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Chaucer4All

“I thoroughly enjoyed Baba’s performance, utterly fantastic”, teacher, Graveney School, London

“He’s great”, student, Graveney School, London

“We will want a return visit”, Hounslow Manor School, London

The Rap Canterbury Tales is an lively retelling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in rap style. Written and performed
by rapper Baba Brinkman, The Rap Canterbury Tales brings The Pardoner’s Tale, The Miller’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale
into the classroom. The Rap Canterbury Tales will be touring again in July 2005, but you can watch the video and listen
to the audio using the links on the left. We’ve also created a number of free resources to help teachers take Chaucer into the classroom.

“I thought it was a great success”, teacher, Perse School, Cambridge

“It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life!”, Engineering Student, Cambridge University

For more information about school performances and workshops, contact Dr Sarah James, sj206 @ cam.ac.uk, 01223 7676 288.

The background to the performance

The Rap Canterbury Tales started in 1999 as an experiment, an attempt to adapt Chaucer’s stories into a rap style to make them accessible. Comparing Chaucer’s poetics to those of rap artists was the subject of Baba’s M.A. thesis and this seemed a natural extension. Since then the project has snowballed into a successful one-man theatrical performance, a series of educational presentations and workshops and a CD recording. It is designed to bring the Tales to a wider popular audience as well as assisting educators to communicate Chaucer’s themes and narrratives easily to students. The translations stay as close as possible to the tone and thrust of the original Tales, while completely updating the language into a lively hiphop rhyme style. They are occasionally a bit raunchy, but Baba relinquish all due credit (and blame) to Chaucer, as he did to his “sources”. Enjoy.

See Crownhills School’s review of the Canterbury Tales.