Ken Waldman, Storyteller

For years, Ken Waldman has been told he's "a storyteller."

That doesn't mean he tells traditional folk tales (although he couldn't resist including the above photo of a raven, which touched down in the midst of a Juneau photo shoot). Instead, he uses stories to introduce or amplify fiddle tunes or poems--and, indeed, some of the poems are, really, just stories too. They're the stories of his life, which began in Philadelphia, continued to North Carolina, and from there rambled through much of North America (with many years in Alaska, including some faraway places in that faraway state).

Ask him now where he's from and there's no short answer. He moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1985, and since 1998 his permanent residence has been in Anchorage. In 2001, with one book published, another soon to be, and two recent and well-received CDs, he understood it was not going to be sustainable to fly to the majority of his jobs, where he'd also need to rent a car. So he drove out of Anchorage to try his luck going from gig to gig, big and small. For five years he was completely itinerant. Since 2006, he's had a second home near Lafayette, Louisiana, though also has spent plenty of time in New York City. Most of the year he's still driving as he continues to work as a touring artist, making himself at home wherever he goes.

He's happy to be considered as guest artist for storytelling events and festivals, where his anecdotal stories invariably include fiddle tunes and original poems, which he either recites from memory or reads.

Most of the videos below are from a June, 2014 solo show at the library in Depauville, New York. The last video with accompanying banjo player, Jerry Hagins, is from an October show at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

 

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