Candles and Imagination

Long ago, when I began telling stories, I’d light a candelabrum at my feet. There in a darkened room the flames would dance across my face and kids loved it, until, of course, schools started to say, “No more, Mr. Bodkin. A kid might go up in flames. You dripped wax on our floor. Leave your portable campfire at home.” Even though I always cleaned up the wax, I stopped doing my candlelight shows.

I still recommend candelight, though, to people listening to my stories, especially the epics. Light a candle. Turn down the lights. Listen and dream.

Something about the flame quickens the mind’s eye.

For instance, Detroit Jewish News reviewed my telling of David and Goliath and said, “With nothing more than his guitar and voice, Odds Bodkin manages to paint a scene more captivating than much of what you see on the big screen.”

It won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Storytelling World Award and the Dove Foundation Award. It’s an hour long.

Beowulf: The Only One just won the Storytelling World Award as well. It was recorded before a live adult audience in Cambridge, MA. It’s an hour and 20 minutes.

You can find lots of long-form stories like this at my download shop. Happy listening!

 

 

WINNER of the 2020 STORYTELLING WORLD AWARD: an hour and 20 minutes of intense audio adventure

When Odds Bodkin set out to tell Beowulf, he knew he’d need to create two classic monsters: Grendel and Grendel’s Mother. And musical themes for each on 12-string guitar. Of course, a lovable voice for Beowulf himself was required for contrast.

The result of years of work is Beowulf: The Only One, Bodkin’s award-winning 1 hour and 20 minute tale for adults. Don’t invite the kids to listen because it’s just too horrific in places, but if you’d like a genuine feature-length movie for the mind, download this epic today!

$19.95

While you’re at Odds’ Shop, grab an Odyssey: An Epic Telling. 4 hours of more award-winning audio.

A Howling, Heroic Tale for An Adult in Your Life

Odds Bodkin has two live performances of BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE coming up in January. But it you can’t make it to Cambridge, Mass, you can buy it here and download it instantly.

An hour and twenty-one minutes of magic.

Or, it comes with the EPIC DRIVE, along with all of Bodkin’s storytellings as mp3s.

 

A FLIGHT OF MEAD, THEN A VIKING STORY

Vikings drank mead from dawn til dusk, and so Grendel’s Den is offering Flights of Mead on their menu for January 12th’s Odds Bodkin adult storytelling performance of Beowulf: The Only One.

After all, Beowulf was a Viking who killed monsters while dining on honey cakes, brined bird’s eggs, strips of venison and dried fruits for dinner. Typical Viking fare.

Who knows what Viking delicacies Grendel’s Den is planning for that Sunday evening’s menu, but it’s sure to be spectacular. $50 VIP Experience tickets include special seating, a flight of 4 local and imported meads, a tasting menu of 4 themed dishes, and a printed mead glass for you to take home.

Otherwise, tickets are $20.

Beowulf: The Only One

An Adult Storytelling Evening with Odds Bodkin

Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den Restaurant

Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

STELLAR REVIEWS for ODDS BODKIN’S EPIC DRIVE STORY COLLECTION

Norman Chiang writes: “This is one of the best (if not the best purchases/investments) I’ve made all year. I’m excited to share it with my family. At $99, this is really quite a steal … given The Odyssey alone is worth as much. (Not to mention, other such amazing series in this collection – Hercules, The Hidden Grail, etc…)

Odds’ storytelling – including sound effects, voice, music, pacing, wit and style – is both versatile and relevant. It is a talent that needs witnessing and preservation.

All the stories I’ve so far listened to have been precise and polished, a cut above anything else I’ve seen from others at live shows and readings. Odds is a true artist, who understands the weight of virtue and fiction. A true role model for the ages.”

Amilolomy writes: “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.”

 

Visit Odds Bodkin’s Shop Now

Odds Bodkin’s MASTER DRIVE

Long summer drives are coming. If you want quiet, utterly absorbed kids in the car listening to stories and building their imaginations, here’s the answer.

 

Get it here. Ships fast via Priority Mail.

“one of the great voices in American storytelling”–WIRED

YOU SAVED US FROM BABY BELUGA

YOU SAVED US FROM BABY BELUGA

Sunday night I was down in Cambridge at Grendel’s Den warming up my harp and 12-string onstage for a telling of Beowulf when a tall gentleman with silver hair came over, looking somewhat shy. The place was full and new faces were in the audience. Along with the usual crew of fine fans, Harvard students and curious twenty-somethings, I’d noticed husbands and wives in their fifties or early sixties at the tables. Obviously this gentleman had something to say. I stopped playing and smiled at him.

“Am I interrupting you?” he asked. He was fit and had a nice smile.

“No, not at all. I’m just warming up. Good evening.”

“Good evening,” he replied and we shook hands.

“I just wanted to tell you, Mr. Bodkin, that you saved us from Baby Beluga,” he said in a sort of admiring seriousness. It didn’t take too long for me to process that, and so I smiled wryly and chuckled, suspecting I knew what he was saying. He went on. “My kids are in their thirties now and are jealous they can’t be here.”

“Why, thank you.” I’ve had similar conversations with other nice people like him.

“No, thank you,” he said.Your stories got us through a lot of long trips when our kids were little. We had all your cassettes. Got them from Chinaberry Book Service.”

I used to do business with Chinaberry, a kids’ media operation out in California. Sold tens of thousands of recordings through them. This nice man’s wife, probably, had bought them, back when their kids were little. “Ah, yes,” I replied. “I’m glad your kids liked them. Tonight’s story is very different from those children’s recordings.”

“I expect so.”

“This one’s rather bloody,” I replied, thinking how in The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature and The Teacup Fairy, some of my earliest kids’ albums, there is no blood.

“Can’t wait to hear it,” he said, sounding ready for some Viking wildness.

“Well,” I said, hitting a chord on the 12-string, “enjoy the show.”

“We will.” He returned to his seat at the bar next to a woman about his age. His wife, I assumed. The mother of the children he spoke of.

Baby Beluga! Baby Beluga!

The refrain from the song by Raffi echoed in my mind. I once met him, the man who wrote and sang that classic children’s song. A troubador from the Nineties, Raffi’s most famous song was Baby Beluga. He was the best-known of many musicians for young kids back then, a man who sang sweet, reassuring songs. I think of him as the Mr. Rogers of children’s music.

Back then I was selling recordings for young kids, too. Raffi always outsold anything I ever did, but then again, I wasn’t singing songs, which had a huge kids market before the advent of cellphones and iPad games. Instead I was telling stories, but even though they were for young children, they weren’t kiddie stories per se––stories about puppies and baby hedgehogs and so on. Nevertheless, lots of young children, including this gentleman’s who’d come up to say hello, apparently, had listened to them and had talked about them with their parents. I always tried to produce children’s media that didn’t make moms and dads lose their minds while listening to them, over and over again in their cars.

After the show I posed for photos with the man and his wife, along with a few other couples who proceeded to buy EPIC DRIVES. They wanted to send them to their grown children, they said, who now had kids of their own. Two young women in their twenties had listened to the Little Proto stories and loved them. A couple with their kids kept talking about The Blossom Tree, a Tibetan tale I tell, and I mentioned how I’ll be performing it in May as part of a weekend dedicated to the magic of trees, out in Colorado.

And so these stories I made a generation ago continue to make their way into the lives of a new generation, accomplishing a goal I always strove for: to make something that doesn’t quickly become marked as genre material of a former time.

I recommend Baby Baluga, too.

VOICE OF A MONSTER/Video

VOICE OF A MONSTER

I know it’s weird, but it’s fun. Enacting an eighteen-foot tall demon beast, Grendel. And playing his creepy music while doing it. A monster who eats Vikings, this Grendel cannot speak. He just feels. Essentially he’s a giant wolf who walks on two legs and no Dane can kill him because his fur repels all metal blades. It’s not until Beowulf arrives on a mission of mercy to rid an old king of the monster’s nightly visits that Grendel meets his match. Beowulf must use his bare hands in what I like to think, considering the limitations of storytelling, is a pretty darn good battle scene.

All in the mind’s eye.

Tomorrow night, Sunday March 11, 2018, I’ll be enacting Grendel and a host of other characters in my performance of BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE at Grendel’s Den club on Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. Showtime is 5:30 p.m.

Come eat Viking food and drink strong spirits as you listen. A full evening of adult storytelling, this show is a bit too graphic for children. Still, as Beowulf says, “Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage holds.”

Tickets

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE Adult Performance Sunday in NH

BEOWULF by Odds Bodkin: a live performance in an intimate setting.

A two-hour storytelling event for adults Sunday, March 4th at 7:00 p.m. at The Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire. Music on 12-string guitar and Celtic harp. Words in English.

Come and eat, drink strong spirits and enter an imagination dream.

“a consummate storyteller” ––The New York Times

“one of the great voices in American storytelling” ––Wired Magazine

Tickets $10, $13 at the door.

HAUNTED BY THE MUSIC

Mostly the music haunts me. I still recall sitting out on my back porch under the sun umbrella one summer day trying to stitch the heartbreak together. “What can get at this tragic mood?” I kept asking myself, conducting experiments up and down the 12-string’s fingerboard. New chords I’d never played slowly revealed the sculpture-in-the-stone moment, the “ah ha!” release, when I finally said, “Wow. That’s it. That is beautiful. That has the dignity, the elemental loneliness and the magnificence I need.”

I was searching for a leitmotif for Beowulf the Viking hero. Having composed them for Odysseus in The Odyssey, David in David and Goliath, young Percival the knight in The Hidden Grail and other of my long-form bardic tales, musically it was a familiar creative process, but not emotionally.

You can get a flavor of Beowulf’s theme at 3:27 in this live recording of the tale.

 

I’ll be performing Beowulf: The Only One twice in the next weeks, and will be playing Beowulf’s theme and others as I do my best to enact him, King Hrothgar, Grendel the Beast and his vengeful monster mother. I still remember how when I recorded this tale live, the music worked. Two women in the audience felt the way I felt. Right there, in the middle of all those people, so loudly I heard it from the stage, they burst into tears.

 

Tickets and information:

Sunday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Riverwalk Music Bar, Nashua, N

Sunday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. at Grendel’s Den, Cambridge, MA

 

 

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE Adult Storytelling on Sunday March 4

First, little-known Viking lore accompanied with Celtic harp, and then BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, my storyteller’s version of the classic tale of a hero battling man-eating monsters. With a haunting score on 12-string guitar, I’ll narrate and create voices for Beowulf, King Hrothgar, Grendel the monster and his mother, and other characters.

It’s filled with a humor and terrifying tension that cleaves closely to the original tale.

Here’s a sample of the show:

Tickets are $10, $13 at the door.

The show is at Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar in Nashua, NH. Sunday March 4, 2018 at 7 p.m.