in a unique effort to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Artists for New South Africa, 23 narrators recorded as many African Folktales hand-picked by Mandela for this collection. The narrators ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to Whoopi Goldberg to Charlize Theron are notable actors. Half the fun of listening to these tales is trying to guess who's reading. While some voices are more distinctive than others kudos to Alan Rickman (perhaps best known now for his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series) who uses his pebbly baritone and stop-go cadence to full, dark effect in "The Ring of the King" all are entertaining. Also listen for "Fesito Goes to the Market", where Don Cheadle enunciates as loudly, clearly, and confidently as the best live storytellers, while giving each character a different attitude with a remarkable range of tones. Helen Mirren, too, gives a standout performance reaching the point where strength and vulnerability collide in the epic and bittersweet "The Mother Who Turned to Dust".The stories themselves are classic morality tales, including kings and children, lions and hyenas, gold and magic. Some of the lessons are straightforward, others more cryptic, but each legend is its own full and colorful world. The stories, which average about 10 minutes each, are perfect for children not that they're at all childish. The universal themes hit hard; the tales don't always end happily, but they're light and wondrous enough for children, while being deep enough for adults (or kids) who choose to look further. At under four hours, the collection is short, but there's enough here that you'll want to listen over and over again it's sure to become a favorite bedtime ritual. Kelly Marages
The audiobook was a truly international affair, recorded in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, London, and Johannesburg. The stories were chosen by the Nobel Laureate himself, from every region of Africa.
Net proceeds will benefit the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Artists for New South Africa, which works in the U.S. and South Africa to combat HIV/AIDS, provide comprehensive assistance to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, advance human rights, educate and empower at-risk youth, and build bonds between both nations. Both organizations are working to address the impact of the AIDS pandemic on children in South Africa.
All the individuals and companies involved in the effort have donated their services to allow a maximum amount of proceeds to benefit the charities. In addition to waiving sales and distribution fees, Hachette Audio will donate 100% of proceeds to ANSA and NMCF, and NB Publishers has waived fees, so additional royalties can benefit NMCF. The audiobook was manufactured by Ivy Hill/Cinram, which is donating a significant portion of their services. The actors, creative director, engineers, graphic designers, attorneys, and recording studios fully donated their services, as did three-time Grammy winner Gavin Lurssen, who mastered the audiobook.
(P)2009 Hachette Audio
"In tales such as these, the dream-like, unpredictable symbology and sometimes cruel morality of myths resonate, and, in Mandela's words, the 'gritty essence of Africa' shines through in stories with universal themes." (Publishers Weekly)
When you buy this book, be sure to download the accompanying reference guide and then seek out the 5 extra stories not included in the album. I have no idea why all the stories weren't bundled in together.
The folk tales make you think, and provide some interesting explanations for why certain things are the way they are.
The music by Johnny Clegg and Vusi Mahlasela adds a great multimedia touch, and the songs can be played separately from their stories as well. The reference guide has a translation of the words of the Zulu songs.
The extra tracks are:
Spider and the Crows
The Lion, the Hare, and the Hyena
The Cloud Princess
The Cat Who Came Indoors
Thanks to Audible for making this collection available worldwide.
For anyone who grew up in South Africa, this takes you right back! Would have like some African voices to have read it out though...Good stories for your children if you have emmigrated from SA....
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The tales of famous African folklore was brought to life by the actors and actresses that took part in the narration. It was awesome to listen to these stories as if each and every Holloywood narrator were reading it to me and only me at bedtime.
The variety of folk tales that span the entire African continent and not just South Africa.
Alan Rickman's and Whoopi Goldberg's narration stood out for me.
Easy to listen to -- even if you just listen to one or two stories at a time
This compilation is great to listen to in the car. There are different voices, male and famale, African and not, and tales ranging from quick and Aesop-like to longer, from Table Mountain to north African stories. Each carries a rhythm of Africa and occasionally a song embedded.
I enjoyed listening to these little stories. They were made more endearing by the fact that Nelson Mandela picked them out from among his favorites. The narrators were well chosen and did a truly great job. The music, accents, the whole direction of these stories came together to set an enjoyable ambiance. It has a delicious African flavor, and teaches some good lessons in the mean time.
I bought this for the kids and found myself listening too it over again. Loved the multiple celeb narrations, made it even cooler.
Yes! Unique stories.
The moral lessons w/out being contrite.
Too many to pick.
Kids from 8-15 yrs. old all listened w/interest.
The african influenced music made it all the more captivating.
We've already listened to it twice in 2 days! All the stories are fun and quite funny as well. Not too much moralising, just great stories.
The story of Kasingi taking banans and pawpaws and chickens to market. Very funny.
Whoopi Goldber's story of the Djinn.
Very good value for money, told all my friends about it.
Alan Rickman! Alan Rickman! Alan Rickman!
The stories were funny, engaging and appropriate for children and adults. The stories and performers (most of them - not all) are worth listening to repeatedly. I highly recommend this CD. Plus, purchase goes to a good cause.
Alan Rickman! There is not enough praise for him. Other readers left wonderful stories flat. Some actors are personalities and not trained actors so only their fame earned them a place with the real talent.
If you have any hesitation purchasing this CD, don't! It is an excellent compilation and well performed album for anyone of any age or gender.
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