Finally it has been found…The Oldest Assyrian Record, Number One!

We had became aware of the existence of these very old music “Assyrian records” from an advertisement published in an issue of “The New Assyria” Magazine dated to 1917, and it took me few years before I was lucky enough to locate and purchase copies of the actual music records in 2012. And it immediately become apparent that the three records I purchased were numbered, and that I only had numbers 2, 3 and 4, So we knew obviously there must be a record numbered 1 out-there!

It wasn’t until now in 2024, almost 12 years later that I finally found the missing “number one”, making it the first and oldest Assyrian music record to be officially released to date. After getting contacted by an American record collector and musician who had seen my previous article on these records, and I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Paul Wilkinson for having saved these records for so long in his collection, and for agreeing to sell them to us, so that we could study and preserve them for future generations.


These “Assyrian Records” were produced and sang by an Assyrian married couple in America, the couple originally immigrated from Persia and settled in New Britain, Hartford. And one of their children is documented and his name was Norman Joseph Yonan, born 1920 and was a Lieutenant in the US Army and served in the Pacific during World War II, and passed away in 2013 in Florida.


The records are 78 rpm Shellac, 10″, released in US, each record has two songs, they are sang by Joseph Yonan (born abt 1893) and Anna Yonan (born abt 1897) both born in Persia. The melodies of the songs we believe to be probably Azeri from a famous opera (Arshin Mal Alan), originally produced in 1913, but the lyrics of these music records are in modern Assyrian dialect.




Assyrian Records Track-List:

Record No.1
Track A: Loupla Ah Pand
Track B: Chadrey Breshey Dariane

Record No.2
Track A: Soul’tan Back Shad Vele.
Track B: Moudey eina Dardough

Record No.3
Track A: Bqzeitagh gha Tahar Veley.
Track B: Ah Maraley Aziztey

Record No.4
Track A: Zahmat Grishly.
Track B: Ghoush Ganeymey Back Labela










By: Moneer Cherie.

A brief look at the Assyrian cassette culture and its demise.

In the 1980s, Iraqi television had only two channels dedicated to the Arab state and culture, while the Assyrian language was not permitted on TV or radio, so cassettes became the only source to distribute our popular culture, entertainment, and, at times, national education.

The majority of Assyrian tapes were produced in the United States and Europe. But a small number, which are more difficult to find, were produced locally at the grassroots level, by people who recorded music in their communities, at private parties, weddings, or by local bands. The only source of semi-official productions were released by a few privately run music stores in Baghdad, like Al-Baraq, Hamurabi, and Oscar.

Since most Assyrian tapes in the Middle East were bootlegs, obtaining the original Assyrian cassettes at that time was nearly impossible, and if you had managed to do so, you quickly became popular among your friends, and that only happened if you had a cousin visiting from overseas who was able to smuggle in one or two cassettes without them being confiscated at the border, since the Iraqi government had banned most Assyrian singers.

On numerous occasions, you would purchase a new cassette album of a specific singer from your local music store, only to discover later that the songs on the tape actually belonged to a different singer, and this was apparently done to either avoid problems with the authorities by selling a banned singer, or simply because the music store owner made a mistake because probably all he got was a bootleg copy with no details of the singer.

Almost every Assyrian home in the 1980s had a small collection of Assyrian cassettes, and some guys would display their collection very proudly, especially if they had managed to locate official album sleeves, which most of the time were no more than xerox bootleg copies.

And we quickly learned one thing; never lend your original tape to anyone, especially if the cassette shells are the screwed-on type and not welded. Because the borrower had the ability to swap out your original reels for a copy and screw back the tape shells without your knowledge.

Unlike vinyl records, cassette technology made it easier to produce and distribute Assyrian music worldwide because it was less expensive, easy to duplicate, and durable. It made it easier for Assyrian musicians to create a mini-boom in the music industry, which in the 1980s and early 1990s became known as the “golden age of Assyrian music.”

I have been collecting all formats of Assyrian albums for nearly fifteen years, and a large part of that collection has been tapes. On a couple of my overseas trips, I was lucky enough to still find vintage Assyrian cassettes that had survived the country’s many wars and devastation. I remember meeting a music store owner who had moved his entire stock from Baghdad to Erbil.

At the front of his shop, he was only selling CDs, but when I asked him if he had any cassettes? I could tell he was surprised that a customer in 2016 was asking for tapes, so I asked if I could check them out and told him I would be buying, so he knew I wouldn’t be wasting his time, and he agreed to let me into his storage. All I saw were stacks of tapes on shelves all the way to the ceiling and a few tapes still in their moving boxes.

Of course, he not only had Assyrian tapes but also Arabic and Kurdish; however, I was only interested in Assyrian tapes, and it took me a couple of visits to ensure I didn’t miss any interesting Assyrian tapes in his collection. The stench of rat urine and thick layers of dust in the old storage didn’t deter me from my arduous search for any elusive tape. I came away with nearly 30 tapes, mostly domestically produced original Assyrian tapes.

When I first traveled to Erbil in 2016, there were over ten music stores selling mostly CDs and digital music, but years later, when I returned, only one had remained open; most had been forced to shut down because of the economic downfall and digital music downloads online.

(On one of my previous trips to Iraq, standing next to a music store that is no longer in business)

But unfortunately, I wasn’t always able to get access to known collectors and their collections. When I visited a famous collector in Iran, he told me that he was busy and couldn’t make more time for me to check out his collection, so I only managed to take a few photos. He told me I should come back later that week, but I was leaving the same week and never had the time to go back and check out his collection. Other collectors from around the world are either unfamiliar with how to digitize their collections or are unwilling to share what they have collected.

(Two sets of Evin Agassi cassettes were reissued in the 1995)

I noticed that Assyrians were the fastest to adopt digital formats. I saw customers in Iraq walking into music stores with a blank memory stick, filling it with the latest albums in digital format, paying, and walking out. Of course, most of the music on Assyrian tapes has made the jump to digital formats. but not everything, especially those songs that were never issued on tapes in the first place, especially those made for Assyrian radio segments in Iran and Iraq in the mid-1960s to the beginning of the 1970s.

Nowadays, almost no one owns cassette tapes, and the vanishing music stores are a warning sign of the end of physical copies. What remains is mostly in the hands of collectors or kept by a few people for nostalgic reasons. And these surviving tapes are now a passage into an irretrievable time and space in Assyrian popular culture.


Al-Baraq Record Store on Al-Sina’a Street, Baghdad in 1979, with owner Mr. Saib Habbaba seated.


Mr. Zaya Shiba owner of Marco Record Store in Nuhadra, Iraq. store is no longer in business.


The shop front of an Assyrian owned Music Store in Tehran Iran in 2016


Aghadeer Music Store (2nd Branch) in Baghdad around 1996


Habib Mousa – Assyrian Folklore Songs, released in 1978


Semir Yewsip – Pirma, released in 2003


Three versions of the same album released by Linda George in 1983


Cassette Sleeve from the old Hamorabi Music Store in Baghdad.


