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The storyteller of Marrakech

GUEST,CJB 13 Apr 14 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,CJB 13 Apr 14 - 06:31 AM
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Subject: The storyteller of Marrakech
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 06:29 AM

Storytelling in Marrakech is a practice with ancient roots, thought to date back to the 11th Century. But has it been superseded by modern life?

The Cafe de France in Marrakech is something of an institution. It is the oldest and most famous of the slightly louche establishments that surround the main square, the Jemaa el Fna. Dating back to the days of the French protectorate, it sometimes feels as if its decor and staff haven't changed since then either.

Wobbly ceiling fans rotate languidly trying to dispel the stifling heat. Portraits of King Mohammed the VI hang at odd angles from its blue and white tiled walls. Inside customers sit on faded wicker chairs sipping mint tea and strong coffee. On the veranda tourists try to avoid eye contact with the encircling shoe shine boys and hawkers selling single cigarettes, while the locals sit and stare at the hot teeming square, making their drinks last for hours.

It was here - back in 2006 - that I first met Abderrahim El Makkouri, a tall man, with a red Fez hat, dark beady eyes, goatee beard and a prominent nose. Abderrahim is a storyteller - one of the very last surviving "hlaykia" as they are called. Of an evening, when the sun went down and the muezzin called the faithful to the mosques, he would recite ancient myths, legends and folk tales to rapt crowds in the square, and if they enjoyed them, they would pay him a few coins.


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Subject: RE: The storyteller of Marrakech
Date: 13 Apr 14 - 06:31 AM

Re: "It was here - back in 2006 - that *I* first met Abderrahim El Makkouri..." not *I* but one reporter Richard Hamilton.

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