I stumbled across The Folktale Project while hunting for shows which delve into various myths, legends and histories and it was a perfect find. Not only is the podcast fun to listen to, but the story behind the podcast’s creation makes it so much better.
Dan Scholz launched The Folktale Project in 2016. As a massive fan of folklore and fairytales, he did not begin the podcast for himself, or indeed for us, his listeners. Instead, Scholz dedicated this podcast to his own daughter, in an attempt to pass on his own love of these timeless stories to her. The satisfaction we get from listening to the stories is simply a happy bi-product.
This is very fitting, as you listen to the host’s lulling, sing-song voice read the stories slowly and calmly. It sounds less like a man hosting a podcast and more like a father reading a bedtime story. Starting from the delicate bells of the opening music, to the gentle rendition of the stories provided, the atmospheric music and careful sound design makes it difficult to turn away from this podcast.
Scholz researches his stories in great detail and condenses them into a five-to-ten-minute run time. Some of my favourite episodes include Atalanta – A Greek Myth, Sif’s Golden Hair, How Loki Wrought Mischief in Asgard – A Norse Legend and The Blind Archer – A German Folktale.
Since launching, the podcast has released over 900 episodes, with no signs of stopping. He releases a new episode every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and since the episodes are short (each one rarely exceeding the 10-minute mark), the bitesized episodes are ideal to fill a quick car journey, but are also varied and interesting enough to listen to for hours at a time.
Every week, the three episodes follow a specific theme. From a collection of Aesop’s fables to breakdowns of folktales from various countries, like Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Japan and so many more. Of course, he explores stories from popular mythologies too, including Greek and Norse. He retells fairytales from the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. Even Oscar Wilde got a look in, at one stage.
Because of the variety of stories, it is easy to jump in and out of the series. Thanks to its extensive backlog, there are plenty of tales to choose from.
The Folktale Project is a podcast for story lovers, myth nerds and folklore fanatics, but are easily accessible to anyone hoping to brush up on their fables. Scholz himself has said he is interested in the similar stories spread across different cultures and mythologies used to teach morals, pass on history or to simply entertain. But more importantly, this podcast is for everyone “who has a love of the magic that surrounds us every day and the ways we try to explain it.”
Scholz encourages The Folklore Project to be a collaborative experience between him and his fans, with an opportunity to share stories with Scholz directly via his website. So if there is a story you want him to explore, why not go ahead and submit it? It might just feature in his next series!
If folkstories and legends are your thing, give Fireside a try, the Irish Storytelling Podcast, retelling tales of folklore and myth as they were mean’t to be told.
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