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Friday, 8 August 2014

Syrian Orthodox Chants, Preserving an Ancient Tradition

Between 2006 and 2010, Jason Hamacher made many trips to Syria to photograph and record ancient chants.

H/T to Rod Dreher, you have to read this and listen to this, here's the transcript.

Jason Hamacher has made some fascinating recordings, and is doing a great service from both a musicological and a spiritual standpoint in doing so. (Pray to God, his recordings will NOT be all that remains of this liturgical music.)

Chant of other traditions fascinates me, and if I weren't so lazy I would know more about it.

(I can't be the only one who was always transfixed by the Gospel chanted in Latin and Greek from the Vatican. And when I indulged my "liturgical tourist" side of a Sunday morning in my nomad days, finding a Melkite, or Maronite church was always exciting.)
The project got its start when Hamacher read in a book about "the world's oldest Christian music." He tracked down author William Dalrymple, who told him there were no recordings of the music — and that "it's not a monastery in the desert; it is a Syrian Orthodox church in the middle of the city of Aleppo." Hamacher ended up staying at that church as a guest of the archbishop, who has since been kidnapped by rebels.

It feels wrong to be almost thrilled that we, (us, Americans,) have begun to do something, when that something is dropping bombs on other people.

But there you have it.

Lots feels "wrong."

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