Karen Czarnik is an amazing singer and storyteller in her own right. I saw her present a workshop on this topic at the Ohio Storytelling conference and was so impressed with her I had to being her on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf so that she could free up all of our voices for singing…
—–Karen Czarnik wirtes…
Although most people love to sing, not everyone feels confident singing in public. We sing in the car, sing in the shower and we sing when we are alone. Everyone has a primitive connection to sound, song and rhythm. Rhythm, sound and pattern are in all things made natural by our earth and our maker. It is instinctive that we make sound and music. It is instinctive that we sing.
As performers we have the opportunity to ignite an audience with poignant, inspirational, or amusing stories and songs. We do however encounter audiences who are sometimes reluctant to join in on the chant. Audiences connect with a performer when our energy is contagious. When they feel connected they feel it’s safe to “join in.” It is especially important to encourage parents to sing with family audiences. Children are “given permission” to sing and participate when they see their parents doing the same. As we know all too well, children learn best by what they see and hear.
Many of the songs in my collection are call and response, movement, and rhythm tunes for audiences young at heart. I love to encourage my audience to participate by clapping, tapping, dancing, and especially singing. It’s also fun to experiment with sound by having audiences clap hands, legs, and found objects to rattle out the rhythm.
As a Storyteller, I weave songs into my stories as well as sing songs that tell stories. The repetitive nature of rhythm and song fit beautifully into story and invite the audience to intertwine and become a part of the telling. I create songs that are easy to sing, both lyrically and vocally.
I encourage storytellers to bring song into their performances regardless of whether or not they consider themselves a professional singer. As with stories, the most important part of a song is its intention or message, not its messenger. As a song leader, you don’t have to be a grand singer or musician to engage folks. Let loose, have fun, and play!
As a storyteller, singer, songwriter and musician, Karen’s unique performances combine music and tale to teach, engage, encourage and tickle the funny bone. Her collaboration of character and story reveal colorful images in the minds of listeners. From stage to elementary classrooms, campfires to coffee houses, Karen’s music, voice and stories inspire audiences of all ages.
Linking her music and theatrical work with the traditions of Storytelling, Karen incorporates physical animation, characters, and stories & songs both old and new. Accompanying herself on Autoharp, she creates an energetic experience of song & story. Karen also gets her audiences involved, with her unique collection of “call and response”, “make some rhythm”, and “follow the movement” songs. Karen has been a Performing Artist since childhood, and has been involved in a variety of performance roles. In 1996, Karen discovered the world of storytelling, and has been mesmerized, enchanted and engaged in the art form ever since.
If you enjoyed this interview be sure to check out her website at http://www.storyrhythms.com/