This is a portrait of Fr. George Chachan, who is considered as one of the greatest Assyrian music composers. Born in 1950 in Qamishli with roots in Arbo, Turabdin.
He began his music studies playing saxophone in the early 1960’s under the teacher Hasan al-Turk. George continued with violin playing with friends, among them Joseph Malke and Elias Dawud, under the direction of the composer Gabriel Assad at the Cultural Center in Qamishli mid 1960’s.
In August 1969, at the age of 19, he recorded his first seven songs with the singer Jalil Mailo. These songs were among the first recorded in the Western mother tongue Surayt. The classic ”Bayto shafiro latli” originates from this first album. In total, he recorded 17 songs with Jalil Mailo 1969-72. In 1975 he released a critically acclaimed album with songs sung by Jan Karat, Yusef Afram, Farid Yusef, Elias Domet Karam, with classics such as ”Lebi kkoyuw”, ”B tad’o cabirina”, ”Hesh ono zcuro”.
These songs are special songs as they are mushḥotho (mwashshaḥat), a theme discussed in the program. Chachan have also composed music for other singers such as Samaan Zakaria, Aziz Saliba, Elias Yusef Gawriye, among others. Fr. George Chachan is one of the few composers who notate his songs. He have notated the Beth Gazo according to the Turabdin school, but remains unpublished till now. Fr. George Chachan is the priest of Mor Gewargis church in Norsborg, Sweden, since 1997. The program is led by the singer and composer Sardanapal Asaad, who was encouraged by Fr. George Chachan himself to begin with music in early 1970’s.
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