Once a preserver of a traditional art, famed Syrian storyteller's life upended by war

June 9, 2014 7:08 AM

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Once a preserver of a traditional art, famed Syrian storyteller's life upended by war

DAMASCUS, Syria – For more than 20 years, the Storyteller of Damascus entertained crowds in a centuries-old cafe in the Syrian capital with long, poetic tales of Arab warriors and lovers, acting out scenes with his fists thumping and a sword that he'd swing and slam on a table.

Rashid Hallak was the most famous of the few remaining "hakawatis" in Syria — traditional reciter-performers of old Arab legends.

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