Bringing together world perspectives

Get comfy and settle in for a good story.

The Third Annual Orcas Storyfest starts Tuesday, Aug. 4 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 8.

Organizers Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo of Eth-Noh-Tec, who have been part-timers on Orcas since 2001, have invited Eshu Bumpus and Motoko of Mass., and Olga Loya of Calif., nationally known master storytellers and peers, to perform. Also slated to present are Northwest favorites Doug Banner, Kelvin Saxton and Anneliese Kamola, and Orcas Island’s own Antoinette Botsford.

Kikuchi-Yngojo says they started the festival after thinking to himself: “Why not only share the island with our friends, but share our friends with Orcas? How about a storytelling festival?”

Wang and Kikuchi-Yngojo were originally introduced to Orcas Island in 1999 when they performed at Orcas Center. The couple fell in love with the island, returned yearly to vacation, and finally bought a home on Orcas Highlands.

Storytelling’s popularity as an art form has been growing in the last 35 years. Kikuchi-Yngojo and Wang estimate there is a storytelling festival somewhere in the world every week.

“Storytellers are the most wonderful community,” Wang said. “In order to be a storyteller, you have to have been someone already who loves and cares about people and the world. Stories have always been part of not only entertaining one’s tribe since the beginning of time, but teaching their groups how to live together, to value relationships with each other, with nature, with difference.”

“We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to be part of this international community,” added Kikuchi-Yngojo.

Eth-Noh-Tec, which will also perform during the festival, has told stories around the world. They received the “Circle of Excellence Award” by the National Storytelling Network, “Artist of the Year” by National Young Audiences, recently performed for the Obama Inaugural events, and have been funded by NEA, City of San Francisco and many more.

Motoko, originally from Japan, brings delight, humor, grace and mime to her storytelling; Bumpus, an African American teller, enlivens his African folktales with songs; and Loya, Mexican American, is a bilingual teller, using both Spanish and English to tell her stories.

The Storyfest is being produced by Eth-Noh-Tec and sponsored by the Friends of the Library. To volunteer or donate, call 376-8705 or visit

“These professional storytellers will draw from their unique and varied backgrounds with origins both pure and blended, representing the cultures of our diverse American milieu, as they inspire, thrill, and entertain with stories,” Kikuchi-Yngojo said.

Storyfest Schedule

Tuesday, Aug. 4: Senior Center, “Wisdom, Wit and Wily Ways” 1 p.m. Free.

Wednesday, Aug. 5: Orcas Library, “Pajama Tales,” 6:30 p.m. Free.

Thursday, Aug. 6: Orcas Library, “Listen to the Heart of the World,” 7 p.m. Free.

Friday Aug. 7: Senior Center, “Telling from Family Treasures,” 1 p.m. Sliding scale $5-15.

Friday, Aug. 7: The Funhouse, “Ghost Stories!” 9 p.m. Free.

Saturday, Aug. 8: Stage on the Green, “Tales and Ticklers,” 1 p.m. Free.

Saturday, Aug. 8: Orcas Center, “World of Stories” 7:30 p.m. $10.