Rafi Jose

This book is a valuable addition to the resources for researchers on the Christian music of Kerala, India. It tells the story of the meeting of the musical minds of two great men: Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001) and Mangalappilly M. Jose (d. 2010), popularly known as Rafi Jose. Their collaboration happened in the 1960s at Ernakulam, Kerala. That was the time of transition of the Syro Malabar liturgy from Syriac to Malayalam. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Syriac liturgical texts, Fr. Abel wrote lyrics in Malayalam for the Holy week services, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Christmas midnight service, as well as prayer services for the beginning and end of the calendar year. This was also the time when Fr. Abel pooled the best musical talents in the greater cochin area and formed the Christian Arts club, which eventually would evolve into Kalabhavan. Mangalappiily Jose was one of those gifted musicians; he had already become immensely popular by singing the Hindi film songs of Muhammad Rafi (hence the nickname “ Rafi Jose). Fr. Abel tested his talent as a composer by entrusting the new lyrics to Rafi Jose. Rafi Jose composed captivating melodies to those lyrics that became instantly popular. (These melodies continue to be sung in the Syro Malabar churches until this day). The gramophone company of India published a record that included two of Rafi’s compositions: “thālathil weḷḷameṭuthu” (for Maundy Thursday) as well as “gāgulthā malayil ninnum” (for Good Friday). These soulful melodies were heard from the public address systems of most of the churches in Kerala and became imprinted in the minds of the people of Kerala.

Meanwhile, Fr. Abel and Rafi Jose embarked on an unusual project of publishing this book (printed at Mar Louis Memorial Press at Ernakulam, in 1969) with the lyrics and music of their songs in Western staff notation. The book is a monument to their great talents, their musical collaboration, and their intention to enhance Western musical literacy among musicians in Kerala.

In the absence of an Introduction, we do not know who transcribed the melody in staff notation. To clarify this, I had a telephone conversation with Rex Isaacs (18 August 2016), who was closely associated with Christian Arts Club and, later, Kalabhavan. Rex is a violinist in the Western tradition and comes from a family of musicians. Rex told me that he assisted Rafi Jose in preparing the score of the melodies of “thālathil weḷḷameṭuthu” and “gāgulthā malayil ninnum” as well as the background music for those melodies, before they traveled to Madras (Chennai) for the audio recording at HMV studio. Rex reiterated that the transcriptions that are printed in the book are not his. He thinks that Mr. Patrick David, who knew Rafi Jose, very likely prepared the score that is printed in the book. Rex added that he could not understand the reason for the addition of a bar line after the time signature on the opening staff, and then a measure-long space and bar line at the beginning of subsequent staves. In any case, the score helps us to understand the melody as the composer envisaged it; it also helps us to understand how a great singer like K. J. Yesudas emotes with and interprets the melody, and gives it a different life.

I happened to see the book, by chance, during a visit to the music library at Nadopasana at Thodupuzha, that I started in 1986. This was in the first week of August 2016. While browsing through the collection of recordings and books, Fr. Kurian Puthenpurackal,CMI, the director of Nadopasana brought a set of books from his personal collection. Gānādhyāpakan was one of them. I was overjoyed to see the book, and immediately recognized its historical value. Fr. Puthenpurackal said that he got the book from Fr. John Kachiramattom, CMI several years before. Ironically, this book and its content never came up in my conversation with Fr. Abel, during my three years at Kalabhavan.

The book assumes another layer of importance at the present time. It offers a definitive answer to the recent disputes regarding the authorship of the melody of "gāgulthā malayil ninnum." The dispute arose after the publication of an article (“gāgulthā malayil ninnum”), on Rafi Jose by Shajan C. Mathew in the Sunday edition of Malayala Manorama Daily, on March 27, 2016. In the article, Shajan Mathew cited much evidence to support the authorship of the melody by Rafi Jose Another living composer, however, disputed Shajan’s findings and claimed authorship of the melody. The Christian Musicological Society of India gladly presents the pdf version of the book for the benefit of scholars and journalists as the final proof of the authorship. May the soul of Rafi Jose have the last laugh, and rest in peace!


Joseph J. Palackal
www.TheCMSIndia.org
August 10, 2016

 

Delayed Discovery of a Hidden Musical Talent
During my high school days at St.Albert's High School (1961 - 1964) in Ernakulam, I happened to meet M. F. Jose (a.k.a. “Rafi Jose”) who was mainly known as a skilled soccer player in the Senior School Team. His musical talents were hidden from himself and the public; he never participated in musical competitions oryouth festivals.It was Raju Michael,a classmate of Jose,who initially discovered the hidden talent in Jose, and went out of the way to mold him into an accomplished singer who specialized in rendering popular Hindi film songs sung by Mohammed Rafi.

During those days, the musical scene at the Ernakulam-Kochi area was a vibrant one.The leading music clubs were Azad Art's Club and Tansen Music Club at Ernakulam, and Oriental Music Club, at Cochin.Right from our school days my elder brother,Emile, and I used to participate in the concerts of Azad Club due to the patronage given by Job&George,the duo composers,and violinist Alfred D'Souza who used to take violin lessons from my Dad.It was indeed a privilege and an exhilarating experience to meet such talented singers asC. O. Anto, Zero Babu, and J. M. Raju, and be part of a professional orchestra whose members were renowned in the field of music.

Oriental Music Club under the leadership of violinist,Terrence D'Souza,had a group specialized in the performance of Hindi film songs;M. G. Baby and Stella were the lead singers.Even when the leading clubs in Ernakulam refused to give due recognition to M. F. Jose,it was Oriental Music Club that gave him a red carpet treatment and christened him as Rafi Jose, based on his special vocal capacity to emulate the tone of the famous singer, Mohammad Rafi (ironically, it was the same club that refused to promotethe young singer, K. J. Yesudas, who eventually became a national hero, because of his “deplorable” Hindi diction).

Very soon, Rafi Jose became well known in and around Ernakulam and Cochin,and received invitations to sing on special occasions.The musical nights that Goldwin and Hussaier organized were known for their high standards and meticulous perfection.Rafi Jose's rendering of Hindi songs was the highlight of these shows.

Fr. Abel and the Christian Arts Club
It was around this time(mid 1960s) that Fr.Abel Periyappuram, C. M. I. (1920-2001)started a musical institution called Christian Arts Club within the premises of the Ernakulam Arch-Bishop's Palace on Broadway.The main goal of the club was to assist the vernacularization of the Syriac liturgy of the Syro Malabar Church.Fr.Abel roped in great composers like V.Dakshinamurthy,Job&George,Gopalan Master, and M. K. Arjunan.But somehow Fr. Abel was not so comfortable with working with them, and was in quest for some young talent,probably, from his own Catholic community, the Syro-Malabar Church.Atlast, he found Rafi Jose who had a hybrid heritage of Latin and Syrian. Soon, Jose started proving his skills as a composer, and Fr.Abel was more than pleased.But how to propagate these compositions,was the big question.

Fr.Abel had no contacts with the musicians in Ernakulam or Cochin.Neither was he a musician himself to assess the ability and proficiency of a good musician.So he requested Jose to bring in some "good, disciplined and God fearing young musicians" to fulfilhis mission of recording and disseminating the new songs. Thus, it was through Jose that Fr.Abel got in touch with the instrument players from the Ernakulam and Cochin areas.At the early recording sessionswe used to have only a few instruments.I remember Jose himself on the harmonium,my younger brother,Eugene on the guitar,A. G. Varghese on the Tabla,his younger brotherA. G. John on the bongos, and myself on the violin.For bigger sessions we used to hire more musicians from the troupe of K. J. Yesudas.The singers at the beginning were V. T. John(who recently retired as the chief librarian at S. H. College,Thevara),Lissamma,Neena and Soya.Later on, Jolly Abraham,Gopan,Thambi,Ibrahim,Shanthamma,Vijayam et al. joined the bandwagon.Nuns, priests, and laymen from various Syro Malabarchurches thronged to the Christian Art's Club to get recorded copies of these songs.

Seeing the enormous enthusiasm, Fr. Abel proposed a novel idea of conducting Bible Ganamelas with the intention of further propagating his works.We devoutly worked toward that goal, but the outcome was disappointing.Even in the couple of churches that we performed, the response was lukewarm.So we convinced Fr. Abel about attracting audiences by having the second half of the concert with hit songs from the Hindi films. Although this had a tremendous impact initially, more and more requests poured in strictlyfor film songs.

Rafi Jose’s Melodies on the Gramophone Record
It is around this time that Fr.Abel decided to organize a gramophone recording of a few of his songs composed by Rafi Joseat the HMV studio in Madras.Jose was practically a self-taught musician.He went through books on Hindustani music and Western music, and tried to assimilate as much as possible.He and I hadprolonged discussions on harmonies and chordprogressions and their meaningful applications.Apart from handling the harmonium in a dexterous manner,he had a fairly good idea about the finger positions on the violin and guitar, and could even demonstrate his ideas on these instruments.I remember how we sat together and worked on his signature composition that become very popular, Gāgulthā malayil ninnum (“from the Mount Calvary;”https://youtu.be/cUzzDerwawc), which was composed in the natural minor scale.I wrote down the score in Staff notation and even suggested some minor changes in the chords that he had set. Later Fr. Abel published the score of this song as well as other compositions of Rafi Jose in staff notation (Abel & Jose 1969)

Unexpected Turn of Events
Around this time, K. K. Antony master, a great musician and exponent of the Carnatic classical music, came back to Kerala from his successful sojourn in Sri Lankaand made acquaintance with Fr. Abel. With his deep knowledge in Carnatic music,superior composing and pedagogic skills, and extremely polite behavior,Antony Master very soon became Fr.Abel's close collaborator. Maybe, his Syro Malabar roots, too, did the magic. With the advent of Antony Master, Fr.Abel's attitude toward Rafi Jose changed for the worse.Jose was completely side tracked and all the importance was given to Antony Master.I was actively involved in the recording sessions of Antony master’s songs, too. I felt the pain of Rafi Jose, and even told Fr.Abel about how miserable Jos felt when he was ignored all of a sudden.

Fr.Abel was a clever manipulator.Knowing fully well the relationship between K. J. Yesudas and I, and my brother, Emile,he requested us to somehow get Yesudas affiliated to his Christian Arts Club.Both of us were part of Yesudas's orchestra during those days. Hence we had no inhibitions in asking Yesudas for such a favor.After some initial resentment,Yesudas agreed to our request.It was in late 1969, if I remember correctly,that Yesudas attended one of our committee meetings. Many VIPs attended that meeting just because they came to know Yesudas would be in attendance. Yesudas expressed his willingness to be part of the institution on condition that the name Christian Art's Club be replaced by a secular name.Fr.Abel was clever enough to instantly poke Yesudas’s brain to come up with a suitable name.And Yesudas came out with the name KALABHAVAN.That was accepted with a thunderous applause.

With Yesudas occupying the honorary post of Music Director of Kalabhavan and K. K. Antony in charge of all the composing work,Rafi Jose felt totally neglected and depressed
That is when the Song and Drama Division of the Govt.of India landed in Ernakulam to recruit musicians.The interviews and auditions were held at St.Teresa's College auditorium.Jose opened his heart to me saying that he wanted to somehow escape from Kalabhavan and even Ernakulam in order to avoid further humiliation.He requested me and my brother,Eugene,to accompany him when he sang for the audition.We readily obliged him, and the jury selected Jose.It was with tears in his eyes that he took leave of me that day. He never even told Fr.Abel about his departure,neither did Fr. Abel bother to enquire about him thereafter.

With his repertoire of Mohammed Rafi’s hit songs and experience as a composer,Jose did quite well in the Song and Drama Division.After completing a ten-year contract, however, he decided to try his luck in Bombay.Although he composed music for a few Marathi Dramas, he couldn't make it in Bollywood. Meanwhile,he fell in love with a Marathi girl,Elsa,and married her.They had a son,who is now working in USA.

Rafi Jose Shall Continue to Live through His Haunting Melodies
Unfortunately Jose drifted away even from his immediate relatives in Ernakulam.He passed away a year ago.When there was a controversy in the Malayala Manorama daily, regarding the composer of Gāgulthā malayil ninnum, I had to intervene and set the record straight. A Keralite, who is a neighbor of Elsa(Jose's wife), took the paper and read the write up to her.She somehow managed to get my phone number and thanked me whole heartedly for setting the record straight.She even remarked that she never knew that her husband was such a great man who is still remembered in Kerala. All said and done, Rafi Jose shall live through the soulful melodies that are sung during the Holy Week services in the Syro Malabar communities around the world.

References
Abel, C.M.I., Fr. and Rafi Jose. (1969). Gānādhyāpakan (Malayalam, Music teacher).
Ernakulam: Mar Louis MemorialPress. Review by Joseph J. Palackal in christianmusicologicalsocietyofindia.com//researches/resources-for-researchers
Gagultha malayil ninnum https://youtu.be/cUzzDerwawc
Mathew, Shajan C. “Gāgulthā Malayil Ninnum” (Malayalam, From Mount Calvary). Malayalam
Manorama, Sunday, 27 March 2016, p. xi.
http://christianmusicologicalsocietyofindia.com/StaticFiles/Media/images/PressReleases/Rafi-Jose
Manorama-news-17-march-2016_850x1014.jpg

 

