Aramaic Project No. 90 to 81 - Interviews and Performances - Video List

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Aramaic Project Number Description Duration Date and place of Recording Video
90

Young Syro Malabar Catholics getting comfortable with bilingual Qurbana

Maria Joseph and Bro. Libin singing Syriac chants from memory

Note: In this video, we see two young Syro Malabar Catholics who are comfortable singing Syriac chants during Qurbana in Malayalam. We were walking to the St. Joseph’s Monastery (Mannanam) archive, when we heard the sound of Syriac chant coming from the Monastery Chapel a few feet away. We managed to find the singers after the mass for this interview. Both Maria Joseph and Bro. Libin, CMI sang the chants from memory. They admitted that they did not fully understand the meaning of the words, yet they enjoyed singing these chants. Maria said that the melodies elicited devotion. Worthy of special mention is how correctly Maria pronounced the phrase “Halleluiah” (“Hallel Yahweh,” “praise God”), instead of the inaccurate pronunciation, “Alleluia.” Brother Libin, a seminarian in the religious Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C. M. I.). joined us half-way through and Maria and Libin sang together the Syriac version of the Anthem of the Mysteries. Overall, these young singers give us hope of a resurgence of the Syriac tradition among the Syro Malabar Catholics.

Joseph J. Palackal

New York

19 May 2018

11:56 Recorded on 19-Aug 2017 at St. Joseph's Monastery at Mannanam
89

Chavara archives at Mannanam. A treasure house for researchers

The library and archives at St. Joseph's Monastery at Mannanam, in the Kottayam district of Kerala contain a vast collection of books, Manuscripts, and palm leaf documents that are relevant sources for researchers on Kerala history, Kerala church history, as well as the history of the Syriac language and liturgy in India. Of special interest to the followers of the Aramaic Project are the 114 Syriac manuscripts. Fr. Emmanuel Thelly, CMI prepared an annotated list of these manuscripts . We hope this video will draw attention from scholars from India and abroad. St. Joseph's Monastery (founded in 1831) is the mother house of the first indigenous religious Congregation for men in India, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C.M.I.). We are grateful to Fr. Antony Bunglowparampil, CMI, the director, and Bibin George, the librarian for allowing us to make this video.

Joseph J. Palackal

New York

26 May 2018

11:57 Recorded on 19-Aug 2017 at St. Joseph's Monastery at Mannanam
88

Fr. THOMAS KANJIRATHUMOOTTIL, Athirampuzha in conversation with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal

Note:

Fr. Thomas Kanjirthumottil belongs to the generation of priests that lived through the transition of the Chaldean liturgy of the Syro Malabar Church from Syriac to Malayalam. He was ordained in 1964, two years after the Syro Malabar Church inaugurated the vernacular liturgy. The solemn form of the Syro Malabar Qurbana was not available in the vernacular, yet. Therefore, Fr. Thomas celebrated the solemn form in Syriac on festival occasions until 1972. During the following years, Fr. Thomas continued to cherish the Syriac melodies. Currently, he serves St. Mary’s Forane Church at Athirampuzha, in the Archdiocese of Changanacherry . He celebrates the solemn sung Syriac Qurbana about twenty times a year. In this recording, Fr. Thomas sings a rare melody of the Resurrection hymn (“Laku mara”). We heard this melody only once before; that was from Fr. Paul Kodamullil, who belongs to the Diocese of Kothamangalam (see Aramaic Project 3B). Probably they both learned the melody from Fr. Mathew Vadakel, who was professor at the St. Joseph’s Seminary at Mangalappuzha, Aluva. Fr. Thomas recalled the melody and performance practice of the famous Christological hymn, “Sagdinan mar” (see more on this hymn at http://christianmusicologicalsocietyofindia.com.). Fr. Thomas regrets the loss of the Syriac music heritage from the younger generation of the Syro Malabar Catholics. The interview ended with a pleasant surprise. Fr. Thomas recognized me through my bhajan from my LP record (1979, http://christianmusicologicalsocietyofindia.com... ). He said that he liked those songs and apologized for not recognizing me before the interview. It was, indeed, a pleasure to get to know someone who is open minded to appreciate varied genres of Christian music.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
11 May 2018
10:03 Recorded on August-18-2017 at St. Mary’s Forane Church, Athirampuzha .Kottayam

,

87

Bar Mariyam during priestly ordination of Fr. Kevin Mundackal

Note:

