Aramaic Project No. 140 to 131 - Interviews and Performances - Video List

No. [140 [139] [138] [137] [136] [135] [134] [133] [132] [131]
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Aramaic Project Number Description Duration Date and place of Recording Video
140

A Golden treasure from Fr. George Plathottam: Syriac chants from the Office .

This recording is a precious gift that Fr. George Plathottam (1933-2016), a saintly priest and zealous singer of Syriac chants, has bequeathed to the Syro Malabar Church and the intangible cultural heritage of the world. Fr. Plathottam knew that in the not-so-distant future, the clergy in the Syro Malabar Church would not be able to sing the liturgical chants in the original language, Syriac. He thought to himself that someone among the clergy would be curious to know how these chants sounded in Syriac. With that goal in view, Fr. Plathottam trained two of his disciples who were seminarians at that time, Cyril Thayil and Joseph Kizhakkekkutt, to sing Syriac chants along with him. This recording (2007) is the result of that prophetic move. Fr. Cyril Thayyil was kind enough to share this recording for the benefit of the Aramaic Project enthusiasts. There are two parts in this recording. Part I (00:01 to 16:48) consists of the original Syriac chant texts and melodies from the funeral services of laymen. They are useful for general listeners to feel the sound of the words that the previous generations listened frequently. For scholars, these texts are helpful for a comparative study of the Syriac and current Malayalam versions (the melodies of both versions are the same). Part II (17:00 to 59:33) opens with the concluding prayers (Huthamma) of the requiem Qurbana and continues with the Malayalam version of the Syriac chants from the funeral services for priests in the Syro Malabar Church . It is an honor for the Christian Musicological Society of India to preserve the singing voice of a saintly son of the Syro Malabar Church for future generations to listen, pray, learn, and enjoy. I regret that I did not videotape an interview him. We did, however, document Fr. Plathottam's solemn celebration of Syriac Qurbana in 2006 (see Aramaic Project-70) May Fr. Plathottam’s soul rest in peace, knowing that we are eternally grateful to him.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
15 July 2019
1: 01 : 04

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140A

Text and Melody of Ermarmmak (Fr. George Plathottam)

This is, probably, the most familiar Syriac melody to the Syro Malabar Catholics. The present generation knows it through the Malayalam version of this chant, Mahimayotanthima widhi naalil" (Fr. Abel Periyappuram). Here is the chant in its original Syriac text. We are grateful to Fr. George Plathottam for creating this recording.

4:45

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140B Chanting style of Slotha (Fr. George Plathottam) 2:39

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140C Melody of Qambel Maran (Fr. George Plathottam) 4:37

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

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140D Psalms (Fr. George Plathottam) from the Office for the dead 5:06

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140E Chanting style of Slotha (oration) in Syriac 2:17

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140F Puqdankon (requiem melody) 1:24

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140G Slotha (oration). Fr. George Plathottam 3:59

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140H Huthama (Concluding prayers) from Requiem Qurbana. Fr. Plathottam 5:09

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140I Nrupanaam Misiha. From the funeral service. Fr. Plathottam 5:26

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140J Walsala Janame. From funeral service for priests. Fr. Plathottam 2:06

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140K Unnatha Wanitame. Funeral service. Fr. Plathottam 3:28

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140L "Mruthiyute nadam." Funeral service for priests. Fr. Plathottam 4:19

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140M Anthimayaathra' funeral services for priests. Fr. Plathottam 2:13

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140N Witawangunnen." Funeral services for priests. Fr. Plathottam 8:22

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140O "Witawangunnen naswaramulakil." funeral precession. Fr. Plathottam  

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140P "Anayunniso." Funeral services. Syro Malabar. Fr. George Plathottam 8:07

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140Q "Parishudhanmar." Funeral services. Fr. George Plathottam 2:31

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

140R "Nadhananjitumanthima Nalil." Funeral services. Fr. Plathottam 2:17

Diocesan Communication Center,Pala

April 2007

139

Pappootty Master and Bennedy Anikkad: rare melodies and memories - Part II

Note This interview captures rare melodies and memories from two Syriac Church musicians who have been active for over sixty years. Even after vernacularization of the Syro Malabar liturgy, Papootty master and Benedy Anikkad have been singing and playing for solemn Qurbana in Syriac. During this interview, Papootty master and Benedy sang several melodies that are known only to them. They learned these melodies from late Fr. George Nellikkat. Fr. Nellikkatt taught them the songs that the Syriac choir used to sing at St. Joseph’s Seminary at Mangalappuzha, Aluva. The St. Joseph’s seminary was a place of significant Syriac music activity in the first half of the twentieth century. Fr. Mathew Vadakel, a singer, professor, scholar of the Syriac language and composer of Syriac melodies, was active at the Seminary during this period. Fr. Paul Kodamullil mentioned Fr. Vadakel’s name during our interview ( see Aramaic Project-3). The melody of Laku mara and Qandisa alaha that Fr. Paul sings is the same as that we hear in this video. Fr. Paul attributed those melodies to Fr. Mathew Vadakel. We are grateful to Papootty Master and Benedy for sitting through a lengthy interview. Because of the length of the interview, we thought it convenient to publish it in two parts. We wish Papootty Master and Benedy many more active years to serve the Syro Malabar Church.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
15 July 2019<
35: 33

Athirampuzha, Kottayam

31 July 2018

138 Pappootty Master and Benedy Anikkad: Rare melodies and memories- Part I

Note This interview captures rare melodies and memories from two Syriac Church musicians who have been active for over sixty years. Even after vernacularization of the Syro Malabar liturgy, Papootty master and Benedy Anikkad have been singing and playing for solemn Qurbana in Syriac. During this interview, Papootty master and Benedy sang several melodies that are known only to them. They learned these melodies from late Fr. George Nellikkat. Fr. Nellikkatt taught them the songs that the Syriac choir used to sing at St. Joseph’s Seminary at Mangalappuzha, Aluva. The St. Joseph’s seminary was a place of significant Syriac music activity in the first half of the twentieth century. Fr. Mathew Vadakel, a singer, professor, scholar of the Syriac language and composer of Syriac melodies, was active at the Seminary during this period. Fr. Paul Kodamullil mentioned Fr. Vadakel’s name during our interview ( see Aramaic Project-3). The melody of Laku mara and Qandisa alaha that Fr. Paul sings is the same as that we hear in this video. Fr. Paul attributed those melodies to Fr. Mathew Vadakel. We are grateful to Papootty Master and Benedy for sitting through a lengthy interview. Because of the length of the interview, we thought it convenient to publish it in two parts. See the second part at Aramaic Project-139 . We wish Papootty Master and Benedy many more active years to serve the Syro Malabar Church.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
15 July 2019<
42:29

Athirampuzha, Kottayam

31 July 2018

137

Syriac chants during the wedding at Dallas, USA: Denny & Neena

This video is yet another example of how young Syro Malabar Catholics, who are born and raised in the USA. Denny and Neena felt comfortable in incorporating three Syriac chants into the wedding ceremony. The choir members, under the leadership of Jones Kalarickal, was had already mastered these songs. The choir also did something innovative. They sand the Holy Holy Holy in Syriac. The celebrant sang his part in Malayalam. This is the first time we hear a bilingual Holy. The transition from Malayalam to Syriac sounded smooth. Such bold experiments have far-reaching effects in reclaiming the Syriac heritage. Earlier, Tensen Kalarickal made history by organizing a complete Syriac Qurbana with the help of this choir in the Syro Malabar Cathedral in Chicago (see Aramaic Project-100.) The congregations in the Chicago-Dallas areas are getting used to the sounds and melodies in Syriac. We are grateful to Tensen Kalarickal and his team in taking the initiative.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
18 June 2019
9:57

Syro Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Dallas

11 May. 2019

137A

Bilingual Holy, Holy, Holy (Malayalam/Syriac), Dallas, USA

JESUS AND THE AMERICAS: A CONNECTION THROUGH THE ARAMAIC LANGUAGE AND MUSIC. See note on Aramaic Project-137.

5:09

Syro Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Dallas

11 May. 2019

136

Bilingual Qurbana at Ukranian Cathedral, London

Festival of Eastern Catholic Churches. Ukranian Catholic Cathedral, Central London, UK. 1 August 2015. Celebrant: Dr. Joseph J. Palackal, CMI. Homilist: Fr. Lonappan Arangassery. Bilingual Qurbana in English and Syriac. Special guest: Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Special thanks to Dr. Martin Antony.

Note: It was, indeed, an honor to receive an invitation to celebrate Syro Malabar Qurbana at the historic cathedral of the Ukranian Catholic Church in Central London. The occasion was the Festival of Eastern Catholic Churches. Bishop Hlib gave us a warm welcome. Beside the Qurbana, the program for the day included the screening of my DVD, Kerala: the Cradle of Christianity in India. I was invited to make a presentation on the Syriac heritage of the St. Thomas Christians in India. We decided to sing two Syriac chants during Qurbana. This was the first time the sound of this ancient language reverberated inside the wall of this great Church. It was a new experience for the parishioners

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
13 June, 2019
1:21:29

Ukranian Catholic Cathedral, Central London, UK

1 August 2015

 

136A

Syriac chants at the Ukranian Catholic Cathedral, London

During bilingual Qurbana (Syriac/ English). Part of the Festival of Eastern Catholic Churches. 1August 2015. Special thanks to Dr. Martin Antony Special thanks to Dr. Martin Antony See more details in the note on Aramaic Project-136

4:00

Ukranian Catholic Cathedral, Central London, UK

1 August 2015

135

Bilingual Qurbana in New Jersey, USA

Bilingual Qurbana in English and Syriac on the occasion of the celebration of the parish feast of St. George Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. Celebrant: Rev. Dr. Joseph J. Palackal, CMI. Concelebrants: Fr. Thomas Mangatt, Vicar and Fr. Roby Kannanchira, CMI. 15 May 2019.

This video is an indication that the conversation on the Syriac heritage is gaining momentum among the young members of the Syro Malabar Church in the USA. This year, the celebration of the parish feast of St. George Syro Malabar Catholic Church took place under the auspices of the youth group. Aimee George, the chor direcctor of the youth group suggested the idea of inviting me to celebrate the solemn Qurbana in English that I cocomposed. She also suggested the idea of incorporating a few Syriac chants. Fr.Thomas Mangatt, the Vicar, approved both ideas. The choir had already learned the melodies of the English version of the Qurbana. Aimee taught the choir the Syriac chants. I was surprised to see the choir singing comfortably the Syriac chants. The Congregation sang along with the members of the choir. And the transition from chants in one language to the other and the orations (slotha) and the chants went smooth. The idea of bilingual (English/Syriac) Qurbana is gaining attention from the American- born Syro Malabar Catholics as a means to reclaim the identity of their forefathers. If this trend catches on, the nature of the Syro Malabar liturgy might change considerably in the near future. I would like to express my gratitude to Aimee George for taking an initiative that so much in tune with the goals of the Aramaic Project as well as the Christian Musicological Society of India.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
12 June 2019
10:43

St. George Syro Malabar Catholic Church
Paterson, New Jersey,
USA

15-May, 2019

134

Sagdinan mar" in Toronto, Canada

The Presbyterate of the Syro Malabar Exarchate ( Diocese as of Mary 25) sings the Christological Hymn "Sagdinan mar"

Note: The diocese invited me to teach the priests the melodies of the English version of our Qurbana that i co-composed. I used the occasion to teach a few Syriac chants, too. The Bishop and priests went along with the idea. Once the priests learned about the Christological and historical significance of the chant, they became enthusiastic. On the last day, we decided to sing it before my return to New York. This is the best compliment they could give me. The event shows that Syriac may have a chance to survive. Thanks be to God. Maar Walaah! Our own Thoma Sliha must be jumping with joy in heaven.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
3 June 2019

2:01

St. Alphonsa Syro Malabar Catholic Cathedral , Toronto, Canada

04 October, 2018

133

Syriac chants at Carmel Hill Monastery (OCD), Trivandrum

Note: This video represents a new development in the history of the Syriac language in India. The leaders of the Carmel Hill Philosophical College in Trivandrum that belongs to the Kerala Province of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites (OCD) decided to introduce Syriac language and music in the curriculum. Accordingly, they invited me to spend a day teaching Syriac songs to the students. Surprisingly, i found the students very enthusiastic. We focused on three chants that they easily mastered. It was indeed a new experience to listen to these chants in the male choral voice of the young and enthusiasitc seminarians. The idea of introducing the students to the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church originated in the mind of Fr. Dr. Varghese Kurisuthara, OCD, the Rector of the Damasceno College in Rome. Dr. Kurisuthara invited me to conduct a one-day seminar on the topic at the College, in March, 2017. Impressed by the day's events, Dr. Kurisuthara contacted Fr. Antony Attuthundiyil and Fr. Patrick OCD at Carmel Hill Monastery. They whole heartedly accepted the suggestion. I am grateful to both priests for their warm welcome. Let us hope this will be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Aramaic language in India.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
1 June 2019

10:15

Carmel Hill Philosophical College,
Trivandrum

6-August ,2018

132

Syriac chants from bilingual Qurbana at Jubilee mass

Bilingual Syro Malabar Qurbana (English/Syriac) at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Maspeth, NY. On the occasion of the celebration of 40th anniversary of Ordination of Fr. Joseph Palackal, CMI. 28 April 2019.

Note. The sound and melodies of Syriac chants from the Syro Malabar Church are becoming a part of the religious experience of Americans. The parishioners welcomed the idea of celebrating my anniversary with Syro Malabar Qurbana in English. They welcomed my suggestion to add a Syriac element to the Qurbana. They enthusiastically learned the melodies. This was a new experience for the choir as well as the congregation. One participant commented that she felt as though she was in Israel. Incidentally, it was during my trip to the Holy Land that I got the inspiration to resucitate the East Syriac language and melodies of the Syro Malabar Church. The Parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka initially funded the Aramaic Project whcih took a life of its own. Seven years later, the Project is in full swing. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the parishioners and all who have been supporting this project

Joseph Palackal, CMI
New York
27 May 2019

7:58

 

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Maspeth, New York

28 April 2019

132A

Puqdankon during bilingual Qurbana at St. Stans, New York

Bilingual Syro Malabar Qurbana (English/Syriac) at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Maspeth, NY. On the occasion of telebration of the 40th anniversary of Ordination of Fr. Joseph Palackal, CMI. 28 April 2019. The choir is led by Eileen Hayes. See full video

2:12

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Maspeth, New York

28 April 2019

132B

Qandiśā Alāhā during bilingual Qurbana at St. Stans, New York

Bilingual Syro Malabar Qurbana (English/Syriac) at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Maspeth, NY. On the occasion of telebration of the 40th anniversary of Ordination of Fr. Joseph Palackal, CMI. 28 April 2019. The choir is led by Eileen Hayes.

3:30

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Maspeth, New York

28 April 2019

131

Fr George Vithayathil sings "Witawangunnen" from funeral service for priests

Fr. George Vithaythil, Vicar, St. Francis Assisi Church, Athani, sings "Witawangunnen," from the funeral services for priests in the Syro Malabar Church. Malayalam version of the Syriac chant "Etha puslek," by Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI.

Note: We are trying to post as many examples of this unique song for the sake of future scholars who want to study the history of transmission and for a comparative study of melodic variations. Melodies of these and other similar songs existed only in oral transmission. SIngers often added their own ornamentations, depending on their musicality and vocal flexibility. What is interesting is that the melody of the Malayalam version is almost the same as that of the Syriac version. Both the Malayalam version, as well as the original Syriac text and melody, are musical treasures of the Syro Malabar Church.

Joseph Palackal, CMI
New York
27 May 2019

2:50

St. Francis Assisi Church, Athani

22 May, 2018