“When a griot dies, a library burns” (African proverb)
Details about event

Friday, June 7 @ 3pm, Columbus Arts Festival “Word Is Art” Stage, Bicentennial Park

West African griots are storytellers, memory-keepers, and historians of families, communities, and societies. On June 7, Cleveland’s Papa Assane M’baye, founder of TamTam Magic, will sample this oral tradition, with drummers, before a live audience at the Columbus Arts Festival. This event is co-hosted by the Ohio Immigrant Alliance and Columbus Free Press.

Contributors to the Ohio Migration Anthology will read from their work, and the Columbus Free Press and Ohio Immigrant Alliance will invite the audience to additional community storytelling opportunities. 

WHO: Papa Assane M’bayegriot and founder of Tam Tam Magic, with 2 drummers; Lynn Tramonte, Director, Ohio Immigrant Alliance; Mark D. Stansbery with the Columbus Free Press; author Dr. Tarunjit Butalia; radio host Tim Chavez; and Milenko (Miles) Budimir, educator and contributor to Ohio Migration Anthology Volume 2, “(Everything Is) Cells and Bodies”

WHAT: Oral storytelling, drumming, and community connection

WHEN/WHERE: Friday, June 7, 3-4pm at the Columbus Arts Festival, Word Is Art Stage, Bicentennial Park (233 Civic Center Drive)

Every month, the Columbus Free Press hosts its own community storytelling and gathering space, virtually, at their Second Saturday Salons. The Ohio Immigrant Alliance also promotes storytelling in its serial book, the Ohio Migration Anthology. Published in 2021 and 2023, with the next volume slated for 2025, the Ohio Migration Anthology is a collection of paintings, textile art, short stories, interviews, essays, poems, plays, and more, created by people with a connection to Ohio and to migration – of any kind. The latest volume, “(Everything Is) Cells and Bodies,” posits that despite our citizenship or migration status, we are all the same, made up of cells and bodies. 

This is the third year the Ohio Immigrant Alliance is bringing artists to the Columbus Arts Festival. Far From Their Eyes: Ohio Migration Anthology, Volume 1(Everything Is) Cells & Bodies: Ohio Migration Anthology, Volume 2, and Broken Hope: Deportation and the Road Home will be available for purchase at the event. Artists of all kinds are invited to contribute their work for possible publication in Volume 3 of the Ohio Migration Anthology no later than December 31, 2024.

Check out Papa Assane M’baye’s drumming at the Lakewood Arts Festival.

Parking and Other Information: Columbus Commons Main Garage (55 E. Rich St.) is an eight minute walk to Bicentennial Park. For downtown street parking, use the ParkColumbus app to submit payment. Find the Festival map and more information on the Columbus Arts Festival website.