Monday, January 26, 2009

The Passing of Toby Kinsella

Last night at storytelling, I got the news that my friend Toby Kinsella passed away the Sunday previous in Ireland after a relatively short battle with cancer. He was diagnosed with a malignant tumor that had formed around the base of his spine back in August 2008, and although there were some successful operations, the cancer had spread too quickly to stop it's rampage upon this gentle and talented man.

Toby was a musician and storyteller who lived and loved his passions. He could play over 40 different instruments (often several at the same time!) and managed to combine his musical talents with storytelling to great effect. He performed in schools, festivals, pubs, everywhere, anywhere. He was well-known in Montreal, but also across Ireland.

He is one of my many inspirations to becoming a storyteller myself. He always gave me honest and encouraging advice and always pushed me to put my fears aside and live my artform. I will always be grateful to him for his kind words.

So as a tribute to Toby (and with permission from his daughter Isabeau), I am posting one of his musical stories, which is a collaboration with his son Django.

King of Fools: Toby Kinsella and Django Doucet (3:08 minutes)

Good night Toby... Until we meet again.

Update: You can share your Toby stories at This blog was set up by Toby's children Isabeau and Django.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Upcoming Gigs and New Postings

I was chatting with a friend last night and she pointed out that posting once a month is not a good way to build an audience. Many podcasters post once a week or more, but that's a bit heavy for me. I don't really have enough material to post once a week, but twice a month might be interesting.

I've got a gig at the Our Lady of Pompei elementary school at the end of February which entails doing three shows and telling about 8-10 different stories. It'll be fun to record these shows with children and will certainly increase my repertoire of postable podcasts. In the meantime, it's likely I will post another story in January. Truth be told, I was itching to post The Month Men in December.

In February, I will be posting a love story told by Sarah, a telling she did a few years ago, called The Dark Princess. I also have a Japanese story told by Roman Pylat entitled The Boy Who Drew Cats, but I'll need his permission before I put it up.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up, so if you know of anyone who would be interested in having a storyteller to come and tell a few tales, be sure to let me know! If you like the stories posted here, please help me advertise this site and pass the word along!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January story: The Month Men

This month's story was recorded at Chateau Ramezay in Montreal with a modest audience of a dozen people.

I first heard this story years ago as told by montreal teller Molly Walsh at a Storytelling Swap evening (hosted by the Montreal Storyteller's Guild). I've told it a few times since then, experimenting with different elements and structures, and I finally got it into a format that I really like.

The ending has always been a bit tricky because there are several ways to end it, but not all of them are suitable to the audience. I had children in my audience, so I stuck with the "tea" metaphor, although the adult members of my audience seemed to understand what the "tea" metaphor could also mean. It's a good balance, I think.

News: This story was published on my new CD "The Bard's New Hat". Read more about it on my website.

The Month Men: A Russian story (11 minutes)

I hope you enjoy this story! Please leave me a comment and pass this story link to anyone else you think might enjoy it. Thanks for listening!
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey