Cath and Chandrika will be at our Casglu talk on Friday 30th October. If you would like to join us for a coffee and a chat about this project online please book your free slot with firstname.lastname@example.org
Our project is to tell and sing the story of Okha Haran in English, Gujarati and Welsh. Okha Haran is the story of Okha, cursed daughter of the Goddess Parvati. This magical jewel of a story has been passed down through Chandrika’s family for generations. We are grateful to Arts Council Wales’ National Lottery Fund for making this work possible.The funding has given us the time and space to work together and has enabled us to get extra support and inspiration from storytellers Sally Pomme Clayton and Tamar Eluned Williams.
The plan is to share the first part of the story online on 11 December and everyone is welcome to tune in and listen. We’ll be sending out invitations soon through email and on our social media platforms. We would love to tell the whole story in the Spring time, which is the time when this story is traditionally told. We hope this will be an actual live performance with a celebratory feast at the end. We’d love to see you there!
Chandrika was born in Uganda to Indian parents and came to Wales in 1972 as a refugee. She and her siblings were told stories by both her parents, stories from Hindu Epics as well as Indian folk tales. Her father was a Hindu priest and a Kathakaar. Kathakaars tell and sing religious stories from the Mahabharat, Ramayana and the various Puraana. She heard him tell religious epics such as Okha Haran ( in his melodious voice) both to his children and his congregation. Her mother’s stories were often about strong women like Savitri and Draupadi and also fictional characters – stories created by women for women, the stories that she had learnt from her mother. Both her parents had family members who were professional storytellers. Chandrika met Cath Little at a work shop by Frankie Armstrong , and heard from her about storytelling and was instantly attracted to it . She joined the Cardiff Storytelling Circle and started retelling the stories that she had heard from her parents.
Cath is Cardiff born and bred and usually tells stories from her homeland Wales and from her Irish and English heritage. Telling a story from the Hindu tradition is a new challenge for her and she is learning so much from her friend Chandrika. Like Chandrika, she is drawn to the stories of strong women. She is very excited to be finding brave, strong, passionate and magical women in the story of Okha Haran.
Cath has always loved stories. One day she was taking her children around St Fagans National History Museum when she met and heard a professional storyteller for the first time. The storyteller was Daniel Morden and he was telling the Birth of Taliesin. She was inspired and started dreaming up ways of making storytelling her job then and there. It took her a while, she did lots of practising, joined the Cardiff Storytelling Circle and eventually took her first steps on the professional storytelling path in 2006. She has been following her bliss ever since.
Cath’s lockdown highlights have included Casglu, curated by the ever cheerful and inspirational Tamar Eluned Williams. She has also learned a lot from listening at the Privilege Café @privilegecafe, curated by the wonderful Mymuna Soleman. Chandrika’s lock down highlights have been securing a place on the BTB mentoring programme and getting an opportunity to work in collaboration with one of her favourite story tellers – Cath Little.