In this video we see history in the making. For the first time, the ancient Syriac hymn, ""Bar mariyam"" (“Son of Mary”) is heard in the context of a sacerdotal ordination. Here is a deliberate attempt toward re-imagining the (East) Syriac heritage by the young generation of Syro Malabar Catholics in the USA. The occasion was the priestly ordination of Fr. Kevin Mundackal for the St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago. The ordination took place at St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Somerset, New Jersey, on 5 May 2018. Fr. Kevin, in consultation with the choir, decided to add a Syriac element to the ceremony by singing two chants in Syriac, the trisagion ("Qandisa alaha," see Aramaic Project-86 ) and "Bar mariyam" ( see more on this chant at christianmusicologicalsociety.com). 'Bar mariyam,' which is a para-liturgical hymn, was sung during the kissing of the anointed hands of the newly ordained priest. Until this event, "Bar mariyam" used to be associated with the wedding ceremonies of the Knanaya Christians, an endogamous community among the St. Thomas Christians. By including this chant in the sacerdotal ceremony, Fr. Kevin has not only expanded the performance context, but also reclaimed the chant as a part of the common heritage of all the St. Thomas Christians. Fr. Kevin’s decision will surely lead to a new conversation on the Syriac identity of the Syro Malabar Church. It will also add to the evolving chapter in the story of the East Syriac language in America. It is interesting to see that the conversation that started on 7 September 2013 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D. C. is gaining momentum. (See Aramaic Project 66 & 65 ). The Christian Musicological Society of India congratulates Fr. Kevin and the choir.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
11 May 2018
6:47 St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Somerset, New Jersey, on 5 May 2018
86

"Qandisa alaha," during the rite of priestly ordination of Rev Kevin Mundackal

Note: Fr. Kevin Mundackal’s priestly ordination was a unique event in the history of the Syro Malabar Church in the USA. This was the first sacerdotal ordination in the Chaldean rite of the Syro Malabar Church in America. The ordination took place at the St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Somerset, New Jersey, on 5 May 2018. The ceremony and the Qurbana were in English, which is the first language of Fr. Kevin. Remarkably, Fr. Kevin decided to include a Syriac chant in the ceremony, the trisagion. I was instrumental in introducing this hymn to the younger generation of the Syro Malabar Catholics in the USA, on 7 September 2013. The occasion was the sixteenth Annual pilgrimage to our Lady of Good Health (Annai Velankanni) at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D. C. The Qurbana was in English. We used the music of the solemn Qurbana that George Thaila and I composed in 2007. George Cardinal Alencherry, the head of the Syro Malabar Church was the celebrant. “Qandisa Alaha” was one of the two Syriac chants that the 130-member youth choir sang on that day. Kevin, a seminarian at that time, was present on the occasion. After the Qurbana, Kevin spoke to me about his interest in knowing more about the Syriac tradition of the Syro Malabar Church. Years later, it was heart-warming to hear the Syriac version of the trisagion during the ceremony of his sacerdotal ordination. Let us hope that the words of this chant will become part of the prayer vocabulary of the next generation of the Syro Malabar Catholics.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
8 May 2018
2:38 St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Somerset, New Jersey, on 5 May 2018
85

Etha Pus Lek. From Funeral services for priests. lead voice: Fr. Cyril Thayyil

Live recording from the funeral services for Fr. Thomas Vettikkal (1931-2017). Syro Malabar diocese of Pala, Kerala. Lead voice: Fr. Cyril S. Thayyil. Note: This is a precious chant from the (East) Syriac repertoire of the Chaldeo-Malabar Church in Kerala. The chant is unique from the perspective of the text and the melody. The change of narrative voices in the text and the melismatic ending of phrases are note worthy. A detailed study of this chant can be found in my chapter in Music and World Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2016) The chapter contains transliteration and translation of the Syriac and Malayalam versions of the text. The Syriac text is heard only rarely at present. Fr. Cyril Thayyil sings the chant first in Syriac and then initiates the Malayalam version.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
1 May 2018

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Transliteration and translation of text by Fev. Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI

1. Ēdtâ pūš(y) lēk(y) bašlāmâ: ʾāzēlnâ lî: W ̔āmōrayk(y) bzaddīqūţâ: ṣallāw ͑ lay. O church, remain in peace, I am going; And thy dwellers in righteousness, pray for me.

2. ʾAḥay wḥabray ḥabbībay: ͑ubdūhy ldukrān(y): Dperšēt menkōn walālam: ṣallāw ͑ lay. My dear brothers and friends, celebrate my remembrance; Because I have departed from you and for ever, pray for me.

