About the Bard

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Chris Naden is a singer, songwriter, actor, storyteller, fiction author, political commentator and shameless hippy. From 2012 to June 2014 he was working on a musical collaboration under the name Pathwalkers, playing traditional and original folk/fusion and Americana in Coventry and surrounding areas. He is now supported by The Merry Band.

Chris writes eclectic and political urban folk tunes, fused with influences from swing, jazz and blues to psychadelic prog-rock and Bill Hicks. Addressing themes ranging from ghost-stories and steam trains to shamanism and depression, his music is often challenging and always passionate. His sets balance originals with traditional folk tunes, modern blues, folk or rock’n’roll classics, and the occasional sing-along anthem to liven up an evening. With roots on both sides of the Atlantic, Chris likes to revive and renovate old songs from the bluegrass and cajun traditions, and like most folk musicians he’ll pinch any lick that isn’t nailed down.

Acting & Storytelling

Since 2013 juggle-iconChris has been intermittently employed in Stratford-upon-Avon giving performances in character as William Shakespeare, telling ghost stories, pirate stories and Christmas stories, and facilitating Theatre in Education workshops for visiting school classes at Tudor World / The Falstaff Experience.

As a storyteller, his repertoire tends to the mythic and magical, relying mostly on original tellings of English, Welsh and Ghanaian wisdom tales and ghost stories, plus a few new tales to boot. He has been hired to tell stories in pubs, in living rooms, in fields, at festivals and in the garden of a Vauxhall nightclub. Developing from his TiE work in Stratford, Chris is working on a set of children’s stories and workshops with a cross-cultural bent.

Once Upon a Time…

1989While technically born in Salisbury, Chris lived for most of the first sixteen years of his life in a very small farming village in the West African outback, where his father was working from 1968 to 2010. His experience of the oral tradition is rooted in Mamprusi folk tales of Anansi and Atuga, brought to life by storytellers who grew up with a surviving pre-literate culture.

Rhythm, music and myth have become central parts of his identity during his travels, but have only become a focus for his career within the last three years. At various points, Chris has worked as a removals man, a bouncer, a barman, a phone tech support operative, a publican, an ISP engineer in California and a waiter in the Royal Enclosure (he still has the tie). Having travelled widely in rich and poor places since returning to the West, Chris brings an eternal stranger’s viewpoint to both lyric compositions and prose fiction. Wherever possible he confronts an audience with their own assumptions through the lens of an Other. That perspective fuels his interest in ethnomusicology and cultural fusion in composition and performance, weaving new tapestries out of themes and styles from different traditions.

Inspirations

When I say 'bard', I really mean it...Around the turn of the millennium Chris became involved with the UK neoPagan community, and spent several years seeking the right path within that spectrum. Having struggled since returning to the UK with his dislocation from any kind of English identity, his spiritual journey eventually led him to the indigenous beliefs of Britain, and he became a practising Druid in 2006. Chris joined the British Druid Order at the Winter Solstice in 2011, and hopes to be examined for the Bardic degree at some point in 2015.

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