The Singapore International Storytelling Festival recently had the Ramayana staged through story telling. My good friend, Kamini was adapting it to 6 wonderful storytellers. And i just have to go watch and listen it for myself. The whole Ramayana within 2 hours and 6 storytellers, thats a challenge. And i was not disappointed!
The Ramayana travelled from India to China and all of South East Asia and greatly influenced most of Asia’s storytelling genres from wayang kulit, to dance, to puppetry and masks. This great epic of love, adventure, demons and kings will be retold by Singapore’s best loved storytellers. I left for a while to the Kingdom of Ayodhya and entered the Dandaka Forest and traveled to the Island of Lanka with royal princes, a kidnapped princess, a monkey general and of course the ten-headed leader of therakshasa demons!
It was such an enchantment to be transported into the realm of ancient legend. Such a perfect way to end of my hectic week!
Me and Kamini at The Ramayana
A little snippet about Kamini! 🙂
Storytelling has always been vital for Kamini Ramachandran, from her earliest memories of her grandparents telling her stories to her efforts in continuing this storytelling tradition with her two young sons every day since they were babies.
Fluent in both English and Malay, Kamini studied English Literature & Language at the University of Reading (UK) and taught Speech and Drama privately in Kuala Lumpur before becoming a mother. An avid collector of Children’s Literature, Kamini is especially interested in Malaysian stories (such as legends from Borneo, beautiful stories from Langkawi, the clever animal tales of Sang Kancil and Buaya, and lesser known Orang Asli stories) as she still feels the pull of jungle spirits, having grown up in the jungles of Pahang, Perak and Johor.
While she is comfortable telling stories to children using puppets, kamishibai boards, masks and songs, she is also adept at telling stories for adults, drawing on her preference for darker, ambiguous, other-realm tales. Her adult storytelling repertoire includes original stories based on personal experience (e.g. ‘The Dato Tree’), adaptations of popular urban legends (e.g. ‘The Karak Highway Incident’) and lesser known fairytales (e.g. ‘Umpong Umpong and Babakud’).
Presently a Singapore resident, Kamini joined forces with Verena Tay to found MoonShadow Stories in November 2004 with the aim of promoting the lost art of the oral narrative. Both Kamini and Verena strongly believe that if they can re-introduce the beauty and wonder of storytelling to adults, then children will benefit. Hence, they were the first contemporary storytellers in Singapore to focus on storytelling for adults. Since 2005, MoonShadow Stories has been busy telling stories to adults and children at The Substation, The Arts House, various museums, theatres, schools, malls, festivals, parks, restaurants, libraries and other venues in Singapore and overseas.
Kamini has gained an international presence as a storyteller with invitations to present keynotes in India, to participation in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2010 in Edinburgh.
As part of a special Storytelling Association (Singapore) sub-committee, she was instrumental in consulting for the National Book Development Council Singapore to organize the inaugural Singapore International Storytelling Festival (2006).
Since 2005, Kamini has hosted World Storytelling Day every March for passionate storytellers in Singapore with a soiree of eating, drinking and storytelling. MoonShadow Stories celebrated their 5th anniversary with the first ever storytelling marathon in Singapore on World Storytelling Day in 2010.
Drawing on her extensive knowledge of stories and the storytelling craft, Kamini has provided storytelling consultancy services for a variety of museums, educational institutions and organizations. She has conducted numerous storytelling workshops for children as well as adults from introductory to master class level. She has been commissioned to research and create storytelling content for animation projects, folklore publications as well as curated museum exhibitions.
The Singapore media is fond of featuring Kamini’s talents as a professional storyteller. She is the only storyteller to have had a regular weekly slot on radio telling stories during 2005-2006. More recently, she has been interviewed on radio programmes such as ‘The Living Room’, ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Passion People’ (93.8Live) about her work as a storyteller. The New Paper has also written a feature article on her life as a professional storyteller.
Kamini mentors and nurtures individuals on their storytelling journey for she believes in building a community of storytellers. She helped found the Storytelling Association Singapore (SAS) in early 2006, and is currently serving her fourth term as the Association’s President.
Thank you Kamini for the wonderful time!
Till next year! I am so looking forward!