Willy Claflin returns to the Brandywine Storytelling Festival for the sixfth time this June. But we’re ready for him this year. (Yeah, right!)
Of course Willy is ‘distremely well-known’ for touring with his faithful sidekick and palmated pal, Maynard Moose, the only authentic North American Moose currently on the festival circuit. They have been touring together since 1977. Maynard is the last known teller of ancient Mother Moose Tales. The preservation of this oral tradition has been his life’s work. In fact, Maynard himself has been honored with a Chair at the International Storytelling Theater in Jonesborough, Tennessee (made possible by the generosity of moose fan Phil Straus, 2005).
Apparently people are starting to notice Willy, too. For example, he received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award in 2010. This award is especially meaningful because it is presented to artists who are recognized by their peers to be master storytellers who set the standard for excellence, and have demonstrated -- over a significant period of time -- an exceptional commitment and dedication to the art of storytelling.
Please note that Willy also consistently comes in just a few hanging chads short of the Intergalactic Storytelling Network’s Elliptical Orbit of Omnipotence Award, primarily due to systemic annual voting irregularities in the Crab Nebula.
Willy’s half-a-decade history at the Brandywine Storytelling Festival kicked off with his hysterical, historical debut here in 2007, when he introduced us to the George Washington Method for Blues Ukulele. With Valley Forge so near and dear to our hearts here, its important to have our history right. And now we know just how much of an influence Martha Washington had on the history of this great country. Though passersby on Route 52 surely must have wondered as the audience roared, “Red Hot Mama,” right on cue.
Willy has been a featured artist at the National Storytelling Festival in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. In 2007 he headlined for National Story Night. In 2008 he was unable to make it to Jonesborough, as he was attending the Roswell, New Mexico Intergalactic Storytelling Festival.
Sometimes, Willy can be found at home in San Francisco with his wife and co-conspirator Jacqueline Darrigrand. His son Brian Claflin, a comedian, vocalist and song writer, lives in Somerville, MA. Brian and Willy have collaborated on a collection of the Claflin family’s favorite ballads titled: ‘In Yonder’s Wood.’
Off-stage, Willy is best known for his work in helping to save endangered squeaking rubber animals.