Odds Bodkin – Storytelling in the Bardic Tradition

Odds Bodkin Bard and Storyteller Press Play to hear Odds Bokin speak on Storytelling in the Bardic Tradition on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.

Press Play to hear Odds Bokin speak on Storytelling in the Bardic Tradition on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.

Odds Bodkin Writes…
Bardic storytelling–that is, spoken words with live music–is a tradition that dates back to Homer and more deeply into almost all
shamanic traditions. Homer plucked a lyre, scholars believe, and recited The Iliad and The Odyssey with character voices. Shamanic traditions have used music with spoken narrative to transport audiences ever since local history and the religious impulse demanded human expression.
When audiences witness dual muses at work in a performance (wordplay interfused with extemporaneous music) listeners are quickly transported into an ancient mental space that we all inherit through our DNA, much the way we inherit the fight or flight response along with our bodies and brains. We’re hard wired for it. Our unconscious minds listen and remember. In a world overwhelmed by screen life, bardic storytelling is a refreshing experience, one that harnesses the creativity of the audience.


Odds Bodkin’s character-voice and music-filled storytelling style has been mesmerizing listeners, young and old, for twenty-four years. The New York Times dubbed him “a consummate storyteller” while TIMEOUT New York writes, “Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin is the talk of the town with his remarkable one-man Art of the Tale.” His most recent recording, The Harper and The King: The Story of Young David won the Parent’s Choice Gold Award, The Dove Family Foundation Award and the Storytelling World Award.

A graduate of Duke University, Mr. Bodkin taught storytelling and imagination for seven years at Antioch New England Graduate School while pursuing a full-time career as a children’s author and musical storyteller. He has been a featured teller at The National Storytelling Festival, performed twice at The White House, and at schools, universities, museums and theaters across America. He has told stories and conducted workshops as far afield as Bangkok, Thailand and Great Britain.

Perkins Panda, a special product for children born blind and their families created with Perkins School for the Blind, features three original Odds Bodkin children’s books, three audio’s, and a Gund Panda toy.

His all-original music on 12string guitars, Celtic harp, grand piano and other instruments makes his collection of stories resemble pieces of musical theater as much as storytelling. His seventeen award-winning audio recordings range from original dino-musicals for young children (his multiple-award winning Little Proto Trilogy) through an eclectic collection of international folktales, fairytales, and comic tall tales. His audios have won the Golden Headset Award, Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Awards, two Indie Awards, the Storytelling World Award and many others. His four children’s picture books are published by Harcourt, Houghton-Mifflin and Little, Brown publishers and have won The Pick of the Lists, Booklist Editors’ Choice, The Storytelling World Award and the New York Public Library’s 100 Best Titles for Reading and Sharing, among others.

His renowned epic tellings – The Odyssey (four hours long) and — The Rage of Hercules — have earned him a national reputation, in –Billboard’s words, as “a modern-day Orpheus.”

His website http://www.oddsbodkin.net features an online store offering Bodkin’s books, CD’s and MP3 downloads, an occasional blog, and other features.


  • By Layne, October 26, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    Odds is Homer personified: brilliant.

  • By Charles Johnson, October 27, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    I’ve always loved how Star Wars is almost universally recognized as an accessible example of leitmotif.

    Odds is the best, I don’t know any other entertainer who does what he does. Many of us play music with, or as part of, our storytelling, but very few use it in the same manner that it’s used in a movie: as an emotional conveyance, or a second teller helping to describe the action; and fewer still (maybe only Odds) use it that way as a solo.

    As for whether or not it’s above the audience’s head, I think we as artists will look at work as complicated as what Odds produces and analyze it for it’s complexity, maybe to try and determine how it works. We study the components and how they’re assembled and say “wow that’s complicated”. But, the audience sees it as a whole, they don’t try to determine why they enjoy it, they simply enjoy it.
    If I took my car apart it would be a monumental task to understand and put together, but if I leave it together, it will take me anywhere.
    On the other hand, I derive a great deal of pleasure from taking things apart.

    Another great interview Eric.

  • By Dawn, July 4, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

    It is interesting that those people who are true “masters”, penetrating their art form deeply with their own individuality, do inspire us to become more truly ourselves in our own artistic work. I thank you for pointing that out in this interview, Eric. Thanks for all your inspiration to storytellers everywhere. Your web-site is my top pick of all storytelling sites. Keep up the great work.

  • By Brother Wolf, July 5, 2012 @ 9:19 am

    Thanks Dawn

    I appreciate your positive feedback. I encourage you to link to the site from your local groups website or your personal site if you feel that the show has added to your sense of storytelling.

    All the Best

    Eric Wolf

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