jazimina MacNeil and Sarah Shafer, with Brett Ashley Robinson playing Danika and Jonathan Ware playing Dvorak on the piano, author Odds Bodkin performs his newest spoken-word story with music, live onstage in Philadelphia.

A blend of classical singing and live storytelling

Similar to Peter and the Wolf, the show features narrations deepened by what inspired the story itself: Dvorak’s Moravian Duets. These twenty-three songs, gloriously sung by MacNeil and Shafer, tell a tale of love and war mixed with jealousy, pride and privilege. Maximilian is the Duke; Danika is the stunningly beautiful peasant girl from the village who becomes his obsession; and Dano is the gamekeeper she loves. Elements of magical realism—ghost birds who speak and stags that fight like an army—add a supernatural magic to this new stage work.

Enjoy the broadcast debut Sunday, May 23rd at 3 pm EST. Six cameras will video livestream the performance! Get your tickets today!

Presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.

DANIKA THE ROSE

May 23, 2021 at 3 pm EST on LIveStream

Starring Jazimina MacNeil, Sarah Shafer, Brett Ashely Robinson and Odds Bodkin. Music by Jonathan Ware.

DANIKA THE ROSE Classical Music Adult Fairy Tale Streams Live from Philly May 23rd

How did Danika the Rose, a new work soon to be live-streamed from the American Philosophical Society stage in Philadelphia, arrive on the American classical music scene?

It’s a story worth telling.

I’m Odds Bodkin, and I wrote Danika the Rose. Soon I’ll be performing it onstage with four other people for the Chamber Music Society of Philadelphia. It’s an adult fairy tale, interwoven with songs by Dvorak. Yes, I wrote it, but I didn’t do it alone. In the next few blog posts I’ll tell that curious story.

It begins back in the fall of 2018. I was visiting the Thoreau School in Concord, MA with my guitars and harp, warming up before the flood of schoolkids arrived for their performance, when a young woman stepped into the empty auditorium and walked up to the stage.

“Mr. Bodkin,” she said, “I have a proposition for you.”

Well, I thought, that’s quite the opening statement. “And you are?” She was quite pretty, late twenties, early thirties.

“Jazimina MacNeil. I’m a classical singer.”

Taking note of the name, I stopped playing my harp to listen.

“I’ve been a fan of yours for years,” she went on, “and I have a project I hope to interest you in.”

Obviously she’d learned I was performing here on this day. Well, you’ve got initiative and nerve, I thought, harping once again. “Go on, please.”

“A soprano friend and I sing Dvorak’s Moravian Duets together, but they’re little-known works.” I’d always loved Antonin Dvorak’s symphonies, especially From the New World, but wasn’t aware of any duets. “And so to bring them to a wider audience,” she went on, “I thought using them in a story might help.”

Ah, I thought, so that is why you are here, Jazimina.

“And I’d like you to write it,” she finished.

“You’re talking about a commissioned work.”

“Yes, I am. An adult fairy tale. One that uses all twenty-three duets. They’re all sung in Czech.”

“Any English translations?” I asked, assuming this would be for American audiences.

“Yes, but we’re not going to use them.”

A spoken-word fairy tale with obscure 19th Century art songs sung in Czech? Now there’s an easy sell to Americans, I thought.  But then again, I like fairy tales, psychic whirligigs that they are, and writing one would be fun, especially if I were going to be paid for it. Peter and the Wolf came to mind.

I gave her my email address and told her to send me a proposal. She left before I could speak with her again.

Little did I know what a work of art we would create.

——————————————————————

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presents

Danika the Rose

 

With Jazimina MacNeil, Sarah Shafer, Jonathan Ware, Brett Ashley Robinson

and Odds Bodkin

 

Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 3 pm EST

 

For Livestream tickets visit Philadelphia Chamber Music Society

 

Tonight 5:00-6:30 pm, Odds Bodkin is on Full-Screen Zoom to Tell BEOWULF

Scored throughout with haunting and beautiful music on 12-string guitar, here is Odds Bodkin’s renowned storyteller’s version of Beowulf, a thousand year old Viking tale of darkness and light.

The monsters lurk in the fens, staring down the cliffs at the humans, tiny creatures who sing in their feasting hall to push back the night. The first monster, Grendel, who towers to the height of many men, hates the singing. With his enchanted fur to protect him and his wolf fangs to tear apart flesh, he attacks and takes back thirty slain men to eat in his cave.

The Danes are terrorized. Every night, Grendel comes. They try iron, bronze, silver, even gold sword blades and spear points, but nothing can penetrate Grendel’s hide.

