Skip to content

Follow The Butterfly

World Music and Earthlore – For Kids!

Why is the sky so far away? Who is damming the river and killing all the fish? What did little Amrita do to protect her favorite tree? String quartet and storyteller present international folktales that speak to the necessity of respecting nature and caring for the earth. Each tale is accompanied by traditional music from its respective region – Nigeria, Thailand, the United States, India, and the Amazon Rainforest. Kids ages 3–12 participate in clapping, singing, and calling the name of the giant, “Ham Pok!” Chicago Folklore Ensemble takes students on a musical adventure around the world!

Follow The Butterfly was an hour-long show for kids of international music and traditional folktales with environmental themes. Chicago Folklore Ensemble performed Follow The Butterfly at numerous schools in the Chicagoland area in coordination with Urban Gateways and with Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play program, and also performed it at Chicago Cultural Center, Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival, and Old Town School of Folk Music.

Follow The Butterfly featured storyteller Sojourner Zenobia, who led kids through five tales from around the world:

  • Why Is The Sky So Far Away? – Edo folktale from Nigeria
  • Fox Rules The Stream – Folktale from Thailand
  • Oh, Groundhog! – Song and natural history from Appalachia, USA
  • Amrita’s Tree – historical tale from the Bishnoi culture in Rajasthan, India
  • The Wings of a Butterfly – Tikuna folktale from Amazonia (border regions of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru)

The show encouraged kids to participate, with the audience having a role to play in each of the stories. Kids learned about folk practices of honoring the earth, music and instruments from many cultures, flora and fauna in different countries, and words in several languages. The storytelling incorporated historical and cultural context, discussing the Loy Krothong river festival in Thailand, the Chipko movement to protect forests in India, and the African roots of American folk music. A significant portion of the musical repertoire the performers learned directly from Chicago immigrant musicians.