Jess Smith

Book Jess Smith

Jess is happy telling any kind of story, especially if she can get inside its character. However, her true gift lies in the rich kist of Traveller tales she has gathered since childhood. From a Scottish Traveller family, Jess was privileged to sit round camp fires and be enthralled within a circle of ancient kings, dragons, witches, tramps and all manner of heroes. In her teenage years, she began to enjoy and sing the ballads often sung by her Granny, Mammy, aunts and seven sisters – a family of more than enough willing carriers of cultural song. The history of her people captivates Jess, not only their existence in Scotland’s countryside but in their treatment by authority, as they struggled to survive in the land of their birth. As a teller of tales, the hardships of her ancestors help the listener to come a wee bit closer to understanding the Traveller.

Jess is happy working with all ages. She has helped with anti-bullying projects, worked in hospitals and even shared tales in supermarkets. Jess was born in Aberfeldy. When she was five years old, after a brief spell living in a house, her parents purchased a 1948 single decker bus and set off on the open road, where they belonged. Uncle Wullie Murison was her mentor; he could hold Jess and her sisters’ attention until the summer with stories of Jake the wild adventurer, who never got caught. At eighteen she met and fell in love with Davey and they have two sons and a daughter, six grandchildren, 2 dogs and thousands of house martins that move under the eaves in their wee hoose in Perthshire every summer.

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