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Charlotte Blake Alston

About this Artist

Charlotte Blake Alston breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Her solo performances are often enhanced with traditional instruments such as djembe, mbira, shekere, or the 21-stringed kora. Her repertoire is wide, and programs are adapted to any grade level or age group.

Charlotte is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, instrumentalist, librettist, and singer who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. She is the host of Sound All Around, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Preschool concert series and has appeared as host or narrator on the orchestra’s school and family concerts since 1991. She has been a featured host, storyteller, and narrator on the Carnegie Hall Family and School Concert series since 1995. She has made multiple appearances in such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Festival, and the National Festival of Black Storytelling. Her international appearances include performances or festival appearances in Accra, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Beijing, China; Basel, Switzerland; and the Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival in Ireland.

She has been a narrator for choirs and orchestras around the country, including the Detroit Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony. The Children’s March, a libretto commissioned from her by Singing City Choir for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), premiered in April, 2013. She has received numerous honors and awards, including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Artist of the Year Award, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, and the Zora Neale Hurston Award, the highest award given by the National Association of Black Storytellers. 

“Charlotte’s incredible presence and cleverness unifies audiences of all ages and backgrounds by drawing them in emotionally through her enchanting gifts of communication.” – The Philadelphia Orchestra