With Mr. Calvin at the Hamurabi Music Store in Erbil, Iraq, one of the last remaining Assyrian music shops in Ankawa.


Original Tape Sleeve from Al-Baraq Record Store, Baghdad.


Fareed (Hommi) Alqoshi


Selection of Latif Pola Cassettes

Two different pressings of the same tape by Robert Bet Sayad, 1986


Two different pressings of the same tape by Geliana Esho, 1988


George Farag (with Teglat Band) – Bet Nahrain – 1982


Edward Esha Tape in two different color “slip sheet”, released in 1993


The (Voice of Nineveh), was one of the best Assyrian music stores in Iran


Same album by John Dashto in four different pressings 1982


The same Sargon Gabriel album was released in 1996, with one copy in America and the other in Australia.


By Moneer Cherie, 2022.

Qeenatha Best Music 2020

Caravan Music House – Baghdad

These days Assyrian singers produce and distribute their own albums, but it wasn’t always this way. Assyrians as early as the late 1950s had established a number of music recording labels, those were mainly in Iraq and Iran, those production companies were responsible for signing new singers, producing and distributing their albums locally and internationally. As well as creating new original music and lyrics.

One of those record labels was “Caravan Music House” established in Baghdad Iraq, owned by the late William Nichola Dinkha, with financial partnership of Mr. Alfred M. Yonan.

William Dinkha was also a Composer and Accordionist; he was born in Hanaidi, near Baghdad. His family were settled in refugee camps in Baquba and Hanaidi after the events of WWI, and later relocated to Habbaniya, which was organized by the British Army and then into Assyrian Levies. His family left Habbaniya and permanently settled in Baghdad in 1949.

William had inherited the passion for music from his mother, which had a very mellow voice and would be singing Assyrian folk songs at home and to him as a child. He was also influenced by the old classic Assyrian melodies which he heard in weddings and dance parties. He studied music under an Italian professor Mr. Aldo who was teaching in an Institute of Music in Baghdad. It wasn’t long before William began composing his own melodies and writing lyrics.

Most of the songs produced previously were based on foreign compositions. William had the idea to produce original and authentic music, that was different from the other cultures in the region. He also wanted to have some tangible records to preserve our music heritage for future generation.


Soon after registering, he began looking for a studio band, and found a band called; Avshalim and Stars Band, later established another Studio band called Diamond Band.

He founded the Diamond Band which comprised of:
William Ablahad – Guitar
Ashor V. Nona – Violin
Moshi Youkhannan – Clarinet
George Henry – Drums
William Nicola ( Dinkha) – Composer/Accordionist.

(with Avshalim and Stars Band)


The first album, comprising a set of four songs was produced with the Avshalim and Stars Band and released sometime between 1958-60. These songs were performed by the late singer Yacoub Nona and are listed below:

Kee Makhbennakh
Bnateh Daha Dora*
Libbee Shmitoowat
Rikhqawat Minnee


In the second album, the music was played by Diamond Band and songs were performed by the respective singers shown below:
Taneelee: Yacoub Nona
Khooba Shilya: Awimalk Haider*
Khabooshe Smooqeh: Yacoub Nona
Halleh Libakh: Yacoub Nona


Khooba Shilya: Awimalk Haider


This record was an EP (Extended Play) featuring two singers, with two songs each, they were; Sargon Norman and Roosevelt Shaul:

Aha Douniye Khleeta: Roosevelt Shaul
Qarbin Kisli: Roosevelt Shaul

Sheerin Sheerin: Sargon Norman
Bulbuli Sourta: Sargon Norman

Audio sample from Sargon Norman and Roosevelt Shaul



He also released a fourth record for Awrahim Gewargis, featuring two Assyrian songs (no photo of the singer has been located):

1) Asmara  2) Shemo Teleh El Bali (audio sample).










Caravan also released non-Assyrian records, such as this example by the late Kurdish singer from Iraq, Jamal Jalal. A well known composer and singer. Standing on the right and being awarded a medal of excellence and Merit by the Minister of Culture and Youth in Erbil few years before his passing. And standing on the left (in the photo) is the Assyrian and kurdish singer Andrews Khamo Bakuri.



Sadly William Dinkha’s Caravan label didn’t last long, he migrated to England in 1962, and passed away in 2013 in Canada. Mr. William had a great passion for music and hoped to preserve some aspects of our music heritage. These records by Caravan label are what I with the help of few friends have been able to locate so far. perhaps there are few more out-there still to be found.Caravan Music House – Baghdad – Written by Moneer Cherie for

Kosrof Malool first Assyrian singer and his 78rpm records خسروف ملول

First Assyrian singer with the oldest record, but no songs in Assyrian.


Khosroff Malool, was born ca.1884 in Diyarbakır (Amid)-Turkey, and after a long arduous journey escaping the looming troubles in Anatolia, he arrived in America in 1904, and in 1908 his wife Madam Hrepsme Malool and his two sons, Anton and Edward joined him. He settled in New Jersey, and at one time had opened a fruit shop.

His first noted role within the Assyrian community in diaspora was being elected as the president of the Assyrian National School Association (Taw Mim Semkat) for the years between 1913-1915

Also known as Kosrof Effendi, was an accomplished singer, he released a number of records both in Turkish and Kurdish, and it has been documented that he is the first singer to officially release a Kurdish song in America. Khosroff passed away in America in 1971. He is the first ethnically Assyrian singer to release a record dating back to 1912.

As far as we know, he never recorded songs in Assyrian, perhaps by adhering to church decree of Anastasius in 502 forbidding Songs and dances?! Some years later the known Church father Jacob of Serug (ca. 451-521) stated that “the blessed city of Edessa became clean from weeds”.

Bar Salibi’s statement about singing and dancing, from 1183 manuscript states “To Pagans belong festivities, songs, dances, banquets and drink, and to Christians fasting”.

So in conclusion, church hymns were allowed, but usually without accompanying music, while all other types of music and festivities were forbidden at one time by the Church.


His name variations: Kosroff Eff., Kosrof Malool, Khosrow Malool, Kosroff Mallool, Khusrev Effendi, Khosroff Malool, Khoursoff Malool, خسروف مالول ,خسرو افندي















Discography of his records:




Technical Notes:
Performer: Kosrof Malool,
Label: Oriental Record,
Issue Number.101,
Matrix Number: 2001,
Dated to 1920s,
Track titles:

Anadol Kourd Hevasi, (2001A)

Anadol Hevasi Shirvani, (2002B)











Technical Notes:
Performer: Kosrof Malool & Karekin Proodian,
Label: Columbia,
Issue Number: E1132,
Matrix Number: 38304,
Dated to 1912,
Track titles:

Meshreb Avaramy -Hijaz Charky (Matrix No.38304)

Hijaz Gazal (Matrix No.38313)









Technical Notes:
Performer: Kosrof Eff,
Label: Columbia,
Issue Number: E1201,
Matrix Number: 38370,
Dated to 1912,
Track title:

Rast Gazal (Matrix No.38370) Turkish. Khusrev eff., Vocal

Huzzam Gazel – Naeem Karekin eff., Vocal.










