The Star Wars actor, who voiced Raya in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, and the Grown-ish star will host Cultureverse, a 12-part series produced by Studio Ochenta for TRAX for public media organization PRX.
The series, which launches on June 24, celebrates our collective past while providing a place for myths and legends to come alive in the modern world. In each episode, ordinary kids encounter extraordinary creatures, myths, or folk characters from their diverse cultural backgrounds and embark on a journey of self-discovery. In episode one, a group of friends go camping near a lake. One of them, of Jamaican descent, tells the story of the Rolling Calf, a mythical creature in Jamaican folklore who haunts those who break the rules. As the story progresses, the creature actually appears, and the adventure begins.
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Additional episodes will be rooted in folktales and legends from Mexico, India, China, Nigeria, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, the Cherokee Nation, and more. Listeners will also hear a variety of spoken languages represented across episodes, including Spanish, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese.
“Cultureverse is a world where kids get to explore the myths and legends of their own cultures. I’m so excited to be working with Studio Ochenta, Yara Shahidi, and reuniting with PRX to bring these stories into the ears of young listeners everywhere,” said Tran. “These stories not only lift the voices of historically marginalized communities, they are also full of one thing the world always needs more of: magic. If Cultureverse were a real place, I’d want to live there.”
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this production along with Kelly, Studio Ochenta, and TRAX,” added Shahidi. “I’m proud to co-host a show featuring storytelling underscored by curiosity and adventure, that provides bridges between cultures. Cultureverse also speaks to me personally. I was raised with an appreciation of the cultures that make up our global community, and I can’t wait to share that experience with listeners everywhere.”
“Cultureverse” is a celebration of who we are and where we come from.” said Lory Martinez, founder of Studio Ochenta and creative director of Cultureverse. “We are so honored to have been able to work hand in hand with folks from each and every one of these cultures to develop these stories and bring them to life for our listeners with the incredible voice talents of Kelly and Yara.”
“We view TRAX as an engaging space for tweens and their caregivers to not only find new podcasts across genres, but to also feel at home with our content made specifically for them. We launched the network when the world seemed to grow more complex by the minute, and I feel so grateful that preteens have TRAX to turn to,” added Michelle Smawley, executive producer of TRAX from PRX. “‘Cultureverse’ brings much-needed listening to young audiences––we’re proud to partner with the Studio Ochenta team.”
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