Specialty: Dunbar & Folktales
ONI (oh-knee) LASANA was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with paternal roots in African Khoisan people and France. Maternal roots in the indigenous Coushatta tribe of Louisiana. She blooms where planted, in Penns Woods, outside of Philly, PA near Amish county.
A professional storyteller since 1990 she shares the fruitages of the spirit in her stories of Ubuntu! Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfullnes, Gentleness and Self-control, throughout USA, Germany, Zimbabwe and is the official “snowbird” storyteller in residence at Tobago Library Services.
Oni – a natural chameleon of creativity, published short story writer, spoken word poet, musician (bass & shakere’), jewelry artisan, performing and teaching artist. At 68 she is finding wonder in the aging process and her greatest joy is being a wife to Don Juan, mama to 3 adults and a nana to 9 grandchildren.
Paul Laurence Dunbar is Oni’s main muse, having produced, wrote, recorded one woman plays and workshops and programs; Oni Lasana Doin’ Dunbar as ‘Lias’ Mother, Down On The Farm With Granny Goose, Dunbar Today! (a musical treat), Brother Dunbar Poetry & Performance Workshop – published in Literacy Development in The Storytelling Classroom, Always Free, A Juneteenth Celebration, based on his works.
Hailed as the “Voice of Dunbar” by Professor Nikki Giovanni, for 28 years, Oni’s creative calling is to introduce and preserve the works of poet & author, Paul Laurence Dunbar. (1872-1906), to a new generation.
A spoken word poet/artist she published “Soul Sister From Cool World Valley, Real Tales of Rhymes & Reasons and Gardenia’s & Gumbeux, a poetic potpourri…all collector’s items…sold out!…when on tour with The Company Of Poets, Philly First & Finest Female Spoken Word Ensemble. (2000–2005.
A educational enrichment experiment in tribute to MLK JR. is heard on Dreampt, MLK Jr. a single and Sister Wings, Spoken WordSongs Bass & Beats playing bass guitar over original poetry. Sister Wings is available on all digital music platforms.
Inside Oni’s storytelling bag is Her Story Alive! as an re-enactor of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ellen Watkins Harper and Ona Judge.
As a short story writer, she was recently published by Toho Press of Philadelpia, Pennsylvania, two of her biographical short stories; Baptized By The Blues in Hindsight 2020, and “Philly Scam? or Pay It Forward” found in The Best Short Stories of Philadelphia 2021.
A Webby Award winning voice talent for podcasts, African Folktales, and Kwanzaa Time with Oni Lasana. Oni is presently creating and mediating in the haze of Covid Creative Crazies, while producing, writing and and voicing Aunti Oni Story Village, a podcast, and hosting StoryVillage.Live a monthly storytelling gathering for families and youth to tell stories, along with her favorite storytellers on Zoom.