Technical Notes:
Performer: both sides: Kosrof Eff, Vocal.
Label: Columbia,
Issue Number: E2788,
Matrix Number: 43704,
Date : 1915 or 1916,
Track title:

Saba Gazel (Matrix No.43704) Turkish.

Nihavand Gazal (Matrix No.43721) Turkish.











Technical Notes:
Performer: Kosroff Eff,
Label: Columbia,
Issue Number: E 2841,
Matrix Number: 43710,
Dated to 1916,
Track titles:

Navrooz (Matrix No.43706)
Kurd Havasy, Part II (Matrix No.43710)












Technical Notes: (*Same as above but different press)
Performer: Kosrof Eff,
Label: Columbia,
Issue Number: E2843,
Matrix Number: 43706,
Dated to 1916,
Track titles:

Navrooz (Matrix No.43706)
Kurd Havasy, Part II (Matrix No.43710)










Compiled by Moneer Cherie 2020


Abboud Zeitoune – Music collector and Author.

“To what Strange Place” Ian Nagoski – Music collector and producer.

My personal collection, and international private collections.







Albert Ruel Tamras – Life And Music by Moneer Cherie

Born in the iraqi city of Habbaniya in 1944, to father Ruel Tamras and mother Madam Khanna, he was married to Madam Yolia David, had one son Yousip and two daughters Nahrain and Nurra.

Albert began singing officially in 1960s, he wrote the lyrics to all of his songs, and composed some of the music too, the music of other songs were adopted.

He recalls in an old interview that his beginning with music was in 1958 while liveing in the city of Nineveh, he obtained a record by the Assyrian singer Oshana Youel Mirza and listen to it over and over, and picked up his Tanbur and practiced playing and singing just like his idol.

Albert became one of the most famous Assyrian folk singers, he had his own genre, he was the “voice of the people” also nicknamed the “voice of the Mountain”. In those early years when Albert began singing, you had to have a powerful voice, you couldn’t rely too much on sound-technology to help you manipulate your voice, as we do today! Most of his early singing was done live on stage without microphones or speakers.

Albert became known for playing on the traditional string instrument, the Tanbur, his band had two members only, himself singing and playing on the Tanbur, accompanied by a traditional drummer (Tabla/Dahola), some of his drummers were, Mr. William Benjamin (US), Mr. Esho Warda (AUS) and later his son Mr. Yousip Ruel who took that position permanently.

In the 1970s many of Albert’s songs were broadcasted on Iraqi Radio & TV’s Assyrian segment in Baghdad as well as Kirkuk. In 1976 Albert together with Iraqi singer Afifa Eskander were invited to sing in the United States of America for a month. Afifa (a famed Arabic-Iraqi female singer), then returned to Iraq, but Albert extended his stay for another two months by popular demand, in which he sung in other US states and traveled to Canada. Assyrians in Diaspora could not get enough of his music.

Albert Ruel is perhaps the only Assyrian singer to be featured on an official Iraqi record, released in 1982, it was a publication of the Ministry of Culture and information, Musical Arts Department. Albert Ruel, recorded 13 songs, starting from 1966 (until 1971) at the famous Assyrian recording studio of Jamil Bashir, in Baghdad Iraq. And those songs were pressed on 45rpm single-vinyl in Greece for the Bashirphone label. Perhaps few of those vinyl were also copied and released in Iran (one such example has been located, shown below).

In 1975 Albert released two separate cassettes, each containing 6 songs, which were later both reissued on one cassette, and then on a CD in 2003. You could hear the voices of Sargon Gabriel and late Biba singing as backup vocals on some of those early Albert songs.



Albert Ruel participated in a number of early Assyrian song festivals held in Baghdad. The Assyrian Social Club was established in 1970 in Baghdad, and the second song festival was held at the Club in 1974, unfortunately we have very little information or materials from these events, they were held on perhaps four occasions, one of them is when this picture was taken in 1974.
People from right are:

1) Esho Warda
2) David Esha
3) Alfred George
4) Albert Ruel Tamras
5) Biba
6) Shawel Malko
7) Janet Poles
8) Khawa Esho
9) Bernadet Shamasha Yowel.


How many albums did Albert have? We are still trying to determine that, Albert was “singer of the people”, he always sang live, whenever he sang people would “field-record” his songs, and we have a number of those live-recordings, but I am sure many singing sessions were not recorded as well, and are lost forever. He usually sang original songs or the same songs but with different lyrics or versions. Today we have perhaps 8 such albums, not counting the 6 vinyl and official releases.


Albert was interviewed for website in 2008 by Robert Audisho, and here are few excerpts from that interview translated from Arabic:

One of my favorite singers that I liked and respected has been the (late) Oshana Youil Mirza, he had a magical voice, I listened and memorized all his songs. He was the most famous singer in Iraq, only when he migrated to Kuwait I was able to take his place in Iraq and become a known young singer.

When Albert was asked, what advice would you give to our new singers? He said…”I wish them all the success, I have one request. If they want to leave an everlasting and positive imprint on the Assyrian music filed, first they have to make sure they have a qualified singing voice, then to work very hard on their songs (ie: lyrics & melody) before releasing them, they have to be honest with themselves and with their audience. They have to target the heart and soul of the Assyrian audiences before their ears”.

He also commented on his unforgettable trip he made to the Assyrians of Syria, “my trip to Syria in 1974 is a part of my life that I will never forget, when I arrived in Syria many people didn’t know about my visit, there was no media or promotion as we have today, and no transportation. But as soon as they knew, every single Assyrian village in Syria invited me to sing, and many walked for miles to see me and hear my songs. I sang in weddings, engagements, parties, concerts, and private homes”.

Robert: I still remember the party that you performed on the roof of Dr. Ewan Ewan’s house, people came from Hasaka and Qamishli and all the surrounding Assyrian towns and villages. You sung until sunrise, that party was recorded on tape, although it was not clear, but still the tape was “sold out’, and recopied and sold over and over many times.

What is the song that is most dear to you, and that you composed?

Albert: The most beautiful melody that I composed is for the song; “Hal Eman Ya Moghebti”, as for the most important melody that I borrowed is for the song; “Ktawe Kharaya” which is a Turkish melody. I also composed a national song; “Atouraya Dmikha Bshenta Yaqorta”.

I have 5 Buzuq (Tambura) but the most dear to me is the one I designed in 1963 and took with me to Syria, I still have it and play on it every day. It has been my friend on my singing journey.

I never made money from my career, when I recorded and released my songs, almost immediately illegal copies (bootleg) were made and sold all over the Assyrian diaspora world, I was not able to even recover the cost of my albums. And we have no support from our media. They only confined to the modern songs, but they must also play songs that are related to our ancient Assyrian culture and heritage, which play an important role in preserving our culture and language…(end of interview).


In 1990 Albert came to Australia and participated in two parties at Nineveh club to packed audience, one of his parties was filmed and later released on VHS tape.

