VIDEO: Syrian storytelling traditions come alive on Bute

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The rich storytelling traditions of Syria were brought to life in Rothesay this week as the Scottish International Storytelling Festival paid its annual visit to Bute.

Bassam Dawood and Dima AlMekdad held their Rothesay Library audience transfixed with two stories - one of them an all-too-lifelike tale of a young man and his sweetheart and their desperate attempt to escape their war-torn homeland and make a new life for themselves in Europe.

Bassam Dwood, Dima AlMekdad and Julia Rampen at Rothesay Library.

Bassam Dwood, Dima AlMekdad and Julia Rampen at Rothesay Library.

The duo - accompanied by journalist Julia Rampen, acting as technical assistant and stand-in translator as Dima struggled with a throat infection - followed their stories with a question-and-answer session, much of which focused on Syria’s place in the present-day international headlines, as the proud nation is torn apart by civil war and Islamic fundamentalism.

The video above is rather more light-hearted; it features a short interlude in English in which storyteller - or ‘hakawati’ - Bassam is persuaded that ancient tales of knights, swords and camels may not be the way to go.

* More on this story in the next issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, November 5.