Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mastafa X'wazch: The Circassian Bard of Jerash

Хъуажь Мэстафэ: Джэрэшлы адыгэ джэгуакIуэ 

Mastafa (Aliy Yibrehiym) X'wazch (Хъуажь Ибрэхьим и къуэ Алий и къуэ Мэстафэ) was born in Jerash (Jordan) circa 1910. He was a very talented storyteller, in the best traditions of the ancient Circassian minstrels. He learned his art from various storytellers and bards in Jerash. He was much helped in his craft by his retentive memory to learn much of the oral lore that was carried by the Circassians into exile. He developed and polished a distinctive style of delivering the oral gems of yore with personal embelishments that added drama and excitement without compromising the content and purport of the tales. His repertoire included toasts, medieval tales, and traditional stories and laments. He also composed tales of his own.  X'wazch died at the age of 83 in 1993. 

Fortunately, recordings of some of his gems have come down to us grace to his daughters and grandchildren. These recordings have been converted to audio files and are available with synopses of the toasts and tales.  
 The help of Mrs. Suha X'wazch, Vice-President of the Circassian Charity Association/Ladies' Branch, is acknowledged. She provided digital recordings of the minstrel's art and furnished information on the life and work of the great bard.

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