Research Listings | Resources for Researchers | Research Recordings

Research Recordings

1 Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings Syriac melodies and their Malayalam translations from the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church for the research of Joseph J. Palackal. Recorded at Kalabhavan Studio in Dec 1997.
2 Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings Syriac and Malayalam versions of melodies from the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church. Introduction by Joseph J. Palackal. Recorded on 22 July 1998 at ASA Music Productions in Mount Vernon, New York.
3 Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings Malayalam version of model melodies from the liturgy of the Hours of the Syro-Malabar Church for the doctoral study of Joseph J. Palackal. Recorded at Fr. Abel's office at Kalabhavan, Kochi, Kerala on 23 Aug 2001.
4 Fr. Abel Periyapuram, C. M. I. sings chants from the liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church. Recorded at Joseph J. Palackal's office in Maspeth, New York on 20 Sep 1997 during Fr. Abel's visit to U. S. A. Of special interest is the conversation between Fr. Abel and Joseph J. Palackal on the rhythmic aspects of these melodies.
5 K. V. Job interviewed by Fr. Kurian Puthenpurackal, C. M. I. on Puthen paana for the research on the same topic by Joseph J. Palackal (see item no.27 under 'Research'). The interview was conducted at Job Master's residence on 18 May 1992.
6 Traditional christian songs in Malayalam. Recorded at the request of Joseph J. Palackal by Sr.Tessy, M. S. G and Sr.Juliet, M. S. G in 1988
7 Joseph J. Palackal in conversation with Esthappan Ouseph at the latter's residence in Houston, TX on 16 May 2010. Note: Of special interest is a hilarious prescription for barren women to bear children, and a special melody at 2:35 and a song of blessing for newly wed couples at 4:42  
8 Vaasagapa on St.Anthony recorded by Fr.Michael Bhackiam (last name to be verified ?) in Tamilnadu. Exact location to be verified.
9 Traditional christian songs in Tamil recorded by Fr.Michael Bhackiam (last name to be verified ?) in Tamilnadu. Exact location to be verified. The contents are: Prayer Song Hail Holy Queen Prayer song for marriage Song on our Lady For Death Song on St.Anthony.

Resources for Researchers

Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 192021222324

1

Marriage Customs and Songs of the Syrian Christians of Malabar by Dr. P. J. Thomas

For a digital copy of the book please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2

Dewaalya geethangal (Malayalam, Church hymns), edited by Fr. Basselios of St. Theresa, T. O. C. D.

Printed at St. Mary's Press, Elthuruth (1902). 172 pages (10 cms x 15 cms). The book contains text of Syriac hymns for various occasions, Dewalaya Geethangal Elthuruth 1902for the use of the church choir. A large number of hymns are translations of Latin chants that were composed anew in Kerala. Names of translators and composers of the melodies are unknown. The text is printed in Malayalam script, indicating that Syriac literacy was on the wane among the lay people in the Syro-Malabar Church, by the end of the 19th century.

3

Manuscript of Syriac chants in staff notation by Fr.Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I.

manuscript of syriac chants in staff notation manuscript of syriac chants in staff notation
 
Fr. Aiden Kulathinal

Copied in 1948 from an earlier manuscript (now lost) by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I., at St. Theresa’s Monastery at Ampazhakkadu, Kerala. So far as we know, this manuscript contains the earliest transcriptions of model melodies from the liturgy of the Hours in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church, India. The 27 pages are divided into three sections: pages 1-14 contain 51 Syriac melodies from the Hours; pages 15-19 consist of notation of what looks like Western melodies (to be verified) without text underlay; and pages 20-27 contain Marian litanies in Latin with Syriac translation. The Syriac texts are written in Malayalam script. The original copy is at the library at Acharaya Palackal Jeevass Kendram, Aluva, Kerala. See more details in Palackal 2005, pp. 134-135.

 

Letter written by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I. to Joseph. J. Palackal.
4

The Syriac-Malayalam Hymnal, edited by Rev.Saldanha A, S. J.

The Syriac Malayalam Hymnal Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore, for the Cathedral Church, Calicut, in 1937. Pp. 27 + 181 + x + v. Part I: Syriac chants of the solemn high mass of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala (text transliterated in Malayalam, music in Western staff notation). Part II: Malayalam devotional songs in Western staff notation. This is the first publication of Syriac melodies in staff notation in India. Probably, these melodies were composed in Kerala. The Preface (in English and Malayalam, pp. 9-18) by Rev. Saldanha is quite informative, among other things, on the status Christian music in Kerala in the first quarter of the twentieth century. See Foreword, Preface, and Table of Contents
5

Kerala Kaldaaya Suriyaani Reethile Thirukkarmma Geethangal by Fr.Mathew Vadakel and Fr. Aurelius.


Kerala Kaldaaya Suriyaani Reethile Thirukkarmma Geethangal (Liturgical hymns of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala), edited by Fr. Mathew Vadakel and Fr. Aurelius. Syriac texts transliterated in Malayalam script; music in staff notation. Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore. Published by S. H. League, Aluva. 1954. See Cover page and Table of Contents.

6

Syriac Translation of Latin Chants

The CD, Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India contains six chants (tracks 19 to 24) from an interesting repertoire of texts that were translated from Latin into Syriac in Kerala during the Portuguese period. These texts were composed anew in Kerala, mostly for paraliturgical services. See a preliminary study of the Syriac version of the famous Latin chant Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas, in Palackal (2005: 112-117). These chants are reference points for a special period in the history of Christianity and Christian music in India .
7

Die Melodien des Chaldaischen... by Heinrich Husmann

Die Melodien

Die Melodien des Chaldaischen Breviers Communenach denTraditionen Vorderasiens und der Malabarküste, edited by Heinrich Husmann. Orientalia Christiana Analecta, no. 178. Rome: Pontificum Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1967. Part I: Die Melodien des Commune des Chaldaischen Breviers, ach der tradition des vorderen orientes. Gesungen von P. Ephrem Bede, Chaldaischer Chorbischof, Patriarchalvikar in Kairo. Part II: Die Melodien des commune des Chaldaischen Breviers, nach der tradition der Indischen christen der Malabarkuste. Gesungen von P. Amos C. M. I., Generelakonom des Ordens Carmelitarum Mariae Immaculatae, Prior General’s House, Ernakulam, Kerala.

8

Puratanappatukal (Ancient Songs (of the Syrian Christians of Malabar]) by P. U. Lukas.

Compiled by P. U. Lukas (Puthenpurackal Uthup Lukas). 10th ed. Kottayam: Jyothi Book House. 2002. First published in 1910. Pp. xxxiv + 240. This book includes the complete text (pp.142 - 155) of the songs of Marggam Kali.
puratanappatukal cover Puratana ppatukal toc

Puratanappatukal toc

9

Kristeeya Keerthanangal (Christian Hymns): Staff Notation


Kristeeya Keerthanangal Published by Department of Sacred Music and Communications, The Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Thiruvalla (2002). Pp. ii + 757. Contains notation of over 484 melodies from the liturgy of the Mar Thoma Church. Certain significant details regarding the structure of the lyrics (pallawi-anupallawi-charanam, for example) and meter are missing in this edition. For these and other important information on the hymns, researchers may consult Malankara Mar Thoma suriyani sabha parasyaradhanakramam (Order of Public Worship of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church), published by the Mar Thoma Sabha Publication Board, Thiruvalla.
A call-to-attention to the rich repertoire of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church can be found in Palackal 2005, pp. 123-125.
10
  • Funeral services for priests and bishops in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church.

