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The sun is shining upon Detroit griots

Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2007.

Gorgeous weather, friendly people and a real life griot greeted us on opening day in Detroit, MI. Indeed, standing at the podium (next to Melvin Reeves, Manager for the StoryCorps Griot Initiative), Cardinal Mbuyi Chui explained the traditional role of griots such as himself and the significance of the StoryCorps’ Griot Initiative.

The Cardinal is with the Shrines of the Black Madonna of the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church and he is partnering with us to record the stories of church members. StoryCorps is partnering with many community organizations in this city, including the Michigan Veteran’s Association. Richard Chatman (pictured here on the left and from the back) was the first from that organization to kick off interviews over the weekend. He is also actively involved in signing up people to record their stories.

StoryCorps facilitator Jason Reynolds (below, right) enjoyed Atlanta so much that he came back to learn more from his elders. Like Jason, Jonah Engle and Maddy Nussbaum are veteran facilitators, but they are joining the Griot tour for the first time. Nadja Middleton is still on board too, but invisible at the moment because she is behind the camera! Our StoryBooth will be stationed downtown at the Campus Martius Park until June 16th and facilitators are present Thursday through Monday.

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