“California -based storyteller Michael Katz will enchant listeners with these four tales drawn from lands far and wide. Katz’s telling is punctuated by mood-setting music and interspersed with native languages appropriate to each tale. He blends explanations of unfamiliar terms seamlessly into his telling. Best of all are his fully developed voices for each character. There’s something here to delight listeners of all ages.
-- Kathleen Kelly MacMillan School Library Journal
“When I read about this magical CD I couldn't wait to hear it. The CD met all my expectations and more. Michael Katz has a deep and melodius voice and used characterizations, dialects and accents to make this splendid recording with his musical friends. This is the first CD I've heard in a while that has such special and exciting accompaniment that doesn't overwhelm the voice of the story.
But best of all is the way Michael tells folktales. They are enchanting and his style captivates the listener. In many ways I was reminded of “Let's Pretend” a storytelling show of my childhood days which was on radio. In telling “Ishiusu,” a Japanese folktale, Michael has implanted Japanese words and phrases with translation to make it bilingual. I love Michael's rendition of a “Garment for the Moon.” He adds original dialog in eastern European dialect which enhances the telling. It's a delightful story that is not often heard. “Brother Sun, Brother Moon and the Pretty Girl” grabs your attention from the get-go. Both heavenly objects fall in love with the same girl. A good story to add to your repertoire for Black History month. Michael's range of voice is even more dramatic when he's telling the Mayan Myth, “The Gift.” Michael tell this story in Spanish and English and the echoing sound effects are magical. The story is also very spiritual.
Anyone planning a CD using sound effects and musical background could benefit from listening Michael's “Far Away and Close to Home” CD.”
--Linda Spitzer Just for the Tell of it
P.S. -- Michael you are amazing and I expect to see you at the National Festival some day. The quality of your background music and sound effects are the best I've ever heard.
“I listened to this CD with five children: my daughter, Eliana and her four cousins, ages 3, 5, 6, and 8. What a peaceful car ride that was! They were captivated from the moment Michael Katz began telling his stories. Michael’s masterful use of voices, bilingual storytelling, and the integration of music creates a magical CD. The first story and my personal favorite on the CD is called Ishiusu, a tale of a magical millstone, two brothers, and why the sea is salty. The second track, Garment for the Moon, is an Eastern European Jewish tale about the creation of a magical garment to keep the moon warm. The third track, a Kenyan tale titled Brother Sun, Brother Moon and the Pretty Girl, is a pourquoi tale, a story explaining why Sun is large and Moon is small. The Gift, an Aztec tale, is the fourth and final track. In this story, we learn how the people of the world learned to play beautiful music. Far Away and Close to Home won the prestigious Parents’ Choice Silver Award. It’s not hard to see why. Far Away and Close to Home is a spellbinding collection of tales perfect for the entire family.
STORY CONNECTION EXPRESS – MARCH, 2006
© 2006 by Dianne de Las Casas
"Thank you for your amazing,
We listen to it all of the time
beautiful voice, the music, your command of different
languages. My kids and I are enjoying it so much! There
are so many magical moments in each story. It is one
of the best storytelling tapes I've ever heard!"
– Karen Golden,
Professional Storyteller & Parent
"Allie and I listened to
your stories the whole way back from Ventura last eekend.
What richly-told and beautifully produced work you've created!"
– Dave Stringer, Musician,
"Ever since we got your CD, my daughter
keeps running around the house smiling and saying 'cotton
shmotton,' 'cotton shmotton'. It's hilarious"
– Liz Dailey Minneapolis,
“My two girls fight all the time. When my wife puts the CD on in the car, they stop fighting immediately and get quiet and listen .......I wish you’d made this CD years ago. I’ll pay for you to make another CD!”
– Ken Freed Beverly Hills, CA
“Adam, my son, has been an anxious, nervous boy. It’s been hard for him to sleep at night, because for some reason he’s been afraid of fire. Since we got your CD, we’ve been playing it at night after he gets into bed. This whole week he’s been falling asleep. We asked him why, and he says it’s because of your CD. Thank you so much!”
– Colleen, Mother