    Etha pus lek baslaamma (Syriac, "O church remain in peace") / Witawaangunnen (Malayalam, "May I bid farewell")

    a. The Malayalam version Witawaangunnen sung by Fr. Abel, C. M. I. Recorded on 20 Sep 1997 at Joseph J. Palackal's office in Maspeth, New York during Fr. Abel's visit to U. S. A.
  • b. The Syriac version sung by Fr. Probus Perumalil, C. M. I. (1922-2009) can be heard on track 18 in Qambel Maran. Fr. Perumalil’s rendition has a different vocal inflection.

    c. Click here to see the Syriac and Malayalam versions sung by Fr. George Plathottam (b. 1933). Recorded on 3 September 2011 at Old Cathedral Church, Pala, Kerala. This version is slightly different from Fr. Abel's and Fr. Perumalil's renditions. For example, the highest pitch in the melody in Fr. Plathottam's version appears in the first phrase, whereas it appears in the second phrase in the other two versions. Fr. Abel's and Fr. Perumalil's versions seem to be musically more logical.

    d. A preliminary study of this chant can be found in Joseph J. Palackal’s chapter, "The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India," in The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities. Oxford University Press (forthcoming).

    e. Syriac text of the chant, printed at Mar Thoma Sleeha Press, Aluva (1948).

    Edtapus syriac text

    f. The Syriac text printed at St. Joseph’s Press, Mannanam (1921) shows the history of different transmission of the text of this chant (see Ktawa dtesmesta dahlap annide (Book of Services for the Dead], p. 220). Joseph J. Palackal’s study is based on the Mannanam text.

    g. Malayalam translation of the chant by Fr. George Plathottam.
    Edtapus Malayalam Trans George Plathottam h. Malayalam version of this chant by Fr. Abel Periyappuram, C. M. I.
    Edtapus Malayalam Version Abel CMIEdtapus Malayalam Version Abel CMI
10a

Etha pus lek baslaamma (Syriac Version)- Funeral services for priests


Syriac version Sung by Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016) Recorded on 3 September 2011 at Old Cathedral Church, Pala, Kerala, India

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.

10b

Wita wangunnen -(Malayalam Version ) Funeral services for priests

"Wita wangunnen" - (വിട വാങ്ങുന്നെ ) Chant from the funeral services for priests. Malayalam version of the Syriac chant "Etha pus lek" Sung by Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016) Recorded on 3 September 2011 at Old Cathedral Church, Pala, Kerala, India

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

11 Funeral services for priests in the Syro-Malankara church

Chants sung by Fr.Paul Nilackal Thekkethil. Recorded at Oasis Digital Studio, Ranni, Kerala on 18-19 Feb 2012. In this recording, electronic tamburu was used for sruti; in actual service organ, keyboard, or harmonium is used for accompaniment.

12

Gānādhyāpakan

Title: Music Teacher (Book I)
Lyrics and music for :
Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday,Good Friday,
Benediction, Christmas midnight services,
prayers for the beginning and end of the calendar year.
Lyrics: Fr. Abel, C. M. I.
Music: Rafi Jose
Printed at: Mar Louis Memorial Press, Ernakulam, Kerala. 1969.

Gaanaadhyaapakan Gaanaadhyaapakan

 

This book is a valuable addition to the resources for researchers on the Christian music of Kerala, India. It tells the story of the meeting of the musical minds of two great men: Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001) and Mangalappilly M. Jose (d. 2010), popularly known as Rafi Jose. Their collaboration happened in the 1960s at Ernakulam, Kerala. That was the time of transition of the Syro Malabar liturgy from Syriac to Malayalam. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Syriac liturgical texts, Fr. Abel wrote lyrics in Malayalam for the Holy week services, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Christmas midnight service, as well as prayer services for the beginning and end of the calendar year. This was also the time when Fr. Abel pooled the best musical talents in the greater cochin area and formed the Christian Arts club, which eventually would evolve into Kalabhavan. Mangalappiily Jose was one of those gifted musicians; he had already become immensely popular by singing the Hindi film songs of Muhammad Rafi (hence the nickname “ Rafi Jose). Fr. Abel tested his talent as a composer by entrusting the new lyrics to Rafi Jose. Rafi Jose composed captivating melodies to those lyrics that became instantly popular. (These melodies continue to be sung in the Syro Malabar churches until this day). The gramophone company of India published a record that included two of Rafi’s compositions: “thālathil weḷḷameṭuthu” (for Maundy Thursday) as well as “gāgulthā malayil ninnum” (for Good Friday). These soulful melodies were heard from the public address systems of most of the churches in Kerala and became imprinted in the minds of the people of Kerala.

Meanwhile, Fr. Abel and Rafi Jose embarked on an unusual project of publishing this book (printed at Mar Louis Memorial Press at Ernakulam, in 1969) with the lyrics and music of their songs in Western staff notation. The book is a monument to their great talents, their musical collaboration, and their intention to enhance Western musical literacy among musicians in Kerala.

In the absence of an Introduction, we do not know who transcribed the melody in staff notation. To clarify this, I had a telephone conversation with Rex Isaacs (18 August 2016), who was closely associated with Christian Arts Club and, later, Kalabhavan. Rex is a violinist in the Western tradition and comes from a family of musicians. Rex told me that he assisted Rafi Jose in preparing the score of the melodies of “thālathil weḷḷameṭuthu” and “gāgulthā malayil ninnum” as well as the background music for those melodies, before they traveled to Madras (Chennai) for the audio recording at HMV studio. Rex reiterated that the transcriptions that are printed in the book are not his. He thinks that Mr. Patrick David, who knew Rafi Jose, very likely prepared the score that is printed in the book. Rex added that he could not understand the reason for the addition of a bar line after the time signature on the opening staff, and then a measure-long space and bar line at the beginning of subsequent staves. In any case, the score helps us to understand the melody as the composer envisaged it; it also helps us to understand how a great singer like K. J. Yesudas emotes with and interprets the melody, and gives it a different life.

I happened to see the book, by chance, during a visit to the music library at Nadopasana at Thodupuzha, that I started in 1986. This was in the first week of August 2016. While browsing through the collection of recordings and books, Fr. Kurian Puthenpurackal,CMI, the director of Nadopasana brought a set of books from his personal collection. Gānādhyāpakan was one of them. I was overjoyed to see the book, and immediately recognized its historical value. Fr. Puthenpurackal said that he got the book from Fr. John Kachiramattom, CMI several years before. Ironically, this book and its content never came up in my conversation with Fr. Abel, during my three years at Kalabhavan.

The book assumes another layer of importance at the present time. It offers a definitive answer to the recent disputes regarding the authorship of the melody of "gāgulthā malayil ninnum." The dispute arose after the publication of an article (“gāgulthā malayil ninnum”), on Rafi Jose by Shajan C. Mathew in the Sunday edition of Malayala Manorama Daily, on March 27, 2016. In the article, Shajan Mathew cited much evidence to support the authorship of the melody by Rafi Jose Another living composer, however, disputed Shajan’s findings and claimed authorship of the melody. The Christian Musicological Society of India gladly presents the pdf version of the book for the benefit of scholars and journalists as the final proof of the authorship. May the soul of Rafi Jose have the last laugh, and rest in peace!

