Back in 2009, storyteller John David Hickey and musician Shayne Gryn met in a small cafe in Montreal’s NDG neighborhood to talk about how they could pool their talents and create a unique performance. It was that night, when the moon was full, the giants were sleeping, the dragons were flying overhead, that TaelStrum was born.

TaelStrum seamlessly blends the power of storytelling with the mystical might of music, creating a performance that appeal not only to the imagination, but also to the soul that vibrates in that particular way when exposed to music. TaelStrum has performed to enraptured audiences across Canada at festivals, in pubs, cafes, and anywhere where people love to hear a good story.

If you want to see true evidence of magic in this world, TaelStrum will show you how the mystical power of storytelling can make a room full of people truly believe they are somewhere else, somewhere magical, somewhere where anything is possible.

Click here to learn more about Professor Taelstrum: Truth Teller!

About the Storyteller

John David Hickey (“Hobbes”) has been telling fables, folktales, and legends for over 15 years. He delights in telling stories from all over the world, but has a particular fondness for quirky, underdog stories.

David has an animated, energetic telling style that appeals to both children and adults. He has performed in schools, libraries, pubs, cafes, and various festivals across Canada. He lives in Montreal, Quebec and tells tales in English and in French.

He has won spoken word competitions in Quebec and Ontario and currently runs his own Story Slam in Montreal called Contes SLAMtastique Storytelling.


* June 2011, 2012: Won 1st place Ottawa’s Once Upon a Slam 2011, and 2012 Finals.

* November 2010: Won 1st place in the November 2010 edition of Ottawa’s Once Upon a Slam.

* October 2010: Won Master of Storytelling podcast award for the Shortening the Road podcast.

* June 2010: Published The Bard’s New Hat, which is a collection of his favourite recordings from past couple of years.

* October 2009: Won 1st place in the Liar’s competition Festival Interculturel du conte au Quebec (Montreal, Quebec)

* August 2009: Won 3rd place in the Bardic competition at Kaleidoscope Gathering (Curran, Ontario)

* November 2008: Started the Shortening the Road blogcast.

* June 2008: Won 1st place in the Bardic competition at Wic-Can Fest (Mulmur, Ontario)

* February 2005: Published a book/CD called “You Don’t Know Jack” that featured six stories about a young boy who helped ghosts, battled giants, and lied to the King.

About the Musicians

David has had the immense honor to work with some of Canada’s best musicians who have contributed haunting and mystical layers of music to the stories told. Depending on availability and location, these musicians have worked with David over the years.

Ja Sonier

Bio coming soon!

Ursa Meyer

Ursa brings her youthful vitality and considerable musical prowess to the stage. She is equally at ease burning through blistering reels on the fiddle, blending in with vocal harmonies, or playing backup on the keyboard. At 15 she is already very familiar with the stage, having performed since the age of nine in a wide variety of genres, from classical to Celtic to Klezmer. As well as performing with Fiddlehead Soup, Ursa is also a member of the violin ensemble Stellae Boreales and the Maplewood Ceilidh Band. In her spare time Ursa attends grade 10 at Canterbury High School in the Arts Canterbury string program.

Greg Currie

Greg Currie is a Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist who explores images and experiences of nature, divinity, and humanity through music and poetry.

The debut CD, entitled “Consummate,” is currently ‘in studio’ and will include familiar songs such as the country music themed “Worn And Torn,” the folk rock “One Day In The Spring,” the alt/indie “My Lady Of The Sea,” and other favourites.

Fans of Castalia (www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Castalia), will be pleased that she has contributed her voice and multi-instrumental talents in expanding the depth and richness of the songs on Consummate.

Rikki Lacoste

Bio coming soon!

Dave Wolfsong

Bio coming soon!

Shayne Gryn

Note: A founding member of Taelstrum, Shayne’s projects have sadly forced him to take a leave of absence from Taelstrum. We thank him for his vision and commitment and wish him the best! shaynegryn.com

What People are Saying

I have watched [David] go from strength to strength as a performer here in Montreal and at festivals. I regulariliy invite him to guest in my on-going series of concerts at Hurley’s [Irish Pub] in Montreal (the oldest series in Quebec and one of the oldest in Canada.) He is creative, engaging, committed to the art and an excellent communicator.
— Mike Burns


Much like a musician or an actor, Hickey rehearses and polishes his performances with care, attending to gesture, pacing and timing, eye contact with audience, selection of words and phrases to emphasize, and so on.

Hickey has a keen interest in the role of storytelling in people’s lives, as a teaching tool, and as a cultural event, where traditional values and relationships are enacted. As this is a professional research interested of mine too, I feel that I am in a good position to observe Hickey’s understanding of complex philosophical and anthropological principles such as narrative identity, cultural selection, and communicative action.

He is also keenly aware of what live performance storytelling can do, which radio and television cannot do. Indeed in one of my own philosophical projects, I quoted him a s a research informal, in the matter of the relation between teller and audience.

— Dr. Brendan Myers, Ph.D.


The charismatic duo share their jack stories in a way that keeps the reader/listener entertained with enough intellectual creativity to give them pause for thought as well. While no discredit to the cd included I’ve had the pleasure of seeing JD perform live, which is really the true experience. Keep chasing your dreams guys!
— Greg S. (from a review of You Don’t Know Jack)


Refreshingly entertaining! We are lucky enough to have been able to attend the launch and were blown away by the energy coming from these tales! The cd is a popular gift to all ages of family and friends.
— Terrie Gra-auga (from a review of You Don’t Know Jack)


I commute day and night and I used to listen to the radio to take my mind off of the 1h travel. Since I have bought this cd, I have listened to it many times a week in my car and, every time, I get transported to another world. Snow and wind don’t exist anymore, but the characters that I encounter with each telling have become friends. The stories are well told and, because of the quality and professionalism of the storytellers, I can say that I have participated in all the adventures told and met all the heroes. This cd is a gift to all who want to marvel at who we are and what we can recapture both from when we were young as well as now. I strongly recommend it.
— Marie-Christine (from a review of You Don’t Know Jack)


I love fairy tales and this is a wonderful little collection of them all about one famous character, Jack. I am a teacher and the book is a wonderful little gem to have in the classroom. My kids love listening to the stories on CD while they eat their snack and I’ve listened to it so many time that I have them memorized. This comes in handy since I’ll reward the kiddies with me telling the story with actions and voices and I’m always mean enough to time a cliffhanger just before the bell to leave them coming back for more 🙂 And having the book is great because I can prepare lessons, have the kids read it for themselves and have discussions about the stories. I love this book and would highly recommend it to anyone! Can’t wait for the next collection to hit the shelves!
— Sarah B. (from a review of You Don’t Know Jack)

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