I hope anyone that has his old tapes or old videos, to digitize them, so we may one day have our own “Assyrian Audio Archive”, and we can preserve those and other rare materials for future generations.


We have lost another Assyrian music legend, he was planning on releasing a new album, but it was not to be. May his soul rest in peace, and may our lord grant him a place in heaven.



Compiled: by Moneer Cherie


As stated above, around 1966 Jamil Bashir produced at least six single 45″ records for Albert Ruel. The songs have all been identified, as they were later remastered and reissued on a compact disk. However to my knowledge not all six original vinyl records have been located. All six records had the same photo-sleeve covers (as shown below, left):

The Bashirphone records I have documented are the four numbered below:


JB 607

Track A: Hemanta
Track B: Shaperta Min Jaldeh Chertela


JB 608

Track A: Youmani Sammaneh
Track B: Zeega Mkheeleh (Mospertewan)


JB 609

Track A: Brata Sourta
Track B: Ktawi Kharaya


JB 610

Track A: Asmar Asmar
Track B: Kapoorta Weeli



This is a single vinyl which was pressed in Iran, not sure if this was a bootleg or done with permission, but songs were the same as those on Bashirphone press, it has a Royal label record number:

RT 1801 with two songs:
Track A: Asmar Asmar (featuring Sargon Gabriel & Biba as backup vocals). audio track below:
Track B: Brata Sourta



In 1982 The Ministry of Culture and information, Musical Arts Department in Iraq released a box set, containing three vinyls, on one of them was a song by Albert Ruel titled Qamo (Why?), I believe its the only example of an Assyrian song officially released by an Iraqi government department on a record.



Volume 5 & 6

These volumes were originally released on two Tapes (6 tracks in each Cassette), then in 1975 released on one Cassette (12 Tracks), and in 2003 were released on a CD (12 tracks):

#1 – Asmar Asmar
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#2 – Qaiakh Khlita
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#3 – Hal Eman
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#4 – Ghazala
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#5 – Lenwa Khizya
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#6 – Ya Khuba
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#7 – Miryewen Rikhqa
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#8 – Hal Quedamta
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#9 – Mooghbeweb Kha Brata
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#10 – Atin Shimsha
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#11 – Haly Juwab
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras

#12 – Qa Dan Aynatakh
Lyrics by: Albert Ruel Tamras


Track #8


This is an advertisement for the Cassette which was released in USA in 1975 image taken from “Assyrian Star” Magazine published in 1976. The album was also released on an 8-Track Cartridge but no hard copy of the cartridge has been located so far.

In 1981 the Assyrian Magazine in Iraq, “Qala Suryaya”, featured an interview with Albert Ruel Tamras, conducted by Shamiram and Ninos. Below is the issue cover, and the headline from the interview. He talked about his early life, his work as a carpenter and his music.


🎼 ♯ ♫ ♬♭ ❀ヅ ♫ ♬ ♪


A cassette cover of a live recording from Syria, dated to 1974 from a memorable trip to the Assyrians of Khabour, below is an audio track from the cassette.


A VHS tape of a party held in United States, by the late singer Albert Ruel, and accompanying on Tablah (drum), Mr. William Wardah.


܀܀܀܀ ܞ ܞ ܞ ܀܀܀܀















Albert and family migrated to the United States of America in 2000 and settled in Arizona, He passed away on the 27th of July 2011 after an illness. The final message from the late Albert Ruel Tamras….









Sources: Background information gathered from personal collection, friends, CD booklets, Interview on and other interviews and article.

First Assyrian albums, on different formats.

This is an attempt to compile a list of our first and last albums released on different music formats.

By Moneer Cherie


The first known Assyrian record in the world was released in 1917 it was a Shellac 78rpm record, released in USA by Joseph and Anna Yonan.

Shellac : Is the materials discs are made from, and “78rpm” is the Speed which such discs are played back on turntables.














First Assyrian Reel-to-Reel album was recorded by the singers: Yusef Shamun & Evlin Dawud around the year 1958 (Home recordings) in West Assyrian dialect.















The first single 45″ vinyls were released as early as 1958, I found at least three examples with the same dates, those are by Wardiya Kako, Roosevelt Shawil and Sargon Norman. (The one on the left is by Wardiya and on the right is by Roosevelt Shawil, it was pressed in Germany and released in Iraq)
















The first EP (Extended Player) vinyl record was released in 1960s by Madam Lili Oraham Taimoorazi (photo below).











The first Assyrian Solo Vinyl LP was released in 1975 by Ashur Bet Sargis. privately Pressed in USA
LP: stands for “Long Playing”, it was the first time they could include more songs/length of time on one record, longer than EP.


















This is the first Assyrian group LP album, released in 1962 recorded in Iran and released in USA, among the musicians playing on this record was the famed late Sooren Alexander, this group was organized and arranged by the late Madam Lili Oraham Taimoorazi  (track: Mamyana [Pare Bidashtu & Daud Mikail]















(8-track Tape): “commonly known as the eight-track cartridge” was popular from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s when the Compact Cassette format took over. A number of Assyrian 8-track tapes were released mainly in United States and only very few examples have survived for around 10 different singers. Many were bootleg from LP records, only few were originally released as 8-track Tapes such as that of late Albert Ruel in 1975. (Song: Sargon Gabriel & Linda George; Deer Hunter, Lyrics & Music by George Shenko).















While it is difficult to determine which was the last produced Assyrian Cassette, I decided that this could come close as being the last one! However that could change if I find more details on other Tapes. Released by Latif Pola in 2008 produced in Iraq. (Song: Slutha d Khubba Mthumaya)
























The first Assyrian CD was released in 1993 by Walter Aziz and it could even be the first CD released by an Iraqi singer in general. (Song: Rikda Dkhouyada, Lyrics: Gewargis Yoseph, Music: Walter Aziz).















Moneer Cherie


الموسيقى والترتيل بين الامس واليوم

الموسيقى والترتيل بين الامس واليوم

لطيف پولا










سبق وان قلنا في تقديمنا لأنواع التراتيل مثل (اِمر لي عيتا ايكا ؤبٌيتي ابٌنكي إمر لي عيتا أيكا صويت اونيخ …) وهي من مقام البيات و ( ةًاوو سبٌوو اخًيْ ـ تاو ساو احاي ) من مقام أورفا ديواني .و(سلق لؤليبًٌا سلق لصليوا ) من مقام السيگا . و( امين امين ! آمين أمين ) من مقام الصبا و (قوم شفير قوم شَـپـير ) من مقام الحجاز,( خنين خننا حنين حنانا و گياسا وكروّا جيسا وكربًٌا) وهي ترتيلة تصور جدالاً بين الكروب ( كاروبيم وهو جنس من الملائكة حسب كتاب المقدس ) الذي يحرس باب الجنة وبين اللص الذي اراد الدخول الى الجنة .وهذه القصيدة الطويلة التي تزيد على مائة بيت من الشعر السرياني شاعرها عاش في القرن الرابع الميلادي اي قبل الف وستمائة عام !! اخترتُ منها ثمانية ابيات فقط وغنيتها مع ترتيلة ( خونين خنًًنًا ــ حونين حنانا) لأن كليهما من مقام النوى