References
Courtesy
Joseph J. Palackal
www.TheCMSIndia.org
August 18, 2016
13

Dhaṛmagīti

ധർമമഗീതി
Hymnal in Malayalam
Compiled by the staff and students
Dharmaram College, Bangalore
Printed at K. C. M. Press, Ernakulam, 1963
Commercial Movies & Christian Worship in Kerala: A Musical Intersection

This hymnal is a witness to a period (1950s to 1970s) in the history of Christian music in Malayalam, when composers of lyrics looked up to film tunes in Hindi, Malayalam, and to a lesser extent, Tamil, and wrote Christian lyrics to the meters and melodies of popular film songs. These songs reached Kerala through the government sponsored All India Radio.. The hymnal also shows the intersection of commercial movies and Christian worship at this time in Kerala, India.


The hymnal was intended for private use at Dharmaram College, the Seminary of the religious congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculatethat the saintly Palackal Thoma Malpan (1780-1841; my collateral ancestor),Porukara Thoma Malpan (1799-1846), and Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871) founded in 1831 in Kerala. The title of the hymnal takes after the Sanskrit name of the seminary, Dharmārām, which literally means “garden of virtues.” In the 1960s, over two hundred seminarians lived and studied at one point in time at Dharmārām, The hymnal was in use until the 1970s.

There are 133 songs of which 130 are in Malayalam and the other three are Syriac chants printed in Malayalam script. Thesongs are grouped under 12 headings:

  1. Hymns in praise of Jesus: songs 1-38
  2. Hymns in praise of Blessed Virgin Mary: 39-65
  3. Christmas songs: 66-74
  4. To the Holy Spirit: 75-79
  5. To St. Joseph: 80-86
  6. St. Thomas the Apostle: 87-93
  7. St. Theresa of Avila: 94-100
  8. St. John of the Cross: 101-105
  9. St. Theresa of Lisieux: 106-110
  10. The patron saints of different residence buildings of the Seminary
  11. Songs for various occasions:
  • Syriac chants for the Benediction: 117-118
  • Litanies: 120-124 - Stations of the Cross 125
  • Hymns to the Holy Spirit: 126-128
  • Stations of the Cross 125
  • Hymns to the Holy Spirit: 126-128
  • The Lord’s Prayer: 129
  • Hail Mary: 130
  • Hymn to Mary: 131
  • Dedication to the Holy Spirit
12. Malayalam translation of the Latin chant Te Deum: 133

 

The tune is indicated in parenthesis below the title by the opening words of the film song to which the lyrics are written;in some cases, the name of the film in which the song appears is also mentioned. The number of stanzas and the number of verses in each stanza coincide with those of the film song. These songs were not part of the official liturgy of the Syro Malabar Church, they were sung during such paraliturgical services as the Holy Hour (adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), Benediction, prayer gatherings, litanies and novenas to saints.


The hymnal lacks an Introduction. Hence, we have no information on the thought process that went into its preparation and publication.What is conspicuous by its absence are the names of the lyricists. It is possible that a few of those hymns were written by the talented students at the seminary. Some of the hymns were popular among Catholics all over Kerala.
The preparation of the hymnal took place during the time when the Syro Malabar Church was engaged in translating the liturgy from Syriac to Malayalam. The inauguration of the Malayalam version took place on July 3, 1962, one year before the publication of this hymnal. The inclusion of the Syriac chants shows the continuity and comfort level of the worshippers with the Syriac language and chants. Two of the three Syriac chants (117 &118) are translations of the Latin chant Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1244). The third one (65), šlām lēk (“shanti to you (Mary]”) is a chant in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The community used to end the night prayers with a hymn to the Blessed Virgin. This Syriac chant was sung on that occasion..


Interestingly, there is only one instance of using a melody from a Tamil film (38); Tamil is the language of the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. Yet, the Christians in Kerala were more tuned to the film songs in Hindi, the language of the distant north. One reason may be that All India Radio. stations in Kerala gave greater importance to Hindi songs than Tamil songs, and cinema theaters in Kerala screened comparatively more films in Hindi than Tamil .


This hymnal is a case in point for an uncanny musical interface of commercial movies and Christian worship in Kerala. The Catholics were quite comfortable in celebrating their faith by singing secular melodies with their visual connotations. The hymnal also portrays the poetic imagination of a particular period in the history of Christian lyricists in Kerala, and bears a testimony to the theological thinking and prayer vocabulary of the time. Finally, this hymnal documents the names of a number of popular songs and the names of films in which they appear, indicating cross cultural communication within the country.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
1 November 2016

14

Aramaic Grammar Vol I & II

(Approved by the University of Kerala)

By Rev. Fr. Thomas Arayathinal, M. O. L.

Printed at St. Joseph's Press, Mannanam, Kerala, India. 1957

 

 
15

The Syriac Manuscripts in Mannanam Library

Paper Presented

by

Fr. Emmanuel Thelly C.M.I.

in the

Symposium Syriacum VIII

Eighth International Congress of Syriac Studies

held at

University of Sydney, Australia

on 26th , 27th June 2000

NOTE: Fr. Emmanuel Thelly, C. M. I. (1925-2015) was kind enough to give me this copy of the paper that he presented at the Symposium Syriacum VIII, Eigh-th International Congress for Syriac Studies, held at the University of Sydney, Australia from June 26 to 30, 2000. Fr. Thelly spent innumerable hours at the archive at St. Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam to gather the information that is presented here. This is a golden treasure for researchers on an array of topics, ranging from language and linguistics to music and history. I hope these manuscripts are still intact at the archive. Recently, the monastery has decided to digitize the materials at the Archive and make them public. That will be a great boon to scholars around the world. I cherish the sacred memory of Fr. Thelly, who helped me immensely during research for my doctoral dissertation on Syriac chants at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and pray for his continuous blessings on the Aramaic Project and anyone who is involved in Syriac studies.

 

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
27 April 2017

16

The wedding Songs of the Cochin Jews

and of the

Knanite Christians of Kerala:

A Study in Comparison.

Prof. P. M. Jussay

17

Āghōshamāya Slīwāppātha

(Malayalam, solemn Stations of the Cross)

By

Br. Jose L. Mawunkal

Songs and prayers for the fourteen Stations of the Cross in Malayalam First edition, 1929

Printed at the Jubilee Memorial Presss Seminary-Puthenpally, Varappuzha.

