Damascus, SANA_ Al-Hakawati is a storyteller whose profession is to spellbind his audience with his eloquent stories and tales.
Not anyone could be a storyteller, it requires rhetoric, fluency, narrative skills and the ability to capture the audience’s attention and engage them through the process of narrating the story.
Most of al-Hakawati stories often feature historical or fantasy characters and events, stories of people doing good deeds where reality is mixed with fiction.
Storytellers and poetry recital have a long history in Damascus. This type of performing art was part of its culture and its cafes long ago.
It was very popular and part of Damascene entertainment, deepening moral values and showing exemplary behavior through the stories of heroes in folklore.
Among the stories of the old folk biographies, Hakawati al-Sham Ahamd al-Lahham, nicknamed Abo Sami, spent years of his life in narrating ancient stories by focusing on events and championships of old known figures.
Abo Sami loves his work very much. He considers it very interesting as he used to meet visitors of al-Nawfara café, the 500-year-old café located in the old city of Damascus which still keeps this tradition alive, every Thursday and narrate events and old stories skillfully. He always succeeds in taking the listeners to a time of nobility and heroism.
Al-Hakawati Abo Sami, who inherited his love of telling stories from his uncle Abo Shaker Snobar, sees that this profession is much more than just to tell stories, but it is rather a mini theater through which the storyteller gives listeners sermons through indirect messages focusing on good values.
Abo Sami said that this profession cannot be eliminated with time and that it should be nourished by person’s love of reading.
He added that he used to read daily more than 200 pages, whether it is a story, book, or any kind of cultural and science articles.
This profession, according to Abo Sami, needs talent because it requires dealing with all segments of society who are interested in listening to ancient literature and find wisdom and useful advice in it.
The storyteller used to choose well-known stories and figures such as Antara Bin Shaddad and al-Zaher King because these kinds of stories represent complete comprehensive genres such as literature, poetry, ethics, magnanimity, Arabism and other values.
One of the most important elements of al-Hakawati success, is his love for the Arabic Language, because it is the language of the Holy Qur’an.
Hakawati al-Sham hopes that Ministry of Culture will adopt this profession to maintain and guarantee its continuity as it is one of the oldest professions related to the Damascene environment.