Ferlatte’s masterful performance captivates St George audience
This was an evening of timeless wisdom given by a master storyteller.
Ferlatte’s overarching purpose was to show the interconnectedness of the natural world, the responsibility of humanity in preserving and protecting it and the dire consequences of neglecting or interfering with it.
In the light of recent developments in climate change and concern about global warming, her message was relevant and universal, though punctuated with wit and humour.
To put her message across she used the spoken narrative, a genre as old as humanity. But she also effectively drew on music and rhythm, at the start by using her storyteller’s stick.
Using song, rap, blues, percussion and brilliantly accompanied by guitar and banjo player Erik Pearson, she immersed us in her narratives completely, by sharing her characters’ aspirations, plans and secret thoughts with us in their own language and diction.
Her vocal versatility brought to life the voices of a humming bird, an elephant, a bullfrog, a swarm of mosquitoes or a human chieftain. In a story about an arrogant chieftain unable to sleep at night because of frogs singing in the swamp next to the village, she evocatively mimicked their croaks. Ironically, however, throughout this story our own Bermudian treefrogs in St. George’s kept up their unceasing night-time chorus even when hers fell silent.
Fictional characters from the Uncle Remus stories such as Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox flitted across the stage, brimming with originality of voice and thought.
Ferlatte was a master at using audience participation to draw us in to emphasise parts of the stories. It’s a pity that there were not many children present, but it’s testimony to Ferlatte’s skill that many of us happily joined in.