For twelve years, the monster feasts, until in a far off land, a great warrior–one who has a reason to be grateful to the Danes–decides to go on a mission of mercy to kill the beast.


First discovered in 1563 in a dusty library when it was already five hundred years old, Beowulf is the oldest known work in the English language, a classic in every sense. Odds Bodkin brings it to life tonight on full-screen Zoom.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

Sunday Feb. 28 at 5:00 pm EST on Zoom

Not recommended for children

Tickets: $25

 

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA

Huddle Around the Zoom Fire Sunday Night for Beowulf

With 12-string guitar and Celtic harp, character voices and sound effects, master storyteller Odds Bodkin will perform his classic tale, BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, for adults this Sunday night at 5 pm EST. The tale contains mayhem and violence and is not recommended for children.

Shorn of its heraldic side stories, Bodkin’s version of Beowulf cleaves closely to the original thousand-year-old story of a thane who rescues an aged king from monsters that attack his hall. Filled with striking scenes and plenty of humor, the story translates vividly over Zoom.

 

Tickets are $25

 

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

ODDS BODKIN

MARCH 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST ON ZOOM

 

This performance is sponsored by Grendel’s Den.

 

Odds Bodkin’s BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE is a Week From Today. Grab Your Tickets Now!

Sunday, February 28th at 5 pm EST. Tune in on ZOOM for a full evening of adult storytelling with compelling acoustic music and characters.

This virtual event is sponsored by Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square.

Tickets: $25

 

 

Deep Inside Act II of Beowulf, A Bizarre Scene

He’s already killed Grendel, a towering, sword-proof beast, but now Beowulf has sunk to the bottom of a reeking mere to hunt and kill Grendel’s mother. If Beowulf rids Denmark of these demons, King Hrothgar will declare him his son. In Beowulf’s world, that’s the promise of full half of Hrothgar’s fabulous wealth, enough for Beowulf to become a king himself back home. Hrothgar is the richest man along the Baltic.

Denmark and Sweden/Geatland

 

As he approaches her underwater cave, Grendel’s Mother curses Beowulf. She has dragged her son’s carcass here along with the bloody, hairy arm Beowulf tore off Grendel in the mead hall, which she has stolen back before retreating to her home. She is huge, with fangs and claws, yet she stands like a woman at the water’s edge. With Grendel gone, she is now the last of their kind. Through the ripples she sees soft colored lights beyond the submerged entrance. The man, the killer of her son, has arrived at the mere’s bottom.

Into the water she slides, kicking through the blackness toward what she sees is a helmet with glowing gems on its crown.

Holding his sword out, the man cannot see her. Stealthily, she swims to behind him and violently clamps her fangs onto the helmet, thinking to crush it, along with the soft human skull inside.

Up until this moment, Beowulf has been reliving boyhood memories. How Hrothgar once paid the blood price for Beowulf’s father, and the Wylfings had stopped pursuing him. It had been wonderful to stand on the ship’s deck heading home to Geatland with his father, who was a free man at last. Yes, Beowulf has come here for glory, but also to show gratitude to King Hrothgar of the Danes for that act of mercy so long ago.

Feeling sudden pressure inside the helmet, Beowulf slides out of it and slashes the sword, Hrunting, at the she-beast behind him, but the blade is too slow in the water. With a bubbling scream she shoots back into her cave, ready for the fight.

She is three times his size.

However, Grendel’s Mother does not know that this man is Beowulf, a fearless thane of the Geats who has come from the north, a warrior with the grip of thirty men. He doesn’t know it yet, but after she stabs him in the chest, he will kill her with a weapon crafted by long-dead giants.

————————

 

In the actual telling of this scene from BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, haunting, scintillant music on 12-string guitar builds the creepiness, while Grendel’s Mother hisses loudly to herself, and Beowulf’s voice speaks his inner monologue, “Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage holds.”

Come see and hear the entire tale via ZOOM on Sunday, Feb. 28th at 5 pm EST.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

AN ODDS BODKIN ZOOM STORYTELLING

SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST

TICKETS: $25

 

Hear a sample from the tale:

SPONSORED BY GRENDEL’S DEN.

 

 

 

 

 

On Becoming Two Very Different Monsters

In my storyteller’s version of Beowulf, Grendel doesn’t speak, but his mother does. As descendants of Cain and the last two forest demons of their kind, they represent all that was terrifying to humans in the medieval darkness. Forests were always thick and close back then, and no electricity lit the earth. Let’s hope those times don’t return.