Slīwāppātha

സ്ലീവാപ്പാഥ

This is the original edition (1929) of one of the most popular versions of the Stations of the Cross in Malayalam. The 32-page booklet (6.4” X 3.8”) contains hymns, prayers, and meditative reflections on each of the fourteen Stations, written by late Fr. Joseph Mawunkal, a member of the Arch-diocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, in Kerala. At the time of publication, the author was a seminarian, identified as Jose L. Mawunkal, at Puthenpally, Varappuzha. The work received a warm reception from the Catholic Keralites because of its high literary and poetic qualities. Until the 1970s, this was the most popular Stations of the Cross among the Syro Malabar and the Latin Catholics in Kerala. Even today, several communities continue to use this version, with slight change of words in the opening stanza. The words kṛūšum thāngi-pōya took the place of kḷēšāwaha- māya, and fit well into the melody. Fr. Mawunkal composed the lyrics to the meter and melody of two songs that were already popular among the Catholics in Kerala: Dēwēšā yēšuparā or īšoyē enpithāwē. The opening words of these songs are indicated above the first stanza,in brackets. It is possible that these two songs were modelled after popular Hindi movie songs. Writing lyrics to popular melodies from Hindi movies was prevalent until the 1960s. See many more examples in another Malayalam hymnal, Dhaṛmagīti (see no. 13 under Resources for Researchers The title of the booklet deserves attention. It is a combination of the Syriac word slīwā (Cross) and the Malayalam word pātha (way) according to the rules of the Malayalam syntax. Although Syriac literacy was already on the path of decline among the laity in the first quarter of the twentieth century, many Syriac words remained in the vernacular prayer vocabulary. More importantly, the centuries-long presence of the Syriac language in the region created the comfort level of the Syriac Christians in formulating phrases that combined Syriac and Malayalam words. This is but one example. The advertisements that appear on the back cover will be of much interest to the historians of Malayalam hymnals and prayer vocabulary in Kerala. The first advertisement is for a Malayalam book that contains prayers and songs for the popular devotion of Eucharistic adoration, one hour adoration on the first Fridays of the month as well as forty-hour adoration once a year, in parishes.The advertisement specifically mentions the Syriac and Malayalam versions of the songs for the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. These songs are given in the Malayalam script. It is interesting to know that this book included also Latin chants (Pange Lingua, Tantum Ergo) in the Malayalam script. Personally, I have a vague recollection of my aunt (father’s sister) singing Tantum Ergo from this book at the end of our family prayer. It means that the Syriac Christians were quite comfortable in singing Latin chants (at home) that the Portuguese missionaries introduced in Kerala. We do not know yet if the Latin chants were ever sung in Syro Malabar churches.The second advertisement is for a three-part hymnal that the author edited: Bhakthagānamālika (Garland of Devotional Songs). Part III consists of 73 songs,probably written by Fr. Mawunkal, and Part I was going for a second edition, according to the advertisement. The booklet is also a contemporary witness to the numeric literacy of the Keralites. The page numbers appear in Arabic numerals, whereas the number of the Stations and stanzas appear in the Malayalam numerals. During this transitional period, the Keralites were familiar with both systems of writing the numerals.The Malayalam numerals went out of vogue in the second half of the twentieth century. So, too, the price is given in the name of the local currency (chakṛam and aṇa; later this changed to rūpa and paisa). I hope future researchers will be successful in locating the books that are mentioned on the back cover; they are primary source materials for the musical aspect of the religio-cultural history of Kerala.

Dr. Joseph J. Palackal
New York
14 June 2017

18

Pallikalile Chitraabhasangal

by

George Menacherry

19

Syriac conference letter of invitation

Letter of invitation for the Syriac Conference

at St. Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam, on 27 August 1999

This letter of invitation for the Syriac Conference at St. Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam, on 27 August 1999, is a remarkable document; the conference was in preparation for an audio recording of a selection of melodies from the Syriac music repertory of the Syro Malabar Church. The recording took place at the Monastery chapel, where these melodies reverberated on a daily basis from the middle of the 19th century until 1962. The recording would eventually be published as a CD by PAN records in Netherlands, under the title "Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India,” in 2002. The CD became a landmark in the history of Christian music in India. This happened to be the first commercial release of Syriac chants from the East Syriac tradition of the Syro Malabar Church. Surprisingly, the CD became a commercial success, went into three reprints, and found a place in many libraries around the world.

After spending a few hours of discussions, Fr. Antony Vallavanthara, CMI (1942-2008), who was a zealous promoter of the Syriac heritage, drafted the letter, which was sent to a selected group of CMI priests who were either Syriac scholars or singers. The participants included such significant personalities as Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001) and Fr. Emmanuel Thelly (1925-2015), CMI. The purpose of the conference was to determine which melodies should be recorded. An audio recording of this workshop has survived; it will be posted later. Contrary to my expectation, the participants were very enthusiastic and the discussions were vibrant.

The closing paragraph in the letter is noteworthy. Though not a musician, Fr. Vallavanthara, a specialist in the history of the Syro Malabar liturgy , writes like a musicologist; he refers to many musical aspects of the Syriac tradition, including the importance of individual and regional variations of the same melody. Fr. Vallavanthara's words to the prospective participants are remarkable: "It is a very important contribution of yours to the Malabar Church and to "music traditions of the world." Those words were prophetic. May his soul rest in peace, and may he continue to intercede for the success of the Aramaic Project.

 

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
16 January 2018
20

Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara -MALAYALAM CHRISTIAN CLASSICS

  MALAYALAM CHRISTIAN CLASSICS
  • Cassette Title -MALAYALAM CHRISTIAN CLASSICS by George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette
  • Year of Release - 1986
  • Genre - Christian Classical Muusc (Karnatic)
  • Produced by - Chavara Cultural Center

 

21

Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara -Christian Classical Music Concert

  Christian Classical Music Concert
  • Cassette Title - Christian Classical Music Concert
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal),
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Cassette
  • Year of Release - 1988
  • Produced by - Nadopasana, Thodupuzha, NC 101
    (with financial support from Sahrudaya Services, S. H. Provincial House, Rajagiri, Kalamassery)

 

22

Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara - SREEYESUKEERTHANAM

  SREEYESUKEERTHANAM
  • Cassette Title -Sreeyesukeerthanam Christian Classical Music Concert by George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal), Nedumangad Sivanandan (Violin), Vaikom Gopakumar (Mridangam), Vaikom Ajithkumar (Ghatam), Bipin (Tamburu)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette (Side A -(3Tracks) + Side B -(4Tracks)
  • Date of Release - 8-July-2000
  • Genre - Christian Classical Music
  • Produced by - Christian Musicological Society of India (CMSI) CM 101

 

23

Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara- NIDANTHA SNEHAM

  NIDANTHA SNEHAM
  • Cassette Title Nidantha Sneham Christian Classical Music by George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal), Peroor Jayaprakash (Violin), Vaikom Gopakumar (Mridangam), Vaikom Ajithkumar (Ghatam)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette
  • Year of Release -2006
  • Genre - Christian Classical Music (Karnatic)
  • Produced by - Cochin Arts and Communications (CAC)

 

24

Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara - SREE RANJINI

  SREE RANJINI
  • Cassette Title - Sree Ranjini Mariakeerthanangal by Vidwan Sri George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal), Thirunalloor Ajithkumar(Violin), Vaikom Gopakumar (Mridangam), Vaikom Ajithkumar (Ghatam)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette
  • Year of Release -2008
  • Genre - Christian Devotional Songs (Marian Devotional Songs)
  • Produced by - Cochin Arts and Communications (CAC)

 

The following items may be useful for future researchers on various aspects of Christian music in India.

