BACK TO THE CEMETERY: Heartpounders Horror Tales on Friday the 13th

Is it an old haunted inn? It looks that way. Abandoned for years, it sat overgrown and neglected, a hulking eyesore on Main Street in Bradford, New Hampshire, my town. Weeds grew. The old sign faded. I drove by it every day.

But then a group of young people in town had a dream. Now its ground floor is a thriving locavore food heaven, filled with organic produce and meats, ice creams and locally-made specialty items.

Today when I drive by it’s the Sweet Beet Market, and even bigger dreams surround it. A bakery. A new arts venue. A commercial kitchen for food artisans. On weekends, the parking lot is filled with cars. Folks eat freshly made breakfasts, cooked up on the wraparound veranda as families sit at picnic tables. At this time of year, artfully piled pumpkins have turned the place orange. The old inn has come alive.

To help with this Kearsarge Food Hub project, I’m donating the scariest show in my repertory this coming Friday the 13th at 8 pm, an outdoor event with jack-o-lanterns glowing, under the big tent. HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror is an adult evening of stories. No kids, please. Mini-horror movies for the mind’s eye, these tales have entertained audiences from Lincoln Center in New York to the National Storytelling Festival. Each with driving music on 12-string guitars, Celtic harp, and other instruments, plus lots of creepy character voices and sounds, they’re unnerving and fun. The show is two hours.

Hot cider. Good hot food. On a cool October evening beneath the waning moon, these stories will come to life, or horrible death (agh!!!) depending on how you like it.

If you know folks in New Hampshire, please let them know. Nothing like this anywhere else in the Granite State.

Tickets are $10, $12 at the door.

Check it out on Facebook.

Odds Bodkin’s Odyssey epic $24.95 this week

Storyteller Odds Bodkin’s 4-hour epic telling of The Odyssey is on sale at 50% off this week through Sunday, June 25th. Visit Odds’ Shop.

ODDS BODKIN SUMMER SALE #1: The Odyssey: An Epic Telling/50% Off

Hi. I’m Odds Bodkin, author, musician and professional storyteller. Along with performing at thousands of schools and universities, for over three decades I’ve also recorded classic tales with music and characters to inspire listeners of all ages. From heroic myths to nature folktales drawn from many lands, all include original music I play live on 12-string guitars, Celtic harp and other instruments. It’s storytelling with heart, a kind of art you’ll never forget. This summer, I invite you to discover it.

This week’s summer sale at my online download shop is The Odyssey: An Epic Telling. It’s 4 hours of Greek mythology and vivid adventure. Regular price: $49.95. This week only it’s on sale for $24.95 here, from June 18 to June 25. Check out the audio sample and see if you’re not fascinated. Families love listening to it on road trips. Get yours today and enjoy! Share the sale with friends, too!

 

If You Know Any Librarians in New England…

In my storytelling shows for kids, I always end with a “showstopper” story. That’s one with a song I teach them to sing. Simple phrases. Melodies that stick in kids’ minds so well that for days afterwards, teachers tell me, students sing them in the halls. Rhythms, too, and I mean clap-along or even stomp-on-the-floor beats. This is some of my best material for K-5th graders.

 

So if you know any librarians in New England, pass along the word to them that for this summer I’m offering a special show of nothing but showstopper stories. Three of them in a row, something I’ve never offered before. It’s called AN EXTRAVAGANZA OF FAMILY TALES WITH FUNNY SONGS IN EVERY ONE.

 

Since it’s for libraries, I’m making it extra affordable. Anyone can inquire about it at my web site here.

 

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS Odds Bodkin show in Cambridge MA Performance

Nowadays, personal storytelling is all the rage. The Moth, NPR’s show where people have a few minutes to recount real events in their lives is one of the healthiest species I’ve seen evolve in the media jungle in a long time. It’s almost always moving and refreshing, like a bird of paradise. It’s totally genuine.

I’m not. At least not in that way. The ancient tales I tell are genuine, of course. And the music’s performed live, on whatever instruments, so it’s genuine, too, I like to think. The character voices are created live and I’m never sure what they’re going to say, so they’re muse-genuine, even if they are dramatic illusions and nothing more. Happy to admit that. Am I genuine? Sure. It’s just that these stories aren’t about me.

