by Emilie Haertsch
Thus begins Linda Goss’s presentation “Can’t Tell A Lie, Peach Cobbler Pie!” We had the opportunity to sit down with Linda and blues instrumentalist Ed Stokes to discuss plans for their upcoming Humanities on the Road taping, sponsored by Jump Street, at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg. Linda and Ed will give viewers and audience members the opportunity to explore traditional African American storytelling through interactive music and movement.
Linda has a strong background in storytelling. She is the official storyteller of Philadelphia and confounder of the National Association of Black Storytellers. She and Ed, who has a musical background in samba and Afro-Cuban and makes many of his own instruments, have been working together for several years. Ed says that he and Linda work well together because he is particularly interested in the voyage of blues music from West Africa to the United States, and Linda has roots in the Mississippi Delta region that developed that sound.
In the African American tradition, Linda says, music and storytelling are inseparable. Although some of the stories she tells now exist in written form, originally they were all passed only through oral tradition. Many of the stories star animals and have a fable-like form, but Linda describes them as “ageless.” They are tales of encouragement relevant at all stages of life. And Linda is quick to remind us that this form of storytelling does not exist only in the South. She has heard “Head and Shoulders,” one of the songs she will perform for the taping, in North Philadelphia.
If you live in the Harrisburg area you are invited to be in the audience of the “Can’t Tell A Lie, Peach Cobbler Pie!” taping, which will take place at 1:00 P.M. on April 10th at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore. Those not able to make the taping can view the program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network this fall. To receive email updates about the Humanities on the Road air times, click here. Learn more about the art of storytelling at the National Storytelling Network.