Abiyoyo Story Arts Abiyoyo Story Arts

Run for your lives!


Meet Michael...

Power in story and song

Folksinger and storyteller Pete Seeger (1919-2014) encountered Abiyoyo, the Xhosa South African lullaby and folk story, during a challenging time in his life. In the early 1950s anti-communist Red Scare crusaders blacklisted many folks, including Pete.

The way the characters in this Xhosa folk tale used the power of music, dance and magic to defeat their giant, offered Pete an inspired approach to adversity. Pete eventually would say, “Abiyoyo changed my life!” He loved to accompany his stories and songs with his banjo, a musical instrument with roots in Africa.

Pete adapted his storysong performance of Abiyoyo as a children's picture book, now published by Simon and Schuster. Abiyoyo Story Arts tells Abiyoyo fans the story of how common interests brought author Pete Seeger and illustrator Michael Hays together to retell the story of a little boy who is not afraid of a scary giant.

Discover how the Abiyoyo picture book came into being during the anti-Apartheid struggle of the 1980s, and how the musical roots of Abiyoyo lead us back to the earliest invention of a musical instrument used to accompany story and song. Explore how retelling the story of Abiyoyo might help you face up to scary giants in your life.

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Meet Michael...

Abiyoyo Story Arts