Jawad Elbied was born in the northern Moroccan city of Kenitra but moved to Marrakech where he studied at the university and gained a BA degree in linguistics in 2015.
He is the manager and one of the founding members of a storytelling organisation called Hikayat Morocco. He runs bi-weekly training sessions and weekly performances in English and Arabic. He also creates workshops for rural youth in collaboration with the Peace Corps, Project Soar, Dar Si Hmad, Cafe Clock and other associations.
He represented the Hikayat programme and performed at the 17th international storytelling festival in Kermanshah in Iran.
He was also invited to tell Moroccan tales at the Scottish international storytelling festival in Edinburgh. He worked as a volunteer with the Scottish storytelling centre there.
In the UK he met storytellers such as Ben Hagarty, Giles Abbott, Nell Phoenix and Jan Blake.
He has been invited to perform at the international storytelling festival in Kenya.
He is back in Morocco and working on creating a series of workshops and performances in Agadir (for university students) and Essaouira (for the association Bayti).
The Moroccan tradition of hikayat, or storytelling, dates back almost 1,000 years. Some stories were recorded and other stories are passed orally. This form of entertainment is in danger of becoming extinct. Previously, hikayat was found in cities throughout Morocco, but today Marrakech’s Jema el-Fna’a square is one of the last places to hear the old stories and there are fewer and fewer storytellers. Cafe Clock offers a new venue and an opportunity for young Moroccans to train in this ancient art.
In his youth, master storyteller Ahmed Ezzarghani was a travelling salesman. Selling coffee at souks, he would often join the crowds gathering around storytellers. It was at that time that he became interested in collecting Morocco’s traditional fables. He also studied the craft and he eventually began to tell the stories himself.
50 years later he is committed to passing Morocco’s oral tradition to the next generation. Today, Haj Ahmed trains a group of young apprentices in order to keep the rich Moroccan heritage alive.