ان هذه التراتيل وهذه المقامات هي بالاحرى امتداد للتراتيل وللأنغام والموسيقى السومرية ـ الأكدية والاشورية ـ البابلية لانها تخضع لعلم الموسيقى, وهذا لم يتم انجازه الا في مهد الحضارة ارض الرافدين مع الإبداع المضاف في المراحل اللاحقة, واستطاعت الكنائس الشرقية بذلك ان تحافظ على ذلك الأرث والكنز الفني الذي خلقته العبقرية الرافدينية عبر الاف من السنين كشعاع من اشعة الحضارة الذي ظل يضيء قروناً رغم الدمار الذ اصاب سومر واكد وبابل واشور جراء غزو البرابرة لأرض الرافدين ومحاولة طمس كل الانجازات الحضارية ليحل محلها التخلف والانحطاط في كل جوانب الحياة ومنها الموسيقى ..ولكن من تبقى من أحفاد تلك الحضارة قد حافظوا على بعض الجوانب المشرقة من حضارة أجدادهم العظماء وبشكل خاص الجانب الموسيقي لأنهم نقلوه الى معتقداتهم وحياتهم الجديدة كميراث خالد .وبعد اعتناق شعبنا الدين المسيحي كان له خزين هائل من الالحان والتراتيل والاغاني والملاحم والالات الموسيقية التي توارثها جميعها من اجداده فلم يجد صعوبة في ادخال تلك الانغام في المعتقد الجديد بل ابد فيها منذ القرون الاولى لاعتناقه المسيحية . ومن الجدير بالذكر ان القرن الرابع والخامس والسادس الميلادي انجب شعراء سريان عباقرة اصبحوا فيما بعد مدرسة لكل الشعراء الذين جاءوا بعدهم, حتى من غير السريان . ومن هؤلاء الشعراء العظام مار افرام السرياني (306 ـ373 م)الذي كتب قصيدته الشهيرة في العلم والكتاب وقد جاء فيها ( كةبًٌا نىوٍا فةٌورك: ةسبع منى بوسًمًا كثاوا نهوِ پاثورخ تسبع منه بوساما( ليكن الكتاب مائدتك لتنال منه السعادة .. ) واظن منه اخذ ابو الطيب المتنبي بيته الشهير ( وخير جليس في الزمان كتاب )! ولا غرابة في ذلك لان هذه التراتيل والقصائد كانت ترتل وتعلم وتدرس في الكوفة وكربلاء التي كان يوجد فيها اكثر من ثلاثة وثلاثين ديرا وكنيسة لغتها وطقوسها سريانية لأنها كانت لغة كنيسة المشرق .ولما كان ابو الطيب المتنبي قد عاش في الكوفة في (915 ـ 965م ) يكون مار افرام قد سبقه بستمائة عام !! .. ومن الشعراء السريان المشهورين ايضا مار نرساي ( 399 ـ 502م ) ومار يعقوب السروجي (الذي توفي عام 521 م . وقد نشرت في صفحتي في الفيسبوك عددا من هذه التراتيل ومنها الجدال بين الملاك واللص .وهذا النوع من الحوار الشعري في القصيدة التي رتلتها على العود والذي انتشر في التراتيل الكنسية منذ القرون الاولى يمثل جنس ادبي على شكل حوارات وجدالات وعلى شكل مشاهد درامية كما في هذه الابيات الثمانية التي اخترتها من قصيدة طويلة لشاعر مجهول عاش في القرن الرابع الميلادي, وهو كما قلت حوار بين الكروب الذي يحرس باب الجنة واللص


أمر لي جبٌرا من شدرك :
ومن بعا انّة وايكا أةية
ايدا علةا قرةك لكا :
جلي وفشق لي من ايةيك
الكروب : قل لي يا هذا :من الذي أرسلك ؟
ما الذي تريده ,كيف وصلت الى هنا؟!
ومن الذي اتى بك الى هذا المكان؟
قف وبين لي دواعي مجيئك !
امر أنا لك دلي مشالة :
كلي لشنًنك وملي شمع
جيسااّنا ورخمٍا بعية :
ومًرك شدرني واةية لكًٌا
الكروب :سأقول لك يا سائلي :
ابعد رمحك واصغ الى ما ساقوله
انا لصً ولكنني تبتً
وسيدك هو الذي أرسلني


وهذه التراتيل ومئات غيرها والتي تُرتل في كنيسة المشرق منذ قرون عديدة , تشمل معظم المقامات لتثبت اصالة التراتيل السريانية وارتباطها الوثيق بالتراتيل والحان الاشورية البابلية السومرية وكونها امتدادا لها ,والتي أصبحت فيما بعد الأرضية الخصبة التي نشأ عليها ومنها المقام العراقي. ولما نشرت هذه المقدمة في صفحتي جاءتني عدة ردود, منها هذا الرد الذي ارتأيت ان اجيب عليه جوابا وافيا اوضح فيه جوانب الغموض من خلال حقائق علمية وتاريخية حسب رأي المتواضع وهو بالطبع قابل للنقاش.وهذا هو رد الصديق الفاضل : ..
(مع احترامي الفائق لك أستاذ لطيف پـولا ..لا توجد تراتيل سريانية او اشورية ..قبل 500 سنه كانت كنيستنا واحده ..وهي بالطبع كنيسه المشرق ..والمقامات هي احدى الدروس التي تقدم في المعهد الكهنوتي ببغداد ..ليس فقط التراتيل ..بل قراءه الانجيل ..والاساتذه هناك يعلمون الاداء ويهذبون الصوت ايضا ..وهذا الاداء لم اسمعه من اي ابريشيات لا الكلدانية او الاشورية او حتى من الابريشيات السريانية في سورية وبلاد الشام

