Interviews and Performances - Video List
AP 70 to 61

Fr. Mathew Mattam in conversation with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal.

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AP 62 - Fr. Mathew Mattam in conversation with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal.
Call Number

AP 62

Part Number Part I - Syro Malabar Church
Title Fr. Mathew Mattam in conversation with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal.
Duration 1:20:05
Place of Recording The cemetery chapel of the Metropolitan Church, Changanacherry.
Date of Recording 22 July 2016
Youtube URL
Video Segment (s)

AP 62a to 62z and 62aa to 62ff

Fr. Mathew Mattam in conversation with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal

This interview with a seasoned singer of the Syriac chants is an extremely valuable addition to the Aramaic Project.Fr. Mattam is blessed with a steady and resonant voice and, even at the age of 84, have the stamina and the breath control of a well-trained opera singer. He is passionate about singing the Syriac melodies that he started learning from his childhood at his native parish. Later, during his seminary years in the 1950s, at St. Joseph’s Seminary at Mangalappuzha, Aluva, he was fortunate to learn more chants from Fr. Mathew Vadakel, an eminent scholar of the Syriac language and composer of Syriac chants. Fr. Mattam sang about 32 melodies during this interview, including several examples of chanting slōthā (oration) between the sung portions of the Mass. He was willing to keep singing, but myself and the recording crew were exhausted after four hours of recording. Some of his renderings will help scholars to study individual variations of the same melody. A case in point is the melody of the Malayalam version of the chant “Pūš bašlāmā” (see topic no. 33 at 1:33:36). He sings this melody in a slow tempo to evoke the mood of pathos that goes along with the context of this chant at the end of a funeral service at home when the dead body is carried in procession to the cemetery. See also extended discussion on “O Des tamman” (topic no.17 at 39:36). It is a pity that such a resourceful person as Fr. Mattam is not sought after by the seminarians and music students in the Syro Malabar Church. We hope to do a follow up interview to eke out all the melodies that are stored in his brain, especially those melodies that were used in the paraliturgical services. Overall, this interview was a rewarding experience.

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