J’miah Nabawi is an award-winning, multi-faceted storyteller. His upbeat storytelling reflects the story-dance-musical storytelling drama found in many parts of Africa and its diaspora. J’miah also tells and adapts stories from around the world. Through his presentations, he has often served as cultural ambassador, program host, and parent engagement facilitator at various venues presenting culturally entertaining, family-friendly, children’s programs and educational workshops. Bilingual in Spanish and a polyglot of sorts, J’miah is known to incorporate story-specific phrases, greetings, songs and text in Japanese; Yoruba; Gullah; French; Russian; Twi; Ki-Swahili; Chinese and other languages as a form of inclusion and to make deeper connections with immigrant communities, children and families whose mother-tongue is other than English. J’miah has shared his brand of high-spirited storytelling across the U.S. and Mexico in schools, art, history and science museums, colleges and universities. The Founder of Savannah Storyfest, an arts-based historic Savannah walking tour company, J’miah brings Georgia’s history to life in the historic characters and representations of George Leile (his life from 1750’s through 1784), America’s first licensed and ordained African American Baptist Minister, Les Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint Domingue: The Haitians participation in the American Revolution, and Quashee Alice, the Gullah-Geechee connection to Michael Row de Boat Ashore, the peanut, and the Great Migration in America. Awarded by the National Storytelling Network (NSN) in Jonesborough, TN, J’miah is also an esteemed recipient of the “ORACLE Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership, Southeast Region,” for the contributions he has made to his community through the art of storytelling.
Arts Disciplines: Storytelling, Music, Theatre/Drama, Social Studies/American History, Creative Writing, Visual Arts/Crafts
Core Content Curriculum Areas: Music; Language Arts (English); Foreign Languages (Gullah-Geechee, French, Spanish, Ki-Swahili); Theatre/Drama; Character Education; Physical Education
Specialized Content Areas: Arts Integration, Character Education, Language Arts, ELL, World Cultures, Physical Education
Grade Levels: Pre-K, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Colleges and Universities
Special Populations: ELL (English Language Learners), At-risk Students
Pre-Service Learning and Professional Development: Post-Secondary/Pre-Service Learning, Professional Development for K-12 Teachers
Geographic Availability: Metro Atlanta, Macon, Savannah and their surrounding areas. Also available for South Georgia—Brunswick, Ludowici, Valdosta, St. Mary’s, GA
- Performances: Program Fees are the same unless otherwise stated, including school assemblies and public events.
- $600 for 1 show
- $1,100 for 2 shows back-to-back
- $1,650 for 3 shows back-to-back
- Artist Residencies:
- 3-Days minimum, $1,800.00 plus overnight accommodations in a national brand hotel if necessary.
- 5-Day residency outside of Savannah area, $2,700, plus overnight accommodations in a national brand hotel.
- 5-Day residency within Savannah area, $2,250
All fees are negotiable and the artist is willing to work within limited budgets.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, J’miah Nabawi’s professional storytelling career was inspired by the late celebrated Mandinka Djeli (Griot), Djimou Kouyate, and Linda Goss, “The Official Storyteller of Philadelphia” who would eventually become a mentor. An award-winning, multi-faceted storyteller, J’miah’s upbeat storytelling reflects the story-dance-musical storytelling drama found in many parts of Africa and its diaspora. J’miah also tells and adapts stories from around the world. Through his presentations, he has often served as cultural ambassador, program host, and parent engagement facilitator at various venues presenting culturally entertaining, family-friendly, children’s programs and educational workshops. J’miah has shared his brand of high-spirited storytelling across the U.S. and Mexico in schools; art, history, and science museums; and colleges and universities. Bilingual in Spanish and a polyglot of sorts, J’miah is known to incorporate story-specific phrases, greetings, songs and text in Japanese; Yoruba; Gullah; French; Russian; Twi; Ki-Swahili; Chinese and other languages as a form of inclusion and to make deeper connections with immigrant communities, children and families whose mother-tongue is other than English.
Under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), J’miah has appeared on the concert stage at regional and nationally recognized international festivals and events with concert pianists, professional Chamber Music ensembles, Jazz ensembles, and University Student Mass Choirs. As an actor/storyteller, J’miah’s primary mentors and stage training have come from internationally acclaimed Jazz singer and Playwright, the late Oscar Brown, Jr., Linda Goss, “The Official Traveling Storyteller of Philadelphia”, renowned Ghanaian Ethnomusicologist, Dr. Kwasi Aduonum, and American Playwright and Director of Theater and Film, George C. Wolfe.
