Storyteller Burrows delights audience at Shakespeare in Paradise

Guardian National Correspondent

An evening with Derek Burrows turned out to be quite an enchanting one. Audience members took seats and tables surrounding the stage at Nirvana last Saturday night for the occasion during Shakespeare in Paradise.

The Bahamian-born storyteller and musician, who lives in Mexico, performed for”An Evening With Derek Burrows”, one of two of his evening events on the eight-production schedule.

Shortly into the program the intimate setting of the partially star-lit beach club proved a fitting spot to hear Burrows’ warm, lilting voice. In a seating arrangement that positioned everyone near enough to the stage, listening to his presentation was as comfortable and comforting as huddling around a campfire.

Burrows, who enjoys the distinction of being one of four storytellers to participate in the first National Book Festival sponsored by the White House when Laura Bush served as First Lady, performed for both school and general audiences during SiP.

His act on Saturday night at Nirvana included stories from cultures around the world.

Burrows added to the performance by providing his own soundtrack. As he weaved tales about everything from why cats wash up after rather than before their meals to what his mother and grandmother taught him about the power of words, he also serenaded the audience with ballads that punctuated the mood of each story.

He played the guitar, the flute, and in a special treat, the Spanish Medieval Bagpipe. His stories, most of them humorous, about studying music at Berklee College of Music in the 1970s resonated with each instrument he played.

Not confined to English, Burrows sang in Spanish as well, telling stories through music as beautifully as he used music to accentuate his stories.