African-American folktales brought to life at library

OCEANSIDE — To the delight of more than a dozen tots and their parents, African folktales filled the Mission Branch Library with music and magic on Feb. 15 in celebration of Black History Month.
Steve Gregory told African and African-American folktales punctuated with harmonica riffs and drums, and Reiko Gregory added guitar.
The husband and wife duo make up Tales Alive, a performance group that brings international folktales to libraries, schools and senior centers.
“Today we’re introducing children to the traditional African American tales and showing them the roots of that in African tales,” Steve Gregory said.
During the storytelling sing-alongs kept the audience involved. “Music adds everything,” Steve Gregory said.
Anthony Diaz, 4, of Oceanside, listened and sang along. “He liked when they explained what drums are used for,” Catherine James of Oceanside said. “They can talk to each other for miles with drums. He was really impressed with that.”
The folktale “The Elephant’s Wrestling Match” was a favorite of Makena Weiscopf, 6, of Oceanside, “I liked the elephant story with drums,” Makena said.
Each family took home “The Lion’s Drum” picture book, retold by Steve Gregory. Tales Alive stories are available in picture books and DVDs. For more information, visit


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