Take, for instance, Loki, who I’ll be enacting along with a befuddled Thor, a wicked-crafty Odin Continue reading “ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS Odds Bodkin show in Cambridge MA Performance”

Odds Bodkin Stories Worldwide

Two recent download purchases at my digital store have come from Krackow, Poland and Beijing, China. That’s very interesting to me. Even in these far flung (at least from America) locations, people out there know the value of intelligent listening for their children. And themselves.

They know, as a mom who wrote me recently stated, “Thank you for writing about tough topics but remembering that humor is important, too. Thank you for being someone my kids could use to help explain the world but never told them what to think. Thank you for talking about doing the right thing, even if it is hard, but never beating anyone over the head with the morality.”

In all the lines in her lengthy letter here, those three sentences meant the most to me.

Visit the shop and buy some MAGIC COINS as a gift for kids or adults. Recipients can visit and choose which titles they like at their convenience. Latest new releases include Strings in the Clouds, a calming 6-minute composition on Celtic harp and strings. Good music to listen to while working on complicated things.

Thanks for listening!

Odds Bodkin

Beowulf: The Only One is coming out on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24th, 2016, American time zone. I have no idea what time that is in Beijing or Krakow, but I hope those customers enjoy it, too!

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE Audio Thanksgiving Day Release

Beowulf: The Only One
A New Bardic Telling with 12-String Guitar

Odds Bodkin’s new 65-minute bardic telling of the oldest story in the English language will be available at https://www.oddsbodkin.net/shop/ on Thanksgiving Day. Employing a cinema-like score on 12-string guitar, human characters and monstrous voices, the audio tells a tale of gratitude and simple courage in the face of ancient evils.

Beowulf: The Only One is gruesome in places and filled with vivid details of old Viking life. Unlike recent Hollywood versions of the tale, the audio closely follows the original poem’s story, from the monster Grendel’s first attacks on Hrothgar’s mead hall to Beowulf’s battle with the Fire Dragon fifty years later.

The story includes frank violence. Not recommended for listeners under 12.

This recording joins Bodkin’s collection of epic tales for older children, teens and adults that includes The Odyssey, David and Goliath, The Hidden Grail and The Myth of Hercules, all available as mp3 audios at www.oddsbodkin.net.

The download will be available for $14.95 using PayPal.

The Love Gift of Stories

Is your child or grandchild a good imaginer?

Build your child’s imagination away from the screen now. Save $74 on Odds Bodkin’s amazing audio stories with music from world cultures. 10 classic story collections plus epics––The Myth of Hercules, The Hidden Grail, David and Goliath and the 4-hour Odyssey! All for $99.

Coming soon! BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE. A heroic tale brought to life in spoken word and music.

If you know Odds Bodkin’s works, share with a friend! Buy now and download any time. All titles available individually as well.

All Collections + Bundle

 

 

TALES OF THE MOON at the Peabody Essex Museum on 10/15

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, known as the PEM, is one of the finest mid-sized museums in the world, and this October 15th, for their Lunar Imaginings Opening Day Festival, I’ll be in Morse Auditorium at 11:00 a.m. with a very special show, Tales of the Moon.

The Twenty-Seven Wives of the Moon is a Hindu tale of how Soma, the Moon, asks Daksha, a powerful god and sage, to marry twenty-seven of his beloved daughters. “Twenty-seven wives?” Daksha responds, dubious Soma can treat each one equally. Soma insists he can do it, and what follows involves Ganesha, the Elephant-Headed God, Shiva the Destroyer and his wife, Parvati, and a host of other gods. Not to mention twenty-six angry wives. How it all works out, and how Soma survives to ride his chariot past the twenty-seven mansions of the stars is the tale itself, and in places is hilarious. I perform it with a sitar-tuned 12-string guitar and voices.

Spinners of the Moon is from Germany and is even funnier. It’s a Grimm’s fairy tale told with Celtic harp about Kelsa, who hates to spin. In fact, she hates everything about flax and the linen that comes from it, in a very smelly process. Never having learned, she’s grabbed by the Queen with the promise that if she can spin a dungeon of raw flax into linen thread in three days, she’ll marry the prince, but if she fails, she’ll lose her head. Kelsa despairs until three of the strangest looking beings–a young woman, a mother, and a crone–appear in the full moon’s light and offer to spin it all if she makes them a promise. Each has an outsized bodily feature connected to spinning. The outcome is very funny, especially when the prince meets them.

The last tale, told with alto recorder, is The Monkeys and the Moon from Tibet. It’s a parable about what happens when we follow a bad leader. Considering the election, it will hit home. In a non-partisan way, of course.