وهذا ردّي على الصديق العزيز
بعد التحية

هل تقصد ان هذه التراتيل وآلافا اخرى لم تكن ترتل قبل المعهد الكهنوتي ؟؟!!. إذا ماذا كان يرتل اتباع كنيسة المشرق التي وضع اساسها رسل المسيح مار أدَّي و مار ماري منذ القرن الأول الميلادي أي قبل معهد الكهنوني بالف وخمسمائة سنة ؟! . هذه التراتيل التي رتلتها على المقامات النوى والصبا والبيات والسيكا والحجاز والطوراني البخ , هي من وضع مار نرساي( 399 ـــ 502 م ) و مار أفرام السرياني ( 306 ــ 373م ) ومار يعقوب السروجي ( 401 ـ 521م ) ومار ماروثا في القرن الرابع ومار رابولا الرهاوي (435م)، ومار ماروثا التكريتي (649م)، و مار يعقوب الرهاوي (708م)، وغيرهم من الشعراء العظام وملافنة كنيسة المشرق الذين سبقوا المعهد الكهنوتي بأكثر من الف عام . ومن الجدير بالذكر ان هذه المقامات وغيرها كانت ايضا ترتل في المعابد الاشورية والبابلية والسومرية والاكدية قبل ان يعتنق شعبنا المسيحية .ويذكر علماء التاريخ ان في بلاد الرافدين كان يوجد اكثر من ثلاثة الاف معبد ولكل معبد جوقة موسيقية , وللتاكيد على ذلك قرأت يوما رسالة لشاب سومري بعثها الى امه جاء فيها مايلي : ( اماه تعبتُ من السير في شوارع اريدو بحثا عن العمل ومن شدة تعبي جلستُ لكي استريح على عتبة احدى القاعات الموسيقية في اريدو ) .. واريدو كما هو معروف هي احدى المدن السومرية .. أسمعتِ يا رابيتا ماذا قال هذا السومري ؟ فهو يقول كان يوجد قاعات موسيقية بالاضافة الى ما كان موجودا من جوقات وفرق موسيقية في المعابد للترتيل وموسيقى الاحتفالات واخرى عسكرية التي كانت ترافق الجيوش في ذهابها للقتال و استقبالها بعد انتصارها على العدو . ولعلكِ شاهدتِ لوحات العازفين على الرقيم لعدة الات موسيقية بابلية او اشورية او سومرية , اجل الذين ابتكروا العود والقيثارة والسنطور والجوزة والمزمار وانواع الايقاعات هم البابليون والاشوريون والسومريون والاكديون ولا بد ان يكونوا قد وضعوا موسيقاهم على اسس علمية خلال حضارة استمرت اكثر من سبعة الاف عام . من الذي وضع هذه المقامات التي تسمى اليوم مقامات عراقية ؟ لابد ان يكون شعبا له حضارة والالات موسيقية . الشعوب التي قدمت من الصحاري او التي لم يكن لها حضارة لم يكن لها علم الموسيقى ولا يمكن ان تكون لها مدارس موسيقية تعتمد على علم الموسيقى والمقامات . ولما كان المقام مبني على العلم فلابد لشعب الرافدين ان يكون هو صاحب هذه الثروة الموسيقية والا لماذا سمي عراقي لأن منشاه هنا من هذه الارض وحتى الموالات الشعبية كالسويحلي والتي تعني بالسريانية ( اشتقتُ) والنايل التي تعني بالسريانية ايضأ

( عذاب , سقم ) وكذلك الأبوذية ,, كل ما هو عراقي الأصل .يعود الى الحضارة كذلك المقامات والاهازيج والمربعات بدلالة انها تغنى في العراق فقط لأنها هنا ولدت ولازال شعبها يغنيها حتى وان تبدلت لغته او معتقده فقد نقلها معه حينما اجبر على تغير لغته ومعتقده واسمه وحتى ملبسه وما التراتيل الا جانبا من تلك الالحان والانغام والمقامات من جنوب العراق وحتى شماله بل ابعد من ذلك بكثير وانتقلت الى شعوب مجاورة اخرى .. وقد اكد على ذلك العلامة المرحوم طه باقر حينما قال: ان هذه المقامات العراقية كانت موجودة في زمن الاشوريين والبابليين وكل ما حصل هو فقط غيروا أسماءها او صُحفت. وذكر العلامة المرحوم طه باقر اسماء معظم المقامات العراقية باسامئها الاشورية ـ البابلية ( الأكدية ) . ومن الجدير بالذكر ان اجدادنا الاشوريين والبابلين والسومريين قد ابتكروا السلم الموسيقي السباعي واستعملوه في موسيقاهم , غنائهم وتراتيلهم قبل غيرهم ولا يزال يستعمل في التراتيل الكنسية وعلى معظم المقامات العراقية المعروفة . في عام( 1929م ) أكتشف عالم الآثار البريطاني السير (لينارد وولي ) في مدينة أور جنوب العراق، في قبر الملكة ( بو آبي ـ شبعاد ـ 2450 ق.م) مجموعة من القيثارات وآلات موسيقية ذات أوتار متعددة ، وكانت من بين هذه القيثارات المكتشفة قيثارتان 1ـ الذهبية 2 ـ الفضية والتي يعود تاريخهما إلى (2450 ق. م ) أي قبل زهاء 4470 سنة . القيثارة الذهبية محفوظة اليوم في المتحف الوطني العراقي قسم السومريات في بغداد، اما القيثارة الفضية فهي محفوظة في المتحف البريطاني ـ لندن وكل قيثارة تحمل احد عشر وترا ً . وهذا يدل على ان السومريين كانوا قد بلغوا درجة عالية من التطور في الموسيقى ومنهم انتقلت الى الشعوب المجاورة . وقد اكتشف العلماء كثير من هذه الالات المتطورة في المقابر الملكية من هذه القيثارات تحمل ثمانية اوتار وقسم منها احد عشر وترا وأخرى ثلاثة عشر وترا . وكان السلم الموسيقي لدى السومريين سباعياً. ولما اعتنق احفاد السومريين والبابليين و الاشوريين المسيحية نقلوا معههم ذلك الميراث العظيم والتراث الخالد في الموسيقى والترتيل وكان خزيناً هائلا من الالحان والانغام وحتى الصلوات والممارسات الدينية والتقاليد الاجتماعية ,لحضارة عظيمة دامت الافا من السنين, ورثها شعبنا من اجداده , من معابدهم وشعائرهم الدينية كاعياد اكيتو وقصة الخليقة وملحمة كلكامش وقصة الطوفان وغيرها نقلها الى معتقداته الجديدة واضاف اليها اشياء اخرى من ابداعاته ولكن الاساس كان هنالك في مهد الحضارة عند اجداده . شعبنا لم ينقطع عن حضارة اجداده وتراثهم وميراثهم رغم زوال حكمه السياسي ورغم كل المأسي والدمار الذي اصابه , لآننا لا زلتا نعيش على ارض اجدادنا العظام ونتكلم لغتهم ونرتل تراتيلهم والحانهم وانغامهم . الذي تغير هو الشكل فقط . ولو سالت ياصديقي الاساتذة الأفاضل في المعهد الكهنوتي المختصين بالتراتيل والموسيقى والتاريخ سيؤكدون لك ما ذهبتُ اليه ,لأن وجودنا التاريخي والاجتماعي والديني والادبي والفني لم يبدأ قبل خمسمائة عام فقط ,كما تفضل يا صديقي الفاضل , بل منذ ان علَّم اجدادنا البشرية اسس الحضارة من القراءة والكتابة الى علوم الفلك والرياضيات والقوانين والموسيقى والترتيلكان ذلك كما ذكرنا قبل اكثر من ( 4500 ) عاماً , يوم كان كثير من الشعوب لا زالوا من سكان الكهوف والغابات لم تنضج عندهم حتى اللغة البسيطة للتعامل مع البشر


“Qyouda D’Libbi” – A review by Helen Talia

Assyrian Bands in Iraq ذكريات الفرق الاشورية في العراق

Compiled & written by Moneer Cherie.


Bands in general are a small ensemble of musicians, mainly playing folk and pop songs, they usually consisted of a singer, drummer, Keyboard/organ, Guitar and Bass players.