If you have any comments on any item, or if you know about an item that should be included here, please contact Joseph J. Palackal at (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 

Research Listings | Resources for Researchers | Research Recordings

Research Listings

  1. Palackal, Joseph J. The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India. In The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities, edited by Jonathan Dueck and Suzel A. Reily. Oxford University Press. (Forthcoming).Abstract
  2. Palackal, Joseph J. Documenting the Last Remnants of the Aramaic Language and Music among the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Kerala, India. Project in progress. Description
  3. Palackal, Joseph J. Music & Colour: Oktoechos of the Orthodox Christians in Kerala. Sponsor: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C. Work in progress
  4. Zoe, Sherinian C. 2013. Tamil Folk Music as Dalit Liberation Theology. Indiana University Press.
  5. Palackal, Joseph J. 2013. Qurb&#257n&#257 ("Offering"): The Eucharistic Celebration of the Syro-Malabar Church.
  6. Heath, Joanna. An Exploration of the Christian Music of the Indigenous Mizo People of Mizoram, India. Durham University, UK. Adviser: Martin Clayton. Research in progress at the Academy of Integrated Christian Studies, Aizawl, India.
  7. Mamoottil Paily, George. 2011. West Syriac Musical Tradition of Beth Gazo in India with Music Notation. Ph. D. dissertation. International Faculty of Syriac Studies, SEERI. Kottayam, Kerala, India.
  8. Morehouse, Katherine, H. 2011. Perspectives on the Uses and Functions of Chenta Ensembles in the Religious Festival Processions of Kerala, India. Doctoral thesis. Graduate School of the University of Maryland (USA). Advisory committee: J. Lawrence Witzleben (Chair), Joseph J. Palackal, et al.
  9. George, Wilson. 2008. Promoting the Use of South Indian Christian Music for Faith Formation Among Indian Christians. Doctoral thesis. The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
    Advisor: Donald Heet. ProQuest ID: 1453211581 `.
  10. Robinson, Scott. Singing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land: Music in the South Indian Churches of Philadelphia. IV(3), Ethnodoxology.
  11. Palackal, Joseph J. and Thaila, George. 2007. Solemn High Mass of the Syro-Malabar Church. [Musical setting of the English version of Mass in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church; CD with 16-page booklet, 7 photographs, music example, and bibliography; soloists: Joseph J. Palackal, Feba Thoyalil, and Marianne Thaila; recorded at Martin's Digital, Queens, New York] Chicago: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago. (SMC 101 - 2007). Review : Paul D. Greene, Ethnomusicology, vol. 54, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 2010), p. 360. Library catalogs
  12. Palackal, Joseph J., Thaila, George, and Kurisingal, Dennis. 2007. Qurb&#257n&#257: Solemn High Mass of the Syro-Malabar Church. Music Notation [16 melodies for Mass in Western staff notation with chordal accompaniment; illustrations by Dan Fuller]. Chicago and Aluva: St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago and Christian Musicological Society of India.
  13. Palackal, Joseph J. 2005. Syriac Chant Traditions in South India. A study of the contemporary practice of model melodies of the Chaldean rite in the Syro-Malabar Church, and the oktoechos ("eight voices") of the Antiochene rite in the Orthodox churches. Doctoral thesis. Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Director: Stephen Blum. (ProQuest ID 888835631). Abstract. Proposal.
    Harvard University Library Hollis Catalog : 009961103
    New York Public Library Catalog : 16451420052
  14. Poovathingal, Paul. 2005. Karnatic Music and Christianity. A critical study of the influence of Karnatic music on the Christian music of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Doctoral thesis. University of Madras, Chennai. Director: Karaikudi S. Subramanian.
  15. Sherinian, Zoe C. 2005. The Indigenization of Tamil Christian Music: Musical Style and Liberation Theology. The World of Music, vol. 47, no. 1, pp. 125-165.
  16. Palackal, Joseph J. 2005. Kerala, Kochi, Trivandrum. Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, vol. 5: Asia and Oceania, edited by John Shepherd, et al. London and New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, pp. 91-92, 104-105, 117-118.
  17. Palackal, Joseph J. 2004. Oktoechos of the Syrian Orthodox Churches in South India. Ethnomusicology, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 229-250. Abstract. Read full article here: PDF
  18. Palackal, Joseph J. 2004. Interface Between History and Music in the Christian Context of South India. [A survey of the musical history of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, India, shows the mutuality of musical and historical inquiries in which musicological discourse assumes a significant role as a tool in historiography] Christianity and Native Cultures: Perspectives From Different Regions of the World. Cyriac Pullapilly, et al., eds. Notre Dame, Indiana: Cross Cultural Publications, pp. 150-161. PDF
  19. Palackal, Joseph J. 2003. Kudumba praarthanayum bhajana gaanangalum [Family Prayer and Bhajan Songs] [Fr. Proksh SVD (1904-1986) was one of the pioneers in adapting the bhajan style of music in Catholic worship in India. In the 1960s, Dharmaram College and the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Center (NBCLC), Bangalore, gave leadership in creating an "Indian liturgy" that adapted Hindu terminologies and Indian classical music. Although Indian liturgy has lost popularity, Christian bhajans continue to have currency among the Catholics in Kerala.] Kudumbadeepam (March 2003), pp. 6-8, 14. Language: Malayalam.
  20. Palackal, Joseph J. 2002. Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India. CD with 29 chants, 16-page booklet in English, map, 7 photographs, and bibliography. Chants in Syriac (Aramaic) from the Chaldean liturgy of the Syro-Malabar Church of the St. Thomas Christians. Includes chants from the liturgy of the Hours, Raza, funeral services, Syriac translation of Latin chants by St.Thomas Aquinas, and chants for special occasions such as wedding and celebration of the feast of the Blessed Virgin and saints. Performers include Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001), Fr. Probus Perumalil, CMI, et al. Recorded in Kerala, South India, in 1999 and 2000. (PAN 2085). Library catalogs & Reviews
  21. Sherinian, Zoe C. 2002. Dalit Theology in Tamil Christian Folk Music: A Transformative Liturgy by James Theophilus Appavoo. Popular Christianity in India: Riting Between the Lines. Selva Raj and Corinne Dempsey, eds. Albany: SUNY Press, pp. 233-253.
  22. Vallavanthara, Antony. 2001. The Liturgical Contributions of Blessed Chavara. Article
  23. Palackal, Joseph J. 2001. India: Christian Music. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edn., vol. 12, edited by Stanley Sadie, John Tyrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, pp. 233-34, 237.
  24. Palackal, Joseph J. 2001. Mando. [A composite genre of poetry, music, and dance, popular among the Catholics of Goa and the neighboring regions of the west coast of India]. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edn., vol. 15, edited by Stanley Sadie, John Tyrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, pp. 736-37.
  25. Palackal, Joseph J. 2000. Kalayum kraisthawa wiswaasawum: oru bhaaratheeya samwaadam [Art and Christian Faith: an Indian Dialogue] [Christianity in India is believed to be as old as Christianity itself. Yet Christian artists in India, by and large, are reluctant to interpret faith through images inspired by their local cultures. Instead, most Christian families and institutions proudly exhibit pictures of blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus and Mary, painted by European artists. By giving an Indian definition to Christian faith, artists can contribute not only to Catholic Christianity, but also to Indian art.] Sathyadeepam, vol. 74 (November 8, 2000), p. 5. Language: Malayalam.
  26. Palackal, Joseph J. 2000. [Kerala] Christian Musical Traditions. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 944-947.
  27. Review: `The articles on Kerala, by Groesbeck and Palackal, and Sri Lanka, by Sheeran, are two of the very best in the entire encyclopedia.'
    -- Wolf, Richard K. 2004. Book Review: Alison Arnold, ed., The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, Ethnomusicology, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 278-283.
  28. Palackal, Joseph J. 2000. [Kerala] Jewish Music. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 948-949.Review: `The articles on Kerala, by Groesbeck and Palackal, and Sri Lanka, by Sheeran, are two of the very best in the entire encyclopedia.'
    -- Wolf, Richard K., Book Review: Alison Arnold, ed., The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, Ethnomusicology, vol. 48, no. 2, pp. 278-283.
  29. Sardo, Susana. 2000. Goa. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 735-741.
  30. Sherinian, Zoe C. 2000. [Tamil Nadu] Christian Music. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 5: South Asia: the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Alison Arnold. New York and London: Garland Publishing, pp. 921-927. Cvf
  31. Palackal, Joseph J. 1999. Problems and Issues in the Study of the Syriac Chant Traditions in South India. [The St. Thomas Christians in India continue to preserve the Chaldean and Antiochene liturgies and chants in Syriac (Aramaic) that originated in the Middle East. The richness and the diversity in these chant traditions demand more scholarly attention than what they received in the past. A history of Indian music may be incomplete without the history of Syriac chants.] Christian Orient, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 176-81.
  32. Palackal, Joseph J. 1999. Sangeethawum sabhaacharitrawum gaweshana weekshanathil [Music and Church History: Research Perspectives] [Musical memories handed down from generation to generation through oral transmission among Christians in Kerala preserve the stories of cultural and religious interactions between South India, the Middle East, and Europe.] Sathyadeepam, vol. 73 (August 18, 1999), pp. 5, 11. Language: Malayalam.
  33. Sherinian, Zoe C. 1998. The Indigenization of Tamil Christian Music: Folk Music as a Liberative Transmission System. Doctoral thesis. Wesleyan University, Connecticut. Director: Mark Slobin. (ProQuest ID: 737021961). Abstract.
  34. Palackal, Joseph J. 1995. Puthen paana: A Musical Study. An analysis of the intercultural processes that influenced the singing styles of Puthen paana, an eighteenth-century Malayalam poem by John Earnest Hanxleden, in the historical context of Christianization and religious colonization in South India. Master's thesis. Hunter College-CUNY. Director: Barbara L. Hampton. (ProQuest ID: 740455261). Abstract.
    New York Public Library Catalog : 13627824052
  35. Barboza, Francis P. 1990. Christianity in Indian Dance Forms. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.
  36. Choondal, Chummar. 1988. Christian Folklore. Vol. I. Thrissur: Kerala Folklore Academy.
  37. Palackal, Joseph J. and Ephraim, Indumathi. 1985. Kristu Sahasra Naamam [Thousand Names of Christ] [Selections from the Sanskrit poem of the same title by I. C. Chacko, Illiparambil, composed in semi-classical style.] Pre-recorded cassette. FDMIC 210. Deccan Records, Bangalore. Text: I. C. Chacko, Illiparambil. Music: Anto Amarnad, CMI. Lead singers: Joseph Palackal and Indumathi Ephraim. Accompanying booklet with transliteration and English translation of the text by Francis Vineeth, CMI.
  38. Palackal, Joseph J. 1980. Aaraadhanakramatthil sangeethatthinulla sthaanam [The Role of Music in Liturgy] [The ancient Syriac (Aramaic) chant tradition is one of the identity markers of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, India. Preservation of these chants should go hand in hand with adaptation of Indian classical and semi-classical styles of music in liturgy.] St. Mary's Forane Church Souvenir, Pallippuram, India, pp. 71-77. Language: Malayalam.
  39. Palackal, Joseph J. 1979. Christian Bhajans. Long Play (LP) Record. LDEC 102. Deccan Records, Bangalore. 12 bhajans in Malayalam. Principal vocalist: Joseph Palackal. Chorus singers: Sunny Mampilly, Molly Madathiparambil, Jacintha Jose. Liner notes: Thomas Aykara, CMI. Cover design: Joy Elamkunnapuzha, CMI. Recorded at HMV Studios, Gemini, Madras, April 12-13, 1978.
  40. Palackal, Joseph J. 1977. Kristeeya gaanangal [Christian Songs]. 45-RPM Extended Play (EP) Record. EDEC 1002. Deccan Records, Bangalore. 3 Christian devotional songs in Malayalam. Solo vocalist: Joseph Palackal. Lyrics: Cherian Kunianthodath CMI. Music: K. J. Joy. Liner notes: A. Mathias Mundadan, CMI. Recorded at HMV Studio, Gemini, Madras.