3. ʾĀzēlnâ wlâ dāhēlnâ: dmār(y) qārê lî: Waklīl šubḥā sā ͗ēm ͑al rēš(y): wamḥaddê lî. I am going and am not afraid, my Lord is calling me; He is placing the crown of glory on me and is gladdening me.

4. Malaʾkâ detâ wdabrāk: la ͑dēn nāwblāk: Wqurbānâ lmārāk nqarbāk: zel bašlāmâ. May the angel who came and took thee to Eden, lead thee; We shall offer thee as an oblation to thy Lord, go in peace.

5. Pūš(w) bašlāmâ kahnê zhayyâ: dperšēt menkōn: Wmâ dqāymītōn bgāw bêt qudšâ: ṣallāw ͑ lay. Remain in peace, O reverend priests, though I have departed from you; And when you stand in the sanctuary, pray for me.

6. Pūš(w) bašlāmâ ʾaḥay wḥabray: wabnay ͑enyān(y): Dsarheb māwtâ paršan(y) menkōn: ṣallāw ͑ lay. Remain in peace, O my brothers, my friends, and my companions; Because death has hastened and separated me from you, pray for me.

7. Pūš(w) bašlāmâ ͑ammâ gabyâ: kenšâ prīqâ: Māran nnaṭar laknūšātkōn: ṣallāw ͑ lay. Remain in peace, O chosen people, redeemed congregation; May our Lord keep your assemblies, pray for me.

8. (If the departed priest was a Malpān) ʾO talmīday wabnayenyān(y): lâ teṭ ōnān(y): Wmâ damlītōn baktābê: ʾetdakrūnān(y). O my disciples and my companions, do not bear me; Nonetheless, remember me when you toil with books.

4:03 Live recording from the funeral services for Fr. Thomas Vettikkal (1931-2017).
84

"Witawangunnen." Funeral services for priests. Sung by Fr. S. Sankoorikkal

Live recording from the funeral services for Bishop James Pazhayattil (1934-2016). Lead voice: Fr. Sebastian Sankoorikkal, Archdiocese of Ernakualm-Angamaly. Note: This is the Malayalam version of a precious chant, 'Etha pus lek," from the (East) Syriac repertoire of the Chaldeo-Malabar Church in Kerala. The Malayalam translation is by Fr. Abel Periyapuram, CMI (1920-2001).The chant is unique from the perspective of the text and the melody. The change of narrative voices within the text and the melismatic ending of phrases are note worthy. A detailed study of this chant can be found in my chapter in Music and World Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2016) The chapter contains transliteration and translation of the Syriac and Malayalam versions of the text. The Syriac text is heard only rarely at present. We are fortunate to have this video from a celebrated singer of Syriac chants, Fr. Seabstian Sankoorikkal).


Joseph J. Palackal
New York
1-May-2018

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Wiṭawāngunnēn (May I Take Leave)

1. Wiṭawāngunnēn paripāwanamām Baliwēdikaye wiṭawāngunnēn. Muṛapōlinimēl balicheywathināy Nin padatāril warikilla ñān. May I take leave, O ever sacred Altar of Sacrifice, may I take leave. From now on, as usual to offer Sacrifice At your footsteps I shall not come.

2. Wiṭawāngunnēn dēwālayame, Wānawaṛ pāṭum paramālayame, Swaṛggānandam wiḷayum ninnil Patiyillinimēl enpādangaḷ. May I take leave, O House of God, O supreme dwelling where heavenly beings [angels] sing, In you where heavenly bliss abound, Shall not tread anymore my feet.

3. Wiṭawāngunnēn dēwālayame, Wānawaṛ pāṭum paramālayame, Kīṛttana gānam pāṭunnatināy Tirusannidhiyil warikilla ñān. May I take leave, O House of God, O supreme dwelling where heavenly beings sing, To sing the songs of praise, To the sacred Presence I shall not come.

4. Iniyen pṛiyare, pōkunnu ñān Antimayātṛa wandanamōṭe. Dēwālayame, pōkunnu ñān Kaṛmangaḷkkāy warikillinimēl. Now, my beloved people, I am going, With the final journey’s farewell; O House of God, I am going; For the rituals I shall not come anymore.

see also Item no. 10 in researches/resources-for-researchers#10

6:56 Live recording from the funeral services for Bishop James Pazhayattil (1934-2016)
83

Varghese Chiriyankandath, Sacristan and church musician. St. Joseph's Church, Pavaratty. Archdiocese of Thrisssur, Kerala.

