Upcoming Events


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RIBS will be presenting

workshops and stories, at the

19th Annual Pawtucket Arts Festival


Sept. 9 - 12pm - 4pm 


12 pm: Drumming and Stories Begin


12:30 pm: Puppet and Storymaking

with Ramona Bass Kolobe, "aka"

The Watermelon Lady!"


2 pm: Drumming and Stories

with Raffini, Valerie Tutson and Ramona


3-4 pm: Story Circle: Come join us

and share Your Story







A Celebration of Black Storytelling


Jan. - 14-20, 2018 




Our Community Partners

Direct Action For Rights And Equality

Florence Gray Center of Newport

Little Rest Storytellers

Mix Magic Theatre
Providence Children’s Museum

Rhode Island Latino Arts

Southside Cultural Center
Westerly Library
YWCA Rhode Island






Schools Participation - 2017
  • Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy
    Broad Rock Middle School
    Delsesto Middle School
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary
    East Bay Community Action Head Start
    Fort Barton Elementary
    Frenchtown Elementary
    Ferri Middle School
    George R. Hanaford Elementary
    Hopkins Hills Elementary
    International Charter School
    James Eldredge Elementary
    John F. Horgan Elementary

    Mary E. Fogarty School
    Meadowbrook Farms Elementary
    Montessori Children House
    Meeting Street School
    Nathaniel Greene Middle School
    Ocean State Montessori School
    Pell Elementary
    Raymond C. LaPerche Elementary
    Robert L. Bailey IV Elementary
    Rochambeau Community Library
    Rockwell Elementary
    The Learning Community
    The Pennfield School
    The Sgt. Cornel Young, Jr. & Charlotte Woods Elementary
    Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP)
    Wakefield Hill Elementary
    West Kingston Elementary School


    Rochambeau Library
    South Providence Library
    Wanskuck Library




FUNDA means "to teach and learn" in Zulu and KiSwahili

FUNDA offers the best in cultural "edu-tainment"



Providence, RI—Rhode Island Black Storytellers, otherwise known as RIBS, invite you to join them in the 19th Annual FUNDA FEST: A Celebration of Black Storytelling, January 14-21, 2017. FUNDA means to teach and to learn in Zulu and KiSwahili. For an entire week, Rhode Island will experience some of the best cultural arts programming across the state for the 18th year in a row.





Invited National Guest Tellers - 2017


Teju Ologboni, from Milwaukee, is a master storyteller and folklorist of international renown and FUNDA FEST favorite. Teju draws his listeners into stories with gestures and movements, and sometimes with traditional African instruments. An author, teacher, poet, actor, dancer and "verbal illusionist" Teju shares stories that reflect on longstanding and contemporary cultural perspectives to give listeners greater understanding of the profound influence of African heritage on our traditions and identities. Come listen to this culture keeper

and be enlightened and inspired.


Oba William King, The Poetic Storyteller, tours nationally presenting programs of story, song, and drum for all ages, all cultures. He recently appeared at The National Storytelling Festival, the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, and was the Featured Teller for two inaugural Festivals: Evanston Public Storytelling Festival and Storyteller’s Festival at Park Forest Library. His school and library based assembly presentation and Family Reading Night program continues nationally with rave reviews A US Military Veteran, King is founder and director of JUSTUS arts Educational Entertainment, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award Recipient, Illinois Humanities Council “Road” Scholar and Hidden Jewel of the Neighborhood. Oba’s recent books include Firefly and Little Star, a storybook for young readers and R.E.A.D. designed for Pre-Teen and Tween aged youth each available online. 




 Leeny Del Seamonds, Master Story Performer™, is a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed performer of Hispanic/Latino, original and World stories spiced with exquisite mime, a cornucopia of characters, and love of people. With a twinkle in her eye and fire in her heart, Leeny breathes life into stories, as she masterfully and effortlessly springs from one story character to another. A dedicated Teaching Artist, Leeny encourages listeners to feel positive about themselves and rejoice in human and cultural diversity, inviting them to share in her Latin/Cuban-American sense of humor and love of performing. Her most recent achievement in growing as a performer is becoming a certified Professional Voice Actor.





2017, Rhode Island Black Storytellers


Len Cabral is an internationally acclaimed storyteller who has been enchanting audiences with his storytelling performances at schools, libraries, museums and festivals since 1976. A great grandson of a Cape Verdean whaler whose grandparents immigrated to America from the islands off the coast of West Africa, Len’s strong Cape Verdean ancestry comes alive in his exuberant retelling of African, Cape Verdean, and Caribbean folktales as well as original stories and tales from around the world.


Ramona Bass Kolobe, "The Watermelon Lady", is a "story wheeler." Miss Ramona brings her traditions of storytelling from her Jamaican and Native American ancestry together with her formal education to create works that open up the treasury of healing and understanding. Watermelon is a fruit of peace, friendship and sharing good times - all around the world!


Raffini, a self-made artist, actress, and teacher from the South Side of Providence has long been committed to the community, teaching Black History, and theatre, telling stories and nurturing the spiritual and creative abilities of youth.

Valerie Tutson, has traveled in Africa, Europe and North America to gather and share stories. Her repertoire includes myths, folktales, historical and personal stories with an emphasis on African traditions. Listen to her, and you, too, will be singing Zulu!

Rochel Garner Coleman, actor, singer, storyteller, has been performing since he was 9 years old. He travels nationally and internationally sharing stories of Black historical legends such as Nat Love and Cool Papa Bell in shows developed using the research to performance method.

For Full Festival Information: join Rhode Island Black Storytellers on Facebook.