‘Long Story Short’ a marriage of music and stories
It was two years ago that the idea to carry the experience he had hanging out with friends high in the hills, down to the flatlands, sparked and lingered in Daniel Edwards. He recalled having the time of his life, and thought it could happen all the time, and with just about anyone. So, from his friends on the mount, to the lawns of Grosvenor Gallery will come ‘Long Story Short’, an enigmatic combination of live music experience and storytelling competition.
“Long Story Short is the marriage between music, which is the lifeblood of our people, and stories, which are the paint which decorate the canvas of life. It’s also a platform for the arts in Jamaica and promoting and maintaining our African oral traditions,” Edwards told The Gleaner.
At the event, patrons will enjoy one hour of acoustic music, before competitors are each asked to tell a true story, a real experience – in three minutes. After another round of music, the audience will be asked to decide who had the best story.
“Long Story Short is a safe-haven, a platform for the arts. Other musicians or performers can spontaneously join the music, just as someone from the audience could spontaneously tell a story. It was my friend, Kevin Wallen, who gave me the idea. When we were all together, he just asked us to each tell a story in five minutes,” he explained.
Though wearing many hats, including speaker, financial adviser, and creative entrepreneur, Edwards is also an actor. He was motivated by his small circle hangout, and Wallen’s suggestion, to perpetuate a tradition and promote artistic expression. It was thought that the friends would combine efforts and split a potential profit, but the flame fizzled with everyone, except Edwards.
He shared: “I was the only one still obsessed with it. I even wrote a treatment for a television show producer. She didn’t like it, so I just put it in my back pocket.” Inspiration struck again, at another hangout. This time, he was spending some time at Grosvenor Terrace, the corner-lot compound fitted with a bar, grill, an art gallery, and hostel. “There were some musicians there, talking about having a live jam session, and it hit me – merge the music with stories.” According to Edwards, people who weren’t initially excited at the idea became more attuned when music joined the circle.
Storytellers slated to compete this week are Wayne McGregor, Tami Tsansai, Trishan Haughton, Alina Apostol, BecauseImBlack, Quizz and Mr Edwards, with popular entertainer Rodney Campbell billed as guest storyteller.
Fittingly, this weekend’s inaugural instalment of the event coincides with pioneering Jamaican storyteller Louise Bennett-Coverley’s 100th birthday on Saturday, September 7.