Robert Zemeckis, in his animated 2007 film version of Beowulf, made Grendel a multicolored, hairless giant. Straying even further from the original story, Zemeckis presented Grendel’s Mother as a sexy Angelina Jolie with smooth golden skin, naked most of the time. Both Grendel and his mother spoke words.

For my version, I’ve gone a more traditional route and followed the basic Beowulf text, imagining Grendel as giant wolf on two legs who can roar, and that’s about it. His mother is a female version of this species of ancient forest demon, covered with fur and just as big. She speaks in a terrifying shrill voice. There’s nothing sexy about her.

Tasked as I am to create voice characterizations for my tales, I spent considerable time exploring my lowest, most guttural vocal register for Grendel. What he emotes is roaring fury. Unbridled, explosive fury. He possesses cruel confidence, both in his invulnerability—he has magic, blade-resistant fur—and in his ability to kill, at least until he meets Beowulf in the mead hall. His persona takes a lot of energy to create. I dread to think what I look like when I enact him.

I don’t watch myself do these things. I just work in my trance.

Grendel’s screechy, crafty mother, on the other hand, is signaled by a rapidamente motif on 12-string guitar and her heavy running footfalls. “Killer has a sword,” she thinks in her underwater cave as Beowulf sinks down toward her, “what kind of sword?” If a blade is giant-made, she fears it. Human-made blades cannot cut her. Instead, they vaporize, something Beowulf discovers to his horror when he tries to cut off her head, and it doesn’t work.

Two very different monsters. Two very different voices.

There are plenty of other character voices in Beowulf: The Only One, including Beowulf, Hrothgar the King and various thanes.

 

 

Odds Bodkin

Beowulf: The Only One

An Adult Storytelling on Zoom

Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $25

Of Oaks and Thunder

The Druids of ancient Europe were the “Oak Seers.” Dur means oak. Wythe means seer. Put together you get Durwythe, or Druid. Dur is an old word for oak, from which we derive our word “door,” since in the old days the strongest doors were of oak. They were, pardon the pun, durable. The Norse god Thor’s name has the same etymological root: dur, or oak, that tree most often struck by lightning. What comes with lightning? Thunder. Hence Thor, the God of Thunder.

His name has–sorry, here comes another pun–endured all this time because wonderful stories are told about him. The most intriguing among them, at least by my lights, is Thor’s Journey to Utgard. It’s the tale of how to prove his strength to his enemies, the Frost Giants, he journeys to their capital city and messes up terribly, or at least so it seems. He fails at every task of strength put before him as the giants guffaw. Loki is along for the journey as well, and he fares no better. These are not the characters you see in Marvel movies or those stories. These are genuine old myths.

As the first long tale in my Zoom performance tomorrow night, Sunday Jan. 10, Thor’s Journey is humorous in places, mostly because he and Loki trade barbs and insult one another at every turn. But still, it’s epic, as is the score on 12-string guitar. Here’s a sample:

 

 

I’ll be introducing Viking mythology as I play Celtic harp, and then I’ll launch into the two long tales with an intermission between them. Lots of characters. Lots of music. Lots of fun. Join the crowd. Folks will be tuning in from all over.

This Zoom event is sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

 

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

ODDS BODKIN, storyteller and musician

SUNDAY, JAN.10, 2021 at 5 PM EST on ZOOM

TICKETS: $25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ODIN’S BEST FRIEND IS MISSING

Odin has no friends, really, other than harmless and trusting Kvasir, who wants nothing that Odin possesses. But now, Kvasir has been missing for months and word has come that in the mountains of Jotunheim a giant is bragging that he owns a magical mead. It’s a drink that bestows power and wisdom with one sip.

The problem is, he is claiming it was brewed from the blood of the god Kvasir.

Which means that somebody killed poor Kvasir for his essence. Odin’s great eye can see anywhere he casts his gaze, but he cannot see everywhere at once. Who has done this? To find out and return his friend’s blood to Asgard, Odin goes on a long quest of disguises, shape-changing and implacable revenge.

The Mead of Poetry is one of two long Norse myths I’ll be performing this coming Sunday evening over Zoom. My 12-string guitar will sport fresh, crisp strings and I will be ready with character voices and narration. I’ll create voices for Odin, Thor, Loki, Bauge the Giant, Utgarde Loke, King of the Frost Giants, Gunlod the Singing Giantess and a host of others.

The show begins at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time on Zoom. Grab your $25 ticket and you’ll receive a meeting link, and then a password the day of the show.

I’ll be full screen for the event with great sound. See you there!

–Odds Bodkin

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

Odds Bodkin, Storyteller and Musician

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $25

 

This show is sponsored by Grendel’s Den of Cambridge, MA.