The Kennedy Center

Charlotte Blake Alston


Charlotte Blake Alston is a nationally recognized storyteller, narrator and singer who breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from the African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Her solo performances are often enhanced with traditional instruments including, djembe, kalimba and the 21-stringed kora. She has been featured on local and national radio and television and has performed at national and regional festivals, schools, universities, museums, and performing arts centers throughout the United States and abroad. Venues include The Smithsonian Institution, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The National Storytelling Festival, The National Festival of Black Storytelling, The International Storytelling Field Conferences in Ghana and Cape Town, South Africa, and the International School of Beijing. She has been a featured artist at both the Presidential Inaugural Festivities in Washington, DC and the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Children’s Inaugural Celebrations in Harrisburg, PA. She was the sole American selected to perform on a main stage at the STIMMEN: Voices Festival in Basel, Switzerland. In the summer of 2010 she was the featured American at the Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival in Ireland.

Ms. Alston has been the host of family and school concerts for The Phiiladelphia Orchestra and Carnegie Hall for over 2 decades. She ha presented storytelling programs twice on the Millenium Stage. Her last appearances at the Kennedy Center were with her late brother, Jazz Violinist John Blake Jr., performing on both the Millenium Stage and a week of performances of “Fiddlin’ With Stories” for the Imagination Celebration series for young people.

Watch Past Performances

Video 11/13/2015: National Association of Black Storytellers presents Family Night: Storytelling Rejuvenation

In many African traditions storytelling was the foundation of historical and cultural preservation. Today, AFAM storytellers are keeping that foundation strong. Come hear two of the nation’s best, Charlotte Blake Alston and Oba William King, energize and rejuvenate the storyteller in you with Family Night: Storytelling Rejuvenation. Traditional and contemporary stories come alive with drumming, rhythm, singing, and audience participation in this event designed for the whole village—young and old!

Charlotte Blake Alston