NOTE :- This is a candid conversation with a church singer from the Syriac era, who served his parish church of St. Joseph's at Pavaratty., in the Diocese of Thrissur, in Kerala. Due to the unusual circumstances, Shri Varghese started as a sacristan at the tender age of ten. Later, he also took the role of the Leader of Song in the church. The liturgy was in Syriac. He learned the songs and prayers without fully understanding the meaning of the text. Yet, Varghese developed a liking for the melodies and a sense of awe for the language of Jesus and the apostles. He continued to serve the parish for over half a century. Due to financial constrains, Varghese dropped out of school after fourth grade, but continued to absorb all kinds of knowledge from every available source. The interview shows his uncanny capacity for critical thinking. Varghese cherished one piece of advice that he received from his father, “Listen to the words the priests, but ignore their deeds.” In spite of his critical thinking about priests and church practices, Varghese professed unswerving loyalty to the clergy and the parish. At the age of 83, Varghese struggles to remember the hundreds of melodies that he learned in his youth. Yet, he is able to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Syriac, as well as, texts of several songs. Here we have examples of the vocalization of Syriac prayers by a layman. Varghese also sings a melody of the Trisagion (“Qandisa alaha”), which we heard only once before performed by an elderly priest in the Diocese of Kothamangalam. The melody of the Marian litany is new. Varghese mentions that monetary remuneration for serving the church was meager. Nonetheless, he has no complaints. Additionally, he feels that God blessed him and his family abundantly during the years of his ministry. Overall, this was an uplifting conversation for me.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
6 April 2018

Index

1. Favorite song, Mokshathin rajawe (Malayalam) (4:30)

2. Favorite Syriac song: M’haimaninan (the Creed) 8:11

3. A Different melody of Qandisa alaha (10:28)

4. Melody of the Litany Kuriyelaison (1:53)

5. How did you feel when the liturgy was translated into Malayalam? (18:03)

6. Melody of “Nalla mathawe mariye,” Hymn in honor of the Blessed Virgin in Malayalam (20:22)

7. Hymn in honor of St. Joseph in Malayalam, “Mama palakane” (24:12)

8. Melodies of Puthen pana (25:26)

9. Melody of Sambah lesan, in Syriac (20:07)

10. Melody of “Kollan dasne” (29:57)

11 Critique of a funeral ritual (32:28)

12 Critique of the starting time of Easter vigil service (33:25)

13. Recites the Lord’s prayer and the anthem of the mysteries (34:34)

14. A song in honor of the Blessed Sacrament in Malayalam, “Diwya karunyamea” (36:43)

40:28

Recorded at Mr. Varghese Chiriyankandath's residence on.

8 August 2017.

82b

Laku mara. Resurrection hymn in Syriac, during trilingual (German, English and Syriac) qurbana.

The Celebration of the Syro Malabar Qurbana was part of a Christian Festival of India, under the direction of Dr. Rani Palackal Schmenger. The choir consisted of singers and instrumentalists from the Erlangen, Neurenburg areas. This was a unique experience for the German parishioners of Holy Cross Church

3:16 Recorded at Holy Cross Church, Frankfurt, Bornheim,Germany on Sunday 30-July-2017
81

"Etha Pus lek" from funeral services for priests in the Syro Malabar Church

'Etha pus lek." Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016).

Note: This is a precious chant from the (East) Syriac repertoire of the Chaldeo-Malabar Church in Kerala. The chant is unique from the perspective of the text and the melody. The change of narrative voices in the text and the melismatic ending of phrases are note worthy. A detailed study of this chant can be found in my chapter in Music and World Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2016) http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/1... The chapter contains transliteration and translation of the Syriac and Malayalam versions of the text. The Syriac text is heard only rarely at present. We are fortunate to have this video from a celebrated singer of Syriac chants, Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016).

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
7 Feb 2018

Transliteration and translation of text by Fev. Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI

1. Ēdtâ pūš(y) lēk(y) bašlāmâ:
ʾāzēlnâ lî:
W ̔āmōrayk(y) bzaddīqūţâ:
ṣallāw ͑ lay.
O church,
remain in peace,
I am going;
And thy dwellers in righteousness,
pray for me.

