Ashur Bet Sargis

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Ashur Bet Sargis
Ashur Bet Sargis.gif
Background information
Born (1949-07-02) July 2, 1949 (age 65)
Origin Iraq Baghdad, Iraq
Genres Assyrian music
Occupation(s) Composer, Singer, Songwriter, Political Activist
Years active 1960s–present

Ashur Bet Sargis (Syriac: ܐܫܘܪ ܒܝܬ ܣܪܓܝܤ), (Born in 2 July 1949), is an Assyrian composer and singer. He became famous in the Assyrian communities worldwide for his nationalistic songs in the 1970s.

Early career in Iraq[edit]

Ashur Bet Sargis was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1949 to an Assyrian family. He started playing organ as a teenager at the local Assyrian church. He later began composing nationalistic songs under the influence of established Assyrian musicians such as Evin Aghassi and King Biba, as well as western artists. As Ashur recalls of his early days in the biography written for his 4-CD set “So far”:[1]

Music was being redefined out in the rest of the world, and stars like Elvis, Paul Anka, and of course The Beatles were shining all over the place. I wanted to be a part of this transformation, and offer its fruition to my people.

Rise to fame[edit]

Shortly after the Ba'ath led revolution of 1968, Ashur fled the unstable political situation in Iraq in 1969, ending up in Chicago, IL. A year later he formed his first band, “East Bird Band”, which released its first recording in 1972. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1973 and in 1975 he released his first LP "Ashur Sargis Sings for Ancient Assyria" which contained nationalistic songs like "Roosh Jwanqa" and “Bet Nahren Atrewa”, as well as several other songs that have since become staples of his catalogue and concerts.[1] In 1976, Ashur became the first Assyrian artist to tour overseas when he and his band played three sold-out shows in Australia. Soon afterwards he would travel to Iran, which at that time had the second largest population of Assyrians in the Middle East, and had long been a large producer of Assyrian music on the record labels that flourished in Tehran in the days before the Islamic revolution such as Irangram and Monogram. After two weeks of performances there, he returned to Los Angeles to record his third album, “Sing Me A Lullaby". He followed it with "Dance of Victory" in 1984.

Later Years[edit]

Ashur is known for his staunch support for Zowaa, and he composed several songs for the movement.[2] He also returned to Northern Iraq may times where he did many concert during Kha b-Nisan prior to the Iraq war. He is often featured at Zowaa sponsored festivals in Nineveh Plains and Dohuk. Ashur Bet Sargis lives currently in Phoenix, Arizona. Although he often travels on tours in Europe and the Middle East.

Discography[edit]

  • 1972 - Bet Nahren
  • 1975 - Ancient Assyria
  • 1979 - Sing Me A Lullaby
  • 1984 - Dance of Victory
  • 1990 - Winter Wind
  • 1992 - The Mighty Assyrians
  • 1995 - Mirror of Deception
  • 1996 - From A Distant World
  • 1998 - Immortal Memories
  • 2003 - Everything So Far
  • 2008 - Dashta D'Nineveh

Music[edit]

A music sample of Bet Sargis' voice in 1979.

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To the contrast of his Assyrian peers in music, Ashur's music is slow and mellow. He is also known for incorporating Greek musical instruments such as Tambouras to his music.

External links[edit]

References[edit]