Biography

Dan Keding, storyteller of international acclaim, is well known for his telling of traditional world folktales, personal narratives of his boyhood in Chicago, ghost stories and dark tales, and superbly crafted original pieces. As a child he learned the traditional stories that his grandmother brought to this country from Croatia. A well-respected ballad singer, he accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons. This combination of dynamic storytelling and powerful ballad singing has made him a festival and concert favorite throughout the US, Great Britain and Ireland, endearing him to audiences of all ages.

 

 

In the summer of 2000, in recognition of his artistic achievements and his contributions to the art of storytelling, Dan was presented the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network. Dan has been a featured performer at some of the most prestigious events in storytelling including The National Storytelling Festival, The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, The Texas Storytelling Festival, The Sidmouth International Folk Arts Festival (England), and Festival at the Edge (England). His love for story goes beyond the performance stage and into research, resulting in a unique masters degree from The University of Illinois at Springfield in the history and performance of traditional folktales and ballads. As an adjunct professor at the UI Springfield, Dan taught courses on the literature and art of storytelling. He is also a Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Illinois in the Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences. He currently writes a column on storytelling for the folk music magazine Sing Out. He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including a Halloween special on London Radio BBC.

 

Dan is a sought after workshop and seminar leader for teachers, librarians, and professional and amateur storytellers and has been a featured presenter at dozens of conferences. Among these are The National Storytelling Conference, The Florida Storytelling Camp, Storytelling at the Edge Workshops in Shropshire, England, The Society for Storytelling Conference in England, and the International Storytelling Institute at East Tennessee State University.

 

Working as a performer and as an educator for over thirty years, he has entertained students from pre-school through high school in countless assemblies and served as artist-in-residence for over 400 schools. In 1989 he received a Special Recognition Award from the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education and in 1993 was awarded a Distinguished Service Award from the Sun Foundation for the Arts & Environmental Sciences. In 1994 & 1995 he was awarded Artist Achievement Awards from The Springfield Area Arts Council in recognition of his professional accomplishments.

His first book Stories of Hope & Spirit - Folktales from Eastern Europe won the prestigious Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award and The Storytelling World Honor Award for 2005. His second book, English Folktales, coauthored with Amy Douglas, was released in the fall of 2005 and won the 2007 Storytelling World Winner Award. His latest book, Elder Tales, came out in the fall of 2007. Dan has released over a dozen recordings during his career. His newest CD, Wisdon and Wayfaring also won a 2007 Storytelling World Winner Award. The Gypsy Wagon and Other Neighborhood Tales, remembrances of a Chicago boyhood, was awarded the 2003 Storytelling World Winner Award. In 2000, he recorded In A Dead Man's Company, a CD of dark and ghostly stories that also received The Storytelling World Winner Award. In 1999, his recording Rudy and the Roller Skate, original & traditional folktales and songs, won the American Library Association Notable Recording for Children Award. In 1998, three of Dan's recordings won the Storytelling World Honor Award, Rudy and the Roller Skate, Strawberries in Winter, and Once Upon a Midlife, recorded with Janice Del Negro. Other recordings by Dan include Stories From The Other Side, which was included in the ALA book Best of the Best for Children.

Dan also produced and was one of the featured artists on the recording Tales Across the Ocean that featured five American and five Irish tellers and that also won the Storytelling World Winner Award in 2000. In 2000, he also released Promises Kept, Promises Broken, traditional and original stories and ballads. Dan's stories appear not only on his CD's but also in print. His story "The Tear" appears in the award- winning book Stories and Songs of Simple Living, in the British school guide Promoting Positive Behavior, and in the book The Healing Heart - Communities, along with his story "The Two Warriors." A traditional story that he collected and adapted, "The Dancing Fiddle", was included in the August House book, More Ready to Tell Tales From Around the World. "Rudy & the Rollerskate" appears in The Scenic Route: Stories from the Heartland, a publication by the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana.

 

Dan has also been active as an organizer and leader in the storytelling community. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Association from 1996-1998. He was the artistic director of the Bluestem Storyfest from 1997 to 2001 and the Clayville Music & Storytelling Festival from 1986 -1989. For six years Dan was the host and artistic director of the award winning local cable show The Grapevine Harvest featuring storytellers and folksingers from around the world.

 

Dan has performed at festivals, schools, libraries, colleges and concert halls. He tells the old stories from times long ago and people almost forgotten and he tells the stories of his own journey and the people whom he will never forget. Folktales and fairy tales, myths and legends, original stories and personal narratives these are the tales of storyteller Dan Keding.