Friday, July 04, 2014

Want to become a Moroccan storyteller?

Storytelling in Morocco is a long and proud tradition, but is fast disappearing under the onslaught of modern communications. To help it survive, Cafe Clock is looking for future storytellers in Fez

Master storyteller Ahmed Ezzarghani at Cafe Clock Marrakech

Master storyteller in Marrakech, Ahmed Ezzarghani, began recounting Moroccan fables and biographies in his early 20's, at time when storytellers could be found in cities all over Morocco. Today, the few remaining storytellers perform in Marrakech’s Jema el-Fnaa square, though some nights no storyteller can be found in the square.

Apprentice Malika gives her version of an old tale

Last February, Ezzarghani and his apprentices began performing at Café Clock Marrakech. The apprentices learn stories from Ezzarghani and perform in English, while he performs in Moroccan Arabic, in order to appeal to a wide audience. The apprentices have developed their performance skills and English abilities, while gaining confidence and strengthening their personal ties to their Moroccan cultural heritage.

Apprentice Jawad El Bied says, “from the stories we can see the importance of patience and being kind to others. Working with Hajj [Ezzarghani] teaches us a lot. He has a strong personality and he works hard. He’s on a mission to preserve our culture. He wants to give us as many stories as he can so that we can help others know the stories.”

Apprentice Jawad entertains the crowd

Author of The Last Storytellers, Richard Hamilton, describes storytelling as "a priceless treasure, as precious as mankind's greatest artefact or the planet's most endangered species, and of immeasurable importance to humanity." Passing on stories, real and imagined, is the oldest form of human entertainment and education.

To share Ezzarghani’s mission, Café Clock intends to begin training English and Darija-speakers in Fez over the summer so that the Fassi apprentices may begin performing alongside a second master storyteller during the fall of 2014.

Apprentice Sara explains a story 

Café Clock is looking for six to eight bilingual apprentices who want to learn stories in Darija and tell the stories in English! Apprentices can expect to meet two or three times every week to learn and practice performing Moroccan traditional tales.

To learn more about applying for an apprentice storyteller's position, please email or visit Café Clock Fez.

The master storyteller holds sway at Cafe Clock Marrakech 

Photo credit: 

joelle gueguen

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