2. ʾAḥay wḥabray ḥabbībay:
͑ubdūhy ldukrān(y):
Dperšēt menkōn walālam:
ṣallāw ͑ lay.
My dear brothers and friends,
celebrate my remembrance;
Because I have departed from you and for ever,
pray for me.

3. ʾĀzēlnâ wlâ dāhēlnâ:
dmār(y) qārê lî:
Waklīl šubḥā sā ͗ēm ͑al rēš(y):
wamḥaddê lî.
I am going and am not afraid,
my Lord is calling me;
He is placing the crown of glory on me and is gladdening me.

4. Malaʾkâ detâ wdabrāk:
la ͑dēn nāwblāk:
Wqurbānâ lmārāk nqarbāk:
zel bašlāmâ.
May the angel who came and took thee to Eden,
lead thee;
We shall offer thee as an oblation to thy Lord,
go in peace.

5. Pūš(w) bašlāmâ kahnê zhayyâ:
dperšēt menkōn: Wmâ dqāymītōn bgāw bêt qudšâ:
ṣallāw ͑ lay.
Remain in peace,
O reverend priests,
though I have departed from you;
And when you stand in the sanctuary,
pray for me.

6. Pūš(w) bašlāmâ ʾaḥay wḥabray:
wabnay ͑enyān(y): Dsarheb māwtâ paršan(y) menkōn:
ṣallāw ͑ lay. Remain in peace,
O my brothers,
my friends,
and my companions;
Because death has hastened and separated me from you,
pray for me.

7. Pūš(w) bašlāmâ ͑ammâ gabyâ:
kenšâ prīqâ:
Māran nnaṭar laknūšātkōn:
ṣallāw ͑ lay. Remain in peace,
O chosen people,
redeemed congregation;
May our Lord keep your assemblies,
pray for me.

8. (If the departed priest was a Malpān)
ʾO talmīday wabnayenyān(y):
lâ teṭ ōnān(y):
Wmâ damlītōn baktābê:
ʾetdakrūnān(y).
O my disciples and my companions,
do not bear me;
Nonetheless,
remember me when you toil with books.

9:17

Recorded at Old Cathedral Church , Pala

on 3-Sept-2011

81a

"Witawangunnen." Funeral services for priests in the Syro Malabar Church

'Etha pus lek." Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016).

Note: This is the Malayalam version of a precious chant, 'Etha pus lek," from the (East) Syriac repertoire of the Chaldeo-Malabar Church in Kerala. The Malayalam translation is by Fr. Abel Periyapuram, CMI (1920-2001).The chant is unique from the perspective of the text and the melody. The change of narrative voices within the text and the melismatic ending of phrases are note worthy. A detailed study of this chant can be found in my chapter in Music and World Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2016) http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/1... The chapter contains transliteration and translation of the Syriac and Malayalam versions of the text. The Syriac text is heard only rarely at present. We are fortunate to have this video from a celebrated singer of Syriac chants, Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016).

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
7 Feb 2018

-------------------------------------------------------

Wiṭawāngunnēn (May I Take Leave)

1. Wiṭawāngunnēn paripāwanamām
Baliwēdikaye wiṭawāngunnēn.
Muṛapōlinimēl balicheywathināy
Nin padatāril warikilla ñān.
May I take leave,
O ever sacred Altar of Sacrifice,
may I take leave.
From now on,
as usual to offer Sacrifice
At your footsteps I shall not come.

2. Wiṭawāngunnēn dēwālayame,
Wānawaṛ pāṭum paramālayame,
Swaṛggānandam wiḷayum ninnil
Patiyillinimēl enpādangaḷ.
May I take leave,
O House of God,
O supreme dwelling where heavenly beings [angels] sing,
In you where heavenly bliss abound,
Shall not tread anymore my feet.

3. Wiṭawāngunnēn dēwālayame,
Wānawaṛ pāṭum paramālayame,
Kīṛttana gānam pāṭunnatināy
Tirusannidhiyil warikilla ñān.
May I take leave,
O House of God,
O supreme dwelling where heavenly beings sing,
To sing the songs of praise,
To the sacred Presence I shall not come.

4. Iniyen pṛiyare,
pōkunnu ñān Antimayātṛa wandanamōṭe. Dēwālayame,
pōkunnu ñān Kaṛmangaḷkkāy warikillinimēl.
Now, my beloved people,
I am going,
With the final journey’s farewell;
O House of God,
I am going;
For the rituals I shall not come anymore

8:05

Recorded at Old Cathedral Church , Pala

on 3-Sept-2011