Ashur Bet Sargis
|Ashur Bet Sargis|
July 2, 1949 |
|Occupation(s)||Composer, Singer, Songwriter, Political Activist|
Ashur Bet Sargis (Syriac: ܐܫܘܪ ܒܝܬ ܣܪܓܝܤ, born 2 July 1949) is an Assyrian singer, composer, guitarist and activist. He became famous in the Assyrian communities worldwide for his nationalistic songs in the 1970s.
Early career in Iraq
Ashur Bet Sargis was born in Baghdad, Iraq 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 “Everything So far”:
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
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. 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.
Ashur is known for his staunch support for Zowaa, and he composed several songs for the movement. He also returned to Northern Iraq many times where he gave many concerts 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 currently lives in Los Angeles, California
- 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
- 2016 - Nishmi
A music sample of Bet Sargis' voice in 1979.
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- "Ashur Bet Sargis". Retrieved 30 September 2011.
- الحركة الديمقراطية الآشورية تحتفل بالذكرى الـ 28 لتأسيسها, ADM
- Ashur Bet Sargis, Entry at Last.fm
- Lyrics from AssyrianLyrics.com
- Music pearls of Beth-Nahrin: an Assyrian/Syriac discography, Abboud Zeitoune
- Ashur Bet-Sargis Finds Solace in Dashta D’Nineveh, Skokie.net
- آشور بت سركيس بين احضان الوطن, Zahrira.net
- تأملات في ألبوم آشور بت سركيس دشتا د نينوى, خابور كوم