WON-LDY PAYE grew up in the town of Tappita, in the central mountains of Liberia. Together with his two brothers, his sister, and his many cousins, he worked on his family's rice farm and in their vegetable gardens.

Won-Ldy's family are the storytellers, or tlo ker mehn (“people who play story”), of the Dan community. As he was growing up, Won-Ldy was trained by his grandmother to remember and retell the historical, educational, and entertaining stories of the Dan people. He also received training in Dan music and dance. Won-Ldy was an accomplished storyteller as a young child, because in the Dan culture, children from tlo ker mehn families often entertain their relatives and friends with stories while they are working, playing, or resting together.

After he finished his schooling, Won-Ldy worked in Liberian theater and directed an original play which won an international award in The Netherlands. He was the founder and Artistic Director of Tlo-Tlo Artists Workshop, which was established to train young people to become tlo ker mehn and which became the 4th largest theater company in Liberia.

Won-Ldy lived in Seattle from 1990-2003, where he told his stories to thousands of school children each year. During this time he collaborated with Meg Lippert on their award-winning collection and picture books of Dan folk tales. He taught African drumming and dance at the University of Washington, and his group of African drummers and masked dancers performed widely at community events and regional festivals. He also hosted a weekly radio program for the University of Washington which focused on African issues and culture.

Now Won-Ldy lives in Connecticut and enchants children in schools on the east coast, but he returns to work in Seattle several times a year. Won-Ldy plays various instruments including sankpah (a drum/rattle combination) and balaphone (an instrument of dried, hollow gourds).

Won-Ldy's vividly colorful and dramatic paintings hang in private collections on the East Coast and in California. He dyes fabric and makes clothes in the Dan style for himself and his friends, and his back yard is full of drums in all stages of construction.

Won-Ldy maintains close ties with his friends and family in Liberia. He has a daughter, Kerlia, and a son, Nlorkeahwon, who have also had the opportunity to learn the traditional Dan arts from their grandparents in Liberia.