J’miah has more than thirty years of teaching experience that is inclusive of teaching English as a foreign language (ESL) through the arts in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Under the auspices of various state arts councils —Pennsylvania Arts Council; Virginia Council for the Arts; Massachusetts Arts Council; B.O.C.E.S. in Binghamton, N.Y. and South Carolina Arts Commission — J’miah has been a visiting performing artist in public schools throughout the U.S. and Mexico. His arts-in-education teaching experience includes the school districts of Philadelphia, PA; Blue Mountain Schools (Orwigsburg, PA); Miami-Dade, FL; Boston Public Schools (MA); Los Angeles Unified School District; Fulton County Schools (Atlanta, GA); and Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. For his work with children in urban and underserved rural communities as a teaching artist, J’miah has received acknowledgements and proclamations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (PA); Miami Dade City Council (FL); Philadelphia Worlds Affair Council; City of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino; and the WTOC News’ Community Spirit Award (Savannah, GA). Under the tutelage and mentorship of Dr. Richard Benjamin and the late Susan Hanson, J’miah has been trained in Arts Integration with being an end user of Leonard Bernstein Artful Learning®.
Please note. Sample lesson plans for WOOD Makes Music!™, There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale™; and Tell-Aerobic-Tales™ are available upon request for schools inquiring about a residency and are adaptable to suit lesson plans and classroom goals to meet standards.
- There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale: There’s Rhythm in the Telling of a Tale™ includes various interactive, interdisciplinary storytelling presentations reflective of the “story-dance-musical drama” of Africa and its diaspora, particularly of Anansesem, the telling of Kwaku Ananse (Anansi/Ananse the spider-man) stories and their supporting recreational folktale songs known as Mmoguo. The Mmoguo traditionally have been used as musical interludes and interactive play to move the stories along during Anansesem and to relieve boredom and monotony during long storytelling sessions and at social gatherings. Gankogui (double bell/gong), Axatse (gourd rattles), hand drums and various hand-held percussion instruments, whistles, hand-clapping patterns with dance and creative movement are joined with the Mmoguo (recreational folktale-songs) that prompt the spontaneous creation of a “storytelling ensemble” from the audience with everyone joining in as the stories are told, sung, danced to and drummed during the telling of the tale.
- Disciplines: Storytelling, Music, Creative Movement
- Grade Levels: All ages
- Number of Students: maximum of 350 students
- Program Length: 1 hour
- Facility and Technical Requirements: Stage/staging or gymnasium (enough space to accommodate the program); 2 cordless mics, 1 lapel mic
- Tell-Aerobic-Tales™:Conceived by J’miah Nabawi, Tell-Aerobic-Tales™ (Tell-Aerobics™) is interactive storytelling that integrates physical exertion, aerobic activity, and play into the telling of a folktale. The Tell-Aerobics™ program has been featured at various family outdoor fitness bazaars and at Middle Georgia State College (Warner Robins, GA) under the auspices of its early childhood and special education programs and its social and health sciences schools. Tell-Aerobic-Tales™ are available for health education and fitness seminars, physical education classes, and special events programming promoting family fitness, literacy, and health.
- Disciplines: Storytelling, Aerobic and Physical Activity
- Grade Levels: All grades
- Number of Students: maximum of 150 students Program Length: 50 mins.
- Facility and Technical Requirements: Clear space; cordless/lapel mic preferred
- WOOD Makes Music!™: WOOD Makes Music!™ is a marimba-making experiential craft activity designed to introduce participants to the sonorous properties of wood and the application of specialized information and knowledge to construct a musical instrument. An arts installation project, the program was conceived and designed by J’miah Nabawi as a playful response to a national exhibit (“What Makes Music?”) at the Franklin Institute Planetarium and Science Museum in Philadelphia that was touring the U.S. during the 1990s. The program is in partnership with the school art instructor. Discussion and planning is necessary prior to booking the program.
- Theme: The science of sound production
- Discipline: Science, Arts and Crafts, Storytelling, Africa and Asia
- Grade Levels: K-2nd grade for coloring the designs made onto the wooden keys by upper grades; 3rd-12th at various points of the project/activities
- Number of Students: Varies depending on the class size and capacity of the visual art classroom
Please visit the artist’s website for more programming possibilities.
Sample Lesson Plans/Program Outlines: