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Geroges Chachan

Father Georges Chachan

Father Georges Chachan was born in Kamishli 1950. He studied the occidental music at Mr. Hassan El Tourk and the oriental music at deceased Malfono Gabriel Assad.

During a wedding feast in Kamishli in 1963, a man with a wineglass full of money on his head came to Georges Chachan and Joseph Malki who were playing music in the feast and said: “If you sing a syriac folksong for me you’ll get this wineglass with the money”. Chachan and Malki were astonished and couldn’t play other than Gabriel Asaad’s “Motho rhimto nisho dil”. After a while the same man came with another wineglass full with money asking them to sing another song, but unfortunately there wasn’t any other Syriac folksong at that time. This event pushed Chachan forward to create with others a Syriac folksong.

In 1968 he began his musical studies at the higher institute of music at the University of Damascus and was graduated with B.A degree in music in 1971. Chachan worked as music teacher for a period of 25 years in Kamishli. As a teacher of music he could plant interest to Syriac music in the hearts of the young generation that was studying in Kamishli at that time.

In 1969, when he was still student, Chachan composed seven songs that constituted his first cassette sang by the later priest Galil Maiilo. At that time there were neither studios nor musicians in Kamishli to record new songs, so Chachan decided to record the new songs at Hanna Mesheké’s (Hadodo) house, which has a location in a forest in Kamishli, Almost all recordings of that period took place. With the recording of a new song Chachan was obliged to teach a new person playing an instrument in order to help with the recording.

Chachan lived in a poor society; he lived together with his family in a two-rooms house. To be able to concentrate on the composition of music, he used together with Georges Shamoun to tend a noisy stove in order to isolate them from the outer world. Georges Chachan gave all his work without being able to obtain his own musical instrument.

Many of his songs are still used today. ”Bayto shafiro laytli”, “Blilyo imomo”, “Boyawmo dade’no lekh” and “Lman izal églé” are some of his most known songs. Chachan composed many folksongs for choirs. He used the form of the “Andalusian Mowashah” which is a long song that depends on the performance of rhythm according to the syllables and the stresses of the text. This kind of songs has not been repeated since that time because of lack composers who have this knowledge and choirs that are capable to sing such songs.

In 1975 Chachan established a musical band called the “Izla Group” which performed many of his and other composers’ works, even his two last cassettes in 1989, which one of them sang by Elias Karam and the other by Semaan Zakaria. Among the singers who sang Chachan’s melodies are deceased father Galil Maiilo, Naiim Moussa, Farid Youssef, Joseph Afram and Jean Karat.

In 1993 he notated the Beth Gazo “Treasury of Chants of the Syriac Church” according to the school of Turabin, and in 1995 Georges Chachan established the Edessian art foundation in Kamishli. This foundation gathered all the artists in that town in order to preserve and to develop the Syriac cultural works.

Father Georges Chachan is married to Siham Youssef and has three children Ludwig, Verdi and Mariham. In 1997 he became a priest for the Syriac Orthodox Church in Norsborg-Sweden and now on he is active in the field of church music.


 Composed Work

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