Gabriel Asaad (in syriac: ܓܒܪܐܝܠ ܐܣܥܕ?) (1907, Midyat ? 1997) was an Assyrian composer and musician. He was most known for the songs Ho Donho Shemsho (ܗܐ ܕܢܚܐ ܫܡܫܐ), Motho Rhimto (ܡܬܐ ܪܚܝܡܬܐ) and Moth Bethnahrin (ܡܬܝ ܒܝܬܢܗܪܝܢ).
Malfono Gabriel Asaad (1907-1997)
The launchers of the modern Syriac music and the founders of its renaissance at the beginning of the passed century.
He was born in Midiat, Tourabdin (south east of Turkey) on March 18th, 1907. He moved with his family to Adana-Turkey in 1914 where he studied languages, and thereafter moved to Damascus-Syria at the end of 1921. He received his first lesson in music in 1924. The Syriac church music was his source of inspiration.
In Tripoli-Lebanon 1926 he wrote and composed his first national song ”Othouroyo ho mtoth” followed by a long series of national songs like ”Motho dilan” and “Taw Nethkanash” in 1928, ”Shifouro” in 1931, ”Ho donho Shemsho” in 1933 and others. He was famous for his fascinating way of praying “Takheshfotho” (supplications).
The occidental style dominated his oriental works that created a charming exotic form of Syriac music.
Between 1931-1936 Malfono Gabriel Asaad lived in Palestine. There he played music with that time’s famous Arab artists like Amin Hasanen, Zaki Mourad (the father of Laila Mourad), Mary Joubran and others. During this period of time, he recorded his first SP that consisted of two national songs. Between 1937-1975 Malfono Gabriel Asaad and his family lived in Kamishli-Syria. 1945 he composed "Monaw Kouworo Drabou" (Lyrics of deceased Yahanon Salman).
1953 in Aleppo-Syria Malfono Gabriel Asaad released his first Syriac musical book “Mén Mousiqi dilan hdatho” (from our modern music). This book contained a collection of his musical works with their musical notes (23 songs).
In Kamishli 1957, he founded his private school of music, and one-year later was appointed to be the teacher of music at the Cultural Centre in Kamishli which, survived until 1967. During this period he formed the foundation of music to many musicians and composers like Fr. Georges Chachan, Joseph Malki, Dr. Muhammad Aziz, Moshe Makhlouf, Elias Dawoud and others.
Malfono Gabriel Asaad moved to Stockholm, Sweden in 1979 and until his death on July 6th 1997. Before that he released another book "Al mousiqa al souria ibra al tarikh" (The Syrian Music Throughout History) in 1990. He composed his last song "Ema Ghozena Shlomo" in 1984 with the spoken syriac "Turoyo".
Beside his own lyrics and songs, Malfono Gabriel Asaad wrote music for works of the greater Syriac writers like H.E. the late Mor Youhanon Dolabani, Malfono Fawlos Gabriel, Malfono Yohanon Salman and others.
Malfono Gabriel Asaad translated many historical events of the Syriac people into musical works, which are still in use today.
Also see: Music Pearls of Beth Nahrin book, by: Abboud Zeitoune.