I believe the earliest Assyrian “western instruments” bands were formed in the early 1940s in the city of Habbaniya, later on, when Assyrians dispersed all over Iraq, many bands formed in different cities including Kirkuk, Baghdad, Nuhadra, Nineveh, Basrah and anywhere which had a large Assyrian community.

During mid-1940s and until late 1950s there was a Music Band under the name of ‘Assyrian School Band’, the Band as well as the Dramatic Section were sponsored by the Assyrian School in Kirkuk. The Banjo music player and singer of the band sang in two languages Assyrian and Armenian, he was John Moses who used to entertain guests in some of the weddings and parties in Kirkuk.
Assyrian School Band consisted of these members: Shaul Khzeran, Emmanuel Marcus, Ablahad Lazar, Paul Marcus, Youaw Baijan, Edward Latchen, Samando Khzeran, Napoleon Lazar, Abe Babisha, Alfred David, Shaul Khzeran, Ashour Solomon, Waltin William.

Sources for information on this subject are limited to very few interviews, articles, social media and my personal collection. I tried my best to document or highlight early active bands in Iraq, The article is “work in progress”, So please feel free to message me with any useful information, comments or pictures you may have on this subject? And your help will be appreciated and credited.

Writing about Assyrian bands in Iraq, is filled with many obstacles, for example Band’s names may have remained the same but members were frequently replaced; Bands broke up, members joined other established bands or formed their own new bands, making it harder finding out all the musicians and singer’s names for each band over the years, but I hope this would be a good introduction on this subject.

(Please note; the quality of audio in this article might not be perfect, as many of the cassettes that survived are in used condition):





Arabella Band founded in Habbaniya, performing here in 1957 in Baghdad, at the US embassy, with first Assyrian Saxophone player Zacharia Odisho.









Assyrian Band in Kirkuk (1950s)
(L-R): Walten William, Yousif, Youel Khanania, Emmanuel Benyamin.
Back (L-R): Akshirash Kambar, Veresh Karaken.




Andalous Band – Kirkuk

Photo dated to 1956

1- Warda Khio: Al-Daf (Raq)
2- Benyamin: Drum
3- William John: Accordion
4- Amanuel Markos: Trumpet
5- Henri Karam
6- Paul Markos: Saxophone


Photo dated to Mid-1960s:
William: Singing at a social party in Baghdad.
Saxophonist is his brother Wilson,
and accordionists are the late Babajan Yonan,
Avshalim Daniel (photo Ben Yalda).

The Tornadoes

The members of the Tornadoes Band changed:
Originally, they were 5 members:
William Kanoon Cheery: Lead Guitar (Band Leader),
Ben Eramia (Drums),
Wilson Hanna (Vocals),
Dimitri John (Rhythm Guitar)
Oraham Khoshaba (Bass Guitar).

Then Dimitri left the band and Wilson Hana reverted back to playing his instrument (Bass Guitar).
As well as vocals. Oraham Khoshaba became the rhythm guitarist.

Occasionally Johnson Youkhana used to join (the second band) playing the Organ and Accordion. Johnson Youkhana was a talented musician who played Trumpet, accordion, piano and organ.

Then in August 1969 and after graduating with a B.Sc. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Uni of Baghdad, William Kanoon, left Iraq for graduate studies in London. In 1973 William came to Australia and played with 2 groups for a few years before deciding he had enough.

At Dora Club 14.August.1968

William Kanoon Cheery on guitar
Wilson Ablakhad Shino on drums
Wilson Hana (vocals and bass guitar)










The Tornadoes: Performing at the University of Baghdad,
College of Engineering in 1968
From L to R:
Ben Eramia: Drums
Dimitri John: Rhythm Guitar
Wilson Hanna(vocals & bass guitar)
William Kanoon Cheery: Lead guitar
Oraham Khoshaba Gabriel: Bass Guitar








J. Jones Band

1. Jacob Aziz: Saxophone
2. Awesha: Guitar & Singer
3. Johnny abu Don: Guitar
4. Dawka: Drummer






J. Jones Band

Played on the first single record by Youaw Iskhaq, produced in Iran 1967, William Kanoon Cheery Played Guitar on record.



Shawel Malko with Buzz Band


The Pals Band – Awimalk Haidar

Awimalk Haidar: Singer and Musician, played with couple of band, his 2nd band was called “Pals Band”, photo below, he also released vinyl records in Iraq on Caravan label with Diamond Band (info below)

Pals Band 1966 With Awimalk Haidar on Guitar (2nd from R), and Romeo Hanna on Bass (1st R)


Diamond Band

William Ablahad: Guitar
Ashor Y. Nona: Violin
Moshi Youkhannan: Clarinet
George Henry: Drums
William Nicola (Dinkha): Composer/Accordionist


Awilamlek Haider Vinyl record released in Iraq with Diamond Band.



From Left:
Robert: Drums
Orahim:  Guitar
Ashur Bet Sargis: Guitar & Singer
Johnson Aghajan: Saxophone

Another Akitu Band photo with Orahim on mic singing – Baghdad

Photo of Ashur Bet Sargis with Hunters Band.


Bat Band

David Michael Canoon, original founder of Bat Band. Iraq

Bat Band with Sami Yaqo at Assyrian Sports Club in Dora-Baghdad 1974

David M.Canon: Guitar
Odisho Paul: Organ
Sami Yaqo: Singer
Sam Canon: Drums
Dawood Sargis: Bass



Singer David Esha with Bat Band at an Assyrian picnic in Baghdad

The Bat Band with Yousif (Oce) Rasho 1986 Baghdad
Oce Rasho: Singer
David Canoon: Guitar
Robert Canoon: Drums
Nabeel Khamo: Orgen
Zaya Youkhanna: Bass

Sang by: Oce Rasho with Bat Band, Iraq 1986 party.


Bat Band: (US branch) released few studio albums in America with different band members, this is the 1982 cassette cover with:

Hikmat Tammo: Bass
Edward Notali: Keyboard
John Rustan: Guitar
Shimshon Michael: Drums

#1 – Yalkhto Beteh (Vocal: Edwar) produced in USA


Black Birds Band 1970-1972

(photo taken in Sarsank – North Iraq)

David Esha: Singer
James: Guitar (right)
George M. Lawandow: Keyboard
Menas: Bass (left)
Hikmat: Drums



Los Bravos Band


1967 Dora-Baghdad

1968 Dora-Baghdad

Amo Simon: Guitar and Singer (with mic)
Rennie Daniel: Guitar (2nd from left)
Robin George: Bass
Donny George: Drums


The Dreamers

Assyrian Club in Kirkuk, the 70’s
Alexander Yousif: Guitar

George Elias – Rose Band

His first band was named Rose Band in 1973 in Baghdad, they played at Ur Family club, with his sister Suaad Elias and the late Guitarist Oshan Chano.

George Elias: Singer
Oshan Chano: Guitar & backup singer



Spiders Band

















Albert Oscar Baba with Spiders band in Iraq

Albert Oscar on Guitar with Spiders band – Iraq

(Al-Barak) released tape by Albert Baba with Spiders band.


