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Sunday, December 4

Once Upon The Time

Every night, in a small café of “al Nawfara” in the shadow of the eastern wall of Umayyad Mosque, a storyteller known by “Hakawati” keeps the art of public storytelling alive. Seated on a chair elevated above the others, he begins with a half-sung introduction, switching his voice into accents, using layers of different Arabic: slang, old colloquial and formal forms, depending on the character he is reading. Holding a book in one hand, while the other is full of vivid gestures then at one point in the story he grips a sword swings it once or twice, then BANG!! He strikes it down onto a metal tabletop in front of him. His stories might take a week, a month or a year! It is usually about very well known Islamic or heroic epics from early Arab history, such as Antara Ibn Shaddad, Abu Zaid al-Hilali, al-Zaher Baybars and many other famous ones. It was a very common craft in the past, but now it is no more than a folkloric performance or a museum piece, even some people go that he will be the last ever Hakawati, I hope not.


  • Ya I saw that guy before :) .... it's nice to see how the people used to entertain themselfs. Thank god we have Satellite and Internet now :P + I forgot the DVD of course :)

    By Blogger Hasan Bazerbashi, at 4/12/05 4:04 PM  

  • I hope I can attend one of those nights. I'm sure it will be memorable.

    By Blogger Omar, at 5/12/05 5:02 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous willow, at 5/12/05 9:14 PM  

  • that is so nice.
    al kan fee tlateh 7azarw ... bas nseet elkon enno ma shafo eljamal ;)

    By Blogger GraY FoX, at 7/12/05 12:55 AM  

  • its really nice to keep things from the past , its actually what makes us different from the others :)

    By Blogger Dar, at 9/12/05 2:05 AM  

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