Story-Teller

Houston school-children are getting a special treat this week -- but it has nothing to do with Halloween. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports -- the many HISD students will hear the tales of the Jali -- or story-teller.

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Queen Nur is a story-teller in the West African tradition. She weaves tales from mythology, African culture, African-American history and folktales together. Last year, Queen Nur gave 72 performances at New Orleans schools. She was supposed to do the same this year but Hurricane Katrina hit. Now she's in Houston to bring something familiar to the evacuees in local schools.

Queen Nur began her story-telling career 13 years ago at her children's school and was encouraged to pursue story-telling as a craft. She says story-telling is the oldest form of art.

The performance is exciting, interactive and contagious. Queen Nur uses traditional African and African-American elements like call and response, rhythmic drumming and even hip hop to draw her audiences into her stories.

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