Plus I’ll add all manner of lunar lore to fill things out.

Come enjoy the show!

 

 

 

Odds Bodkin’s THE ILIAD:BOOK I Live Performance Video

Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts is a fine private high school on a hill, and I was privileged to appear there recently before the entire student body one morning. Invited to perform one of my favorite pieces for high school and university audiences, The Iliad: Book I, I had a great time. Along with my long-form telling of The Odyssey (available at my download shop), it’s my homage to Homer. Loving his epics as I do, and wishing that many more young people read them for their timeless messages, I modernize these ancient tales as audios with character voices, music and accessible English.

Only this time, the show was captured on video. Jay Sharron, Cushing’s Media Production Coordinator, shot the performance before a live audience.

It’s now available in four parts as a 322 mb download, mobile quality video.

Find it here!

 

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE/12-string guitar music

For Beowulf: The Only One, I play a 12-string guitar with a pick in a modified open E flat tuning. I’ve been devising music in this rare tuning for years now, and if you play the guitar, six or twelve, you’ll find that if you play a C chord in concert tuning (regular tuning) on my guitar, you’ll get a horrible sound. Same thing with every other regular chord. That’s because the fingerings in this tuning are unique to it, and the only way to find them is through exploration.

 
I’ve always thought of 12-string guitars as starships. For storytelling at least, they’re like a vehicle you can get in and take off with, traveling through interstellar clouds of moods. For Beowulf: The Only One, I’ve developed themes that I hope convey the scary beauty of this story. The Beowulf Theme, for instance, embodies the pathos of both the hero and his war-ravaged world. But it also contains hope, at least in Beowulf’s presence, otherwise the story is a pretty dark vision. Hope springs eternal. Still, nothing in human affairs has changed much since the times of Beowulf, other than technology, at least in this storyteller’s opinion.

 
Here’s rough-cut of Beowulf’s Theme:

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy it.

 

To find out about all my storytelling recordings with music, visit www.oddsbodkin.net.

Odds Bodkin

Storytelling Meets Science: StoryEarth with Martin Ogle

“Do you wish to be King of the Cosmos, my son?” she asks, angry at her husband. “Oh, mother, you know I do,” answers Cronus. “Then take this sickle,” Gaia replies, handing it over, “and wound your father so he can no longer be king.”

 
These two are Titans, the early half-giant, half-elemental builders of the world, at least according the Greek poet Hesiod, who set down his beliefs circa 700 B.C. In the Theogony’s fantastical world, Gaia is the original Creatrix, the Earth itself, who in her underground womb of Tartarus gestates the mountains, sea and sky. It’s the sky she marries, birthing 12 perfect Titans with her husband Ouranus. But when she starts giving birth to monsters, he grows fearful and locks them away. While her Titan children bring day and night, rivers and streams, even prophecy into the world, Gaia grows furious with her husband for demanding only perfect offspring. The Golden Age soon ends as betrayals haunt this first of first families and a baby named Zeus is hidden away, like Moses in the reeds.

 
Theogony means “birth of the gods” and it’s the Greek gods of Mt. Olympus we’re talking about. Those perennial favorites at the movies. Hera. Poseidon. Hades. Demeter. And not least of all, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, who turns out to be the eldest of them all, born in a horrifying way. They’re all pre-scientific human projections, of course, who existed in the Greco-Roman imagination for a thousand years or so, but their thoughts and actions are entertaining nonetheless. We still fancy their mythic escapades to this day. For gods who are supposed to be immortals, they’re as human and fallible as the people who dreamt them up.

 
Jealousy. Ambition. Love. Betrayal. Imprisonment. Sleep potions. Monsters. Creation. Castration. Swallowed children. Rebellion. Just of few of the themes in this epic story I’ll be offering as part of StoryEarth with Naturalist Martin Ogle (pictured) on November 9th, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the University of Colorado’s Sustainability, Energy and Environment Complex in Boulder, Colorado.

 
Come listen to this first Game of Thrones-style story. It’s adult and very fun, told with character voices and an original score on 12-string guitar. Then Martin will contrast the myth with modern-day science’s discoveries of how Earth came to be, a little more accurately, as far as we know at the moment. Serious attention will be paid to climate change and whether our stories about the Earth need a science update.

 
The show is called StoryEarth and is sponsored by the Parent Engagement Network and Entrepreneurial Earth. Tickets are available at: https://www.parentengagementnetwork.org/odds-bodkin