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Description Links
1

Marriage Customs and Songs of the Syrian Christians of Malabar by Dr. P. J. Thomas

For a digital copy of the book please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2

Dewaalya geethangal (Malayalam, Church hymns), edited by Fr. Basselios of St. Theresa, T. O. C. D.

 

.Printed at St. Mary's Press, Elthuruth (1902). 172 pages (10 cms x 15 cms). The book contains text of Syriac hymns for various occasions, for the use of the church choir. A large number of hymns are translations of Latin chants that were composed anew in Kerala. Names of translators and composers of the melodies are unknown. The text is printed in Malayalam script, indicating that Syriac literacy was on the wane among the lay people in the Syro-Malabar Church, by the end of the 19th century.

Dewalaya Geethangal Elthuruth 1902    
3

Manuscript of Syriac chants in staff notation by Fr.Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I.

  Fr. Aiden Kulathinal

Copied in 1948 from an earlier manuscript (now lost) by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I., at St. Theresa’s Monastery at Ampazhakkadu, Kerala. So far as we know, this manuscript contains the earliest transcriptions of model melodies from the liturgy of the Hours in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church, India. The 27 pages are divided into three sections: pages 1-14 contain 51 Syriac melodies from the Hours; pages 15-19 consist of notation of what looks like Western melodies (to be verified) without text underlay; and pages 20-27 contain Marian litanies in Latin with Syriac translation. The Syriac texts are written in Malayalam script. The original copy is at the library at Acharaya Palackal Jeevass Kendram, Aluva, Kerala. See more details in Palackal 2005, pp. 134-135.

Letter written by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I. to Joseph. J. Palackal.

manuscript of syriac chants in staff notation manuscript of syriac chants in staff notation  
4

The Syriac-Malayalam Hymnal, edited by Rev.Saldanha A, S. J.

  Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore, for the Cathedral Church, Calicut, in 1937. Pp. 27 + 181 + x + v. Part I: Syriac chants of the solemn high mass of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala (text transliterated in Malayalam, music in Western staff notation). Part II: Malayalam devotional songs in Western staff notation. This is the first publication of Syriac melodies in staff notation in India. Probably, these melodies were composed in Kerala. The Preface (in English and Malayalam, pp. 9-18) by Rev. Saldanha is quite informative, among other things, on the status Christian music in Kerala in the first quarter of the twentieth century. See Foreword, Preface, and Table of Contents The Syriac Malayalam Hymnal  

 

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