New children’s book celebrates traditional African storytelling

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African Moonlight Stories by Ayodapo Ayansiji Oyelana and Akinyemi Muyiwa Dahunsi shares four illustrated tales featuring African creatures

BALTIMORE (MMD Newswire) November 1, 2010 — “African Moonlight Stories” by Ayodapo Ayansiji Oyelana and Akinyemi Muyiwa Dahunsi offers a collection of anecdotes intended to invoke the African tradition of storytelling on moonlit nights.

According to Oyelana and Dahunsi, storytelling is one of the intrinsic components of many African cultures. The pair contends that folktales have been shared for countless generations not only for fun and amusement, but also to educate and impart values and morals. Oyelana and Dahunsi explain that among the Yoruba people of West Africa, many of the stories feature a wide and cunning tortoise. The tortoise character is featured in each of the stories found in the book, interacting with other animals and playing a part in the narrative. In each story, various animals are tricked or misled by the cunning turtle and must find some means to escape his plans.

“For hundreds of years in many villages, stories have been told in the night when everybody returns from working on the farm,” Dahunsi says. “When it is clear and there is good moonlight, the storytelling sessions may be prolonged and last well into the early hours of morning.” While growing up, Oyelana experienced singing, drumming, dancing and pure entertainment, and remarks that they are all part of the central focus points of storytelling art in Africa.

Designed to educate and entertain, the book features numerous companion folksongs that accompany the stories. Audio recordings of the folksongs are available for download at www.iyailu.com. The book also includes original illustrations by Tolulope Akingbile that feature major characters and portray important plot points.

“African Moonlight Stories” is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.

About the Author

Ayodapo Ayansiji Oyelana is a musician and storyteller. Raised in a family of drummers, he made his performing debut at the age of six and remains devoted to his art. After graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University, Oyelana became involved in propagating cultural heritage through performing arts and children’s storytelling, as well as public health campaign advocacy activities with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) while working and understudying Jimi Solanke, the master storyteller, performing artist and super actor. Today, he is a seasoned and program presenter, story teller, master of ceremony and a lead talking drummer.

Akinyemi Muyiwa Dahunsi is a writer and poet. Born to a farming family in the small town of Eruwa, Nigeria, Dahunsi grew up in the midst of Yoruba language, customs and culture. He is a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and studied English at Osun State College of Education at Ila Orangun. He has published four books to his credit.

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