The King and his Prime Minister
Abderrahim El Makkouri was born in Marrakech in 1956 and has been telling stories since the age of twelve. He learnt many Moroccan folk tales from his grandmother who would tell him stories when he was a child. He used to perform in the main square in Marrakech, the Jemaa el Fna, but he says there is too much noise and too little space for storytellers there now. He has been given the nickname of El Azzaliya because he learnt to recount the incredibly long epic story of the same name. These days he performs at the Cafe Clock in Marrakech on their regular weekly storytelling evenings, helping the next generation of tellers to emerge. He says his listeners tend to get very emotionally involved in his tales: 'When I tell a story and say something like: “the hero draws his sword,” people often duck and cower, as if a real sword is about to swing towards their heads.'