Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder | Wolves!

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Kids/Family: Children's Storytelling Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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by Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder

Live performance storytelling that can make you laugh and cry, for kids and adults.
Genre: Kids/Family: Children's Storytelling
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Banish Misfortune (tune)
Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder
0:58 $0.99
2. Hungry Wolf's Lucky Day (tale)
Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder
16:17 $0.99
3. St. Ailbe's Wolf Mother (tale With Music)
Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder
12:55 $0.99
4. Dog and Wolf (tale)
Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder
12:30 $0.99
5. Give Me Your Hand (tune)
Tim Jennings & Leanne Ponder
2:26 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The wolves are the heroes in this live recording from two of New England's foremost folk storytellers.

Brought out in January 2007, "Wolves!" received a Parents' Choice Silver Honor award in April, and a starred review in July's Booklist magazine. Full reviews can be read at the couple's website, linked at left.

Gripping, funny, moving, always entertaining, Jennings and Ponder present their original treatments of three traditional tales in which the wolves are not the enemy. The stories are humorous, touching, and dramatic; the wolves are sometimes heroes, sometimes chumps, but always sympathetic characters with whom we can identify, and worthy of our love and respect. All three stories are performed in the duo’s signature duo storytelling style: voices intertwining and overlapping in a kind of narrative counterpoint. In and around the tales, the couple plays Celtic music on harp and concertina.

Hungry Wolf's Lucky Day
Pieced together from several Eastern European traditions, with an original "happy ending," this story features a sad-sack old wolf, who is continually frustrated in his search for a lucky breakfast. Eventually, a parade of lemmings mistakes his open mouth for the sea. This is probably Tim and Leanne's funniest story, with foreshadowings of Wiley Coyote, and some sly social commentary. (Georgia & Poland)

Dog and Wolf
An old dog, run off the farm because he's too feeble to keep the wolf away, joins forces with a wolf to get his place back, and is helpful to the wolf in return. Both animals enjoy a delightful retirement, eating and sleeping, and lying around in the sun. (Ukraine)

Ailbe's Wolf Mother
An abandoned child is raised by wolves, and later becomes a bishop and a saint. He rescues his wolf mother from a hunt, and entertains her (and his wolf-brothers) every evening at dinnertime. A warm and emotional story, with music throughout. (Ireland.)

Tim and Leanne say:

One of the cruellest and longest "wars" in history was waged by Europeans and Euro-Americans upon the wild wolf. Images of ravening wolves in art and story are as wrong, ingrained, and vicious as the cruellest racial or ethnic stereotype, and has done comparable levels of damage

As we seek to restore the wolf populations of North America, we need to find other ways of looking at wolves-- ways with as much resonance and power as the fairy tales we seek to supplant-- to help us come to be at peace with the natural world.


Tim and Leanne have been making their living together since 1990, performing in Vermont, New England, and points much further afield. In 2005, they were featured at Jonesborough's National Storytelling Festival and the Hudson Clearwater Revival; in 2006 they performed at the Toronto Storytelling Festival, then returned to Tennessee for a week as Tellers in Residence at the International Storytelling Center. Their other storytelling recordings include the ALA award-winning "World Tales Live at Bennington," and Tim's solo tape, Weatherbeard ("a rare thing, a tape you cannot upon any invocation of willpower resist listening to"-- SingOut!) They have also recorded two albums of Celtic music: The Water Kelpie and Sheefra.



to write a review

Fact and Fiction (UK storytelling magazine)

by Mark Steinhardt---

Some story CDs are merely a record—the preservation of a story for archives and source material—but this one is a pleasing programme in its own right, shaped to be enjoyed without, perhaps, ever seeing the performers who made it. The five tracks give the listener: music, story, music-and-story, story, music, so that the tales are nicely book-ended.
This is musical story-telling in a sense far deeper than the mere fluid intonation such an expression usually implies. The performers have taken the standard devices of music—rhythm, counterpoint, syncopation, pitch, volume, repetition—and used them to create finely dovetailed duets. This was utterly new to me and absolutely captivating.
These three wolf stories are best described as family entertainment and the fast, droll delivery was ideal. I would be very interested to hear whether and how they apply these techniques to more adult, serious and contemplative material. Jennings and Ponder are serious, thoughtful and highly deliberate practitioners and I look forward to hearing their other work.
For this reviewer we have here a class act, well-recorded in front of a live audience, every word audible. But don’t take my word for it! My grandchildren loved it _especially through headphones_ and found it happy, funny, and full of good characters and animal sounds. As someone who is beginning to dare to say, “I am a storyteller,” these are the sort of performers who demand that I raise my game.

Barre-Montpelier Times Argus

children's album adults can enjoy-- two of the best storytellers anywhere
Every year the Chinese calendar represents a different animal. This year it's the pig. But in central Vermont, this year will be the "Year of the Wolf." At least this is what Tim Jennings and Leanne Ponder hope with the release their new CD "Wolves!" They chose this past Wednesday, Jan. 3, as the official release date for their CD because it is the full moon, specifically, according to the Farmer's Almanac, "the full wolf moon."

Jennings and Ponder are a long-running duo with at least two decades together telling stories and playing music. Jennings plays concertina and Ponder the Celtic harp. While their music is based on the Celtic repertoire, and this CD contains two instrumentals from that genre, they are also two of the best storytellers anywhere. In our age of mass media, the Internet, music downloads and high definition television, storytelling sometimes gets lost in the mix. But, it is the oldest form of entertainment on the planet, and it once was the sole means of transmitting culture from one generation to the next. This couple has gathered a treasure trove of fine stories and Wolves! is just a small sample of their folk-tale repertoire.

Wolves have never gotten great press over the centuries. Feared by many, hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states, wolves seem to need better public relations. On this CD we see wolves in a very different – and sympathetic – light.

"Wolves!" is a five-track recording, an introductory and ending music track book-ending three folk tales. It was recorded live in Calais last June in front of an audience comprising mostly children. This is, in essence, an album of tales for children. However, as my companion and I discovered while listening to the CD while driving, these are folk tales that adults can equally enjoy.

What we all learn from this performance is, as Jennings and Ponder say in their liner notes, that "Wolves are not bogeymen."

In "Hungry Wolf's Lucky Day," "St. Ailbe's Wolf Mother" and "The Dog and the Wolf," tales that originated in the nations of Georgia, Ireland and Ukraine, we learn how deep the wolf is imbedded in world culture and mythology – and just how good these performers are in telling these tales.

I'm not going to give away the premise of the three folk tales on this CD, they are best listened to. However, deep praise for Jennings and Ponder is in order. Their delivery here is fresh, interesting and theatrical.In the days before television, for those of us old enough to remember, radio was the media of choice for entertainment. Back in the 1940s and into the 1950s, there was a wide variety of programs where one had to listen, not just sit passively and watch. We could hear "The Lone Ranger," "Superman," "As the World Turns," among many programs on the radio. What made them popular, and kept them that way for decades, were the strong scripts and the fine acting. Listeners could visualize the stories they heard.

Jennings and Ponder are masters at this and it comes through in their CD. They don't just tell a story, they act it out. In this recording, their interplay, which never misses a beat, is both theatrical and very humorous. The many voices they imitate, the actions they express and the story settings they describe keep the listener glued to the CD player.

If this duo is that good on a recording, one can only imagine how entertaining they must be in a live performance. Luckily, you can catch a performance of "Wolves!" tomorrow at the Kellogg Hubbard Library.