Teddy Black a Storyteller or Seanachai in the Irish Tradition.
Teddy is a well known Irish storyteller steeped in lore handed down orally from old -timers, he is a repository of intimate local history and characters - a seanachai in the venerable Irish tradition. Growing up as a boy in Castletownbere in West Cork, long before television had had any influence in Ireland. Teddy experienced people gathering in neighbouring houses (this kind of house was known as a rambling house) passing on the stories and songs they had heard from their old folk.

Teddy Black
Photo by Mat Higgins

In Castletownbere, they regularly gathered in the forge with the blacksmith, in the boatyard with the shipwright and in the shoemakers shop right there on the main street - a few steps from his home. No sooner was Teddy out of nappies than he was to be found sitting amongst these old timers with his ears cocked for their every word. He says " he lived for the times he spent in those workshops " where the stories they told transported him away to every country in the world and to other worlds too - of spirits, druids and haunted places.

Growing up as a boy in Castletownbere in West Cork, long before television had had any influence in Ireland, Teddy experienced people gathering in neighbouring houses (this kind of house was known as a rambling house) passing on the stories and songs they had heard from their old folk.

He says "he lived for the times he spent in those workshops" where the stories they told transported him away to every country in the world and to other worlds too - of spirits, druids and haunted places.

The characters, their voices and gestures are etched in his mind and their yarns, he remembers came in many guises. These people often talked of seanachaies (traditional Irish storytellers) and often exchanged stories they had heard told on
radio by some of Ireland's best known storytellers.

Teddy's father was from Dublin and his mother was a local woman who ran a guesthouse and restaurant. The guest list was made up of light-house keepers from all over Ireland, travelling salesmen, fishermen, farmers, poultry instructors, cattle buyers and more - each and everyone of them with a story to tell. As a young boy he was fascinated with it all, with the different accents and turn of phrase which left him with a legion of characters and a bottomless well of stories, from which he draws on to the present day in his storytelling performances.

It was when he was relating some of these stories as he got older to friends and family at parties and weddings etc. that he was encouraged to take up the craft. People told him he had a natural ability to draw the audience into the humour and shadows of the stories and that he was a born entertainer.

Teddy Black Castletownbere
Photo by Niall Duffy

In the intervening years since Teddy started telling stories, many people have contributed to his repertoire with their stories, wanting as much as he does, to keep the stories alive and to share and pass on the storytelling tradition to our young people. At his performances some of these young people connect with the stories when they recognise that a character in the story may have been their grandfather or some family member and inspite of living in a sound-bite era they appear to enjoy these evocative yarns.

His trove of tales is rich with fond memories of an Ireland that many sense is slipping away into the mists of time. An expert mimic he goes beyond bringing forth a tale to actually inhabiting the characters themselves.

His performances are invariably enhanced with songs and verse. Here are a few of the words of a very popular song, penned by him some years ago with the theme of old familiar Ireland slipping away : "We say that it's progress, When we've sold off the land, the fish, the sea sand and even the grey rocks as well . Then from mountain to shore we have ripped up and torn the heart and the soul from Ireland" ... This song is on CD and can be purchased directly from Teddy. He is an active contributor to events in the Beara community and is synonymous with Regattas, Festival days and the St. Patrick's Day Parade as Master of Ceremonies.

Presently Teddy is working on a new CD of his favourite stories.
So watch this space
!

“Award -winning storyteller, Teddy Black, has captivated audiences here at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat with his unique combination of traditional Irish stories and his  own songs and tales from Beara. If you could look up “he had them eating out of the palm of his hand” you’d see a picture of  Teddy !  
-  
Sue Booth Forbes of Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat

 

Performances

 Teddy is a regular contributor to radio programmes in Ireland.

 He is listed with Cork Co. Council Arts.

He is a highly accomplished and entertaining after dinner speaker.

He is an experienced Master of Ceremonies.   

He is an active member of Toastmasters International. 
 
 He performs for audiences large and small, local and international in a wide range of formats and venues. These have included Cork Yarnspinners sessions; Courtmacsherry 

Storytelling Festival; St. Patrick’s  Day Festival in Michigan, U.S.A. and in numerous intimate venues such as Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat Ireland,  for  visiting tour groups and regularly for local  groups.   He enjoys performing for both adults and children and welcomes bookings for large and small events.

“Teddy’s performances are always crowd - pleasers here on Bere Island and we welcome him back again and again” -  John Walsh - Bere Island Projects.

To book one of Teddy's storytelling sessions, any time day or evening,   just  call or email - 

 Teddy Black, Storyteller, Seapoint Lodge, Castletownbere, West Cork, Ireland. Home  tel + 353 (0)27 70 292.  Mobile 086 - 377 28 44

Email; blackseapointlodge@eircom.net     See also www.seapointwestcork.com