They sing together and trade stories that combine to portray a whole world. Eshu will tell, Motoko will drum; Motoko will tell (and mime), Eshu will play music.

“I go for humorous stuff,” said Motoko, “ but my goal is to articulate a sense of humanity.”

Eshu said, “And we hope people will come away from the evening knowing that they, too, can tell stories.”

Interested in theater and mime, Motoko came to the University of Massachusetts as an exchange student from Osaka, Japan, in the mid-1980s, and later studied with Tony Montanaro at Celebration Barn. Eshu grew up in a tough neighborhood in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Drawn to the great libraries and museums of the Boston area and a gifted mentor to younger children, he read every folktale and myth he could find, finally coming to the African folklore that is now at the heart of his repertoire.

Motoko and Eshu have been learning from each other and performing together professionally for more than 20 years in hundreds of schools, libraries, festivals, and museums. Both have been showcased at the National Storytelling Festival. In 2012 they traveled to Senegal with a group of artists.

In their show at the Brick Church they will include the story of their visit to Goree Island, the “point of no return” from which slave traders shipped Africans to the Americas, and Eshu will perform the very moving song he composed for and sang at Goree Island, “Land Called Freedom.”

In addition to their evening program for adults and older children, Motoko and Eshu will present a multicultural folktale program for children at the Charlotte Hobbs Library in Lovell from 10-11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1.

The Brick Church for the Performing Arts is on Christian Hill Road, just off Route 5. Tickets are available at the door: adults $10, children 12 and under $5. Refreshments will be served. For more information, go to or call 207-925-1500.

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