Josef Trio Band

The band was founded in 1963 in Erbil and the band members were:

Josef Khamo: Singer & Guitar
Jan Tomas: Drums
Chopin Israil: Bass Guitar
Jaleel: Keyboards













77 Band

Band was established in Baghdad in the early 70s and it remained till late 80’s

Singer: Tony Andrews
Guitar & vocalist: Robert
Keyboard and backup vocals: Johni Younadim
Drums: James Younadim
Bass: Thaher

The band released an album with the late George Khamis in 1979 produced by Al-Baraq Music shop. album contained 11 tracks


Reek Band ريك باند

This photo is of the band’s singer Tony Andrews (arrow), this photo was taken in 1979 at the public Social club in Iraq, Tony is also the son of king Biba’s brother, next to him in this picture is Robert on Guitar, this photo is actually of the (77 Band).

The Pilots band

The Pilots band was started in the early seventies with Sam Hanna on lead guitar, Youel Talia on Drums, Ara on Bass and Nahmir on the Organ. Later on Edmon Hanna joined the band playing lead guitar, Sam Hanna moved to playing the Bass, and Nadro Hanna also joined on rhythm guitar, and finally Giovanni (John) joined the band playing the Congo and Percussion.

Pilots Members were:
Nadro Hanna: Lead & Rhythm Guitar.
Edmond Hanna: Vocalist, Lead & Rhythm Guitar.
Sam Hanna: Bass & Lead Guitar.
Giovanni (John) Hanna: Drums & Percussion
Yoel Talia: Drums & Vocalist from 1971-1978.













Youel Talia (marked with yellow star), was the drum player and also singer, and later was member of Why-band. He released three albums, two in Assyrian and one in Arabic.










Season Band


Season Band, named by the people of Kirkuk. The singer of the band was Edmon Season, he begun singing in 1983 with band till 1990, but later moved to Baghdad and joined “We Boxer” band in till leaving Iraq in 1994

Season Band members in Kirkuk 1983:
Singer & Guitar: Edmon Season
Shmael: Drum
Fareed: Keyboards


WE Band


Early We-band members from the 1970s

Aprim Iskhaq Barwari: Organ
Robert Iskhaq Barwari: Guitar
David Santana: Drums
Salim Esho: Bass Guitar

One of the oldest bands, and was formed in Baghdad, This photo was taken in Baghdad with Ogin Bet-Samo on Guitar next to the keyboard player. (Photo taken at the Assyrian National club – Baghdad).

Band members in above photo:
Singer: Johnson Gabriel (seated)
Keyboard: Edwar William
Guitar: Ogin Bet Samo
Drums: Sargon Daniel
Bass: Youbert Yokhanna


Ogin Bet Samo photo with We Band in Iraq, he was member from 1976 to 1979 (photo taken at New Year party in district-52 club)












Photo taken in Mosul

Singer (R) with Mic: Laith
Guitar: Faris Esho
Drums: Sufyan
Bass: Salim

We Band in 1980 at Assyrian Sports Club in Dora Baghdad. with 1980s band members

Salem: Bass
Youbert: Drums
Adwar: Keyboards
Sargon: Guitar

We Boxer Band

Later, the remaining We band members joined Boxer-band and formed a new band called “We Boxer” band.

Released an album in 1984 in Iraq

Lyrics & Music: Edwar William
Singer: Edwar William

Edwar William: Organ, Violin, Bass
Napoleon Zia: Guitar
Salman (Sam) Shlimon: Drums


Also in 1993 We Boxer band released an album with Edmon Season as the singer (Cassette cover below):











Heewi Band

Found in 1989 in Ankawa – Erbil, band members were:

Osama jameel: Singer & Keyboards
Woodman Darman: Singer & Guitar
Walten Darman: Bass Guitar
Bassam Jameel: Drums













Shamiram Band

Emmanuel Bet Younan with Shamiram Band from Kirkuk, he formed the band in 1981. This picture was taken at the “nadi muazafin” in Ankawa – Erbil.

Singer: Emmanuel Bet Younan
Guitar: Albert Youkhana
Organ: Sabah Shimon
Drums: Alfred Youkhana
Bass: James Gabriel


Nahren Band – Ankawa (Erbil)

Nahren Band – Ankawa 1983

Singer & Guitar: Syrop (Aziz) Kanon (star)
Drummer: Ramzi
Bass Guitar: Woodman Darman (right pic)
Keyboards: Emmanuel



Sweet Band

One of the most known bands in the 1980’s in Baghdad was SWEET BAND

From 1990 to 1992:
Salem Sefo: Singer
Joseph Isaac: Drums
Eisho George: Keyboards
Benjamin Isaac: Bass Guitar

The Band released a number of cassettes which featured Salem Sefo singing cover songs of Assyrian hit songs, with an amazing and talented band members including; Eisho George on Keyboards, the band won over the heart of Assyrians in Iraq and to this day their numerous parties are remembered fondly by their fans.











The band released a live Cassette of cover versions in 1993 in Iraq, this time the band singer was Zaya Zamara (in red), and album featured a female singer by the name of Fayrooz Francis. Keyboard players on this tape were Ebriss and Nisha. (Original tape cover on left).










From 1993
Zaya Zamara: Singer
Joseph Isaac: Drums
Ebriss & Nisha: Keyboards
Benjamin Isaac: Bass Guitar













Bee Band (B-Band)

An old photo of Bee Band with the late Biba just visible on the left with microphone in hand, not sure of date or location.

Bee Band was formed in 1974 and it started performing at the “Syriac Speakers association” in Baghdad.  Band members were:

Romeal Shib: Bass
Wilson Younan: Singer
Natheer: Drums
Johnny Dinkha: Organ
Nazar Yousif: Solo Guitar

Then in 1978 they contracted to play at the “Assyrian Sport Club” in Garaj Amana – Baghdad. And few Musicians were replaced.

Romeal Shib: Bass
Wilson Younan: Singer/Keyboard
James Raman: Drums
Farosh Mike: Organ
Nazar Yousif: Solo Guitar


The Band released a Cassette in 1979 with vocal singer Wilson Younan in Iraq, containing these songs:

1. Khabra Samana
2. KheZyali B’Ayda
3. Yemi
4. Kmat Gashqan
5. Helane
6. Zona Kapora
7. Akh Min Donye
8. Akh Min Donye (2nd Version)
9. Kheshana
10. Qamodee Atkha
11. Jmeelan Moresha








Wilson Younan: Guitar & Singer
Romeal Shiba: Bass Guitar
Johnny Dinkha: Keyboard
Muayed Marogel: Drums


Brothers Band

1. Sahir Edwar: Solo & Rhythm Guitar (album arranger)

2. Salam: Organ/Keyboards (album arranger)

3. Esmat: Drummer

4. Sargon Shimon: Singer

5. Wisam Edwar: Bass Guitar


Nuhadra Band 

Established in 1972 in Nuhadra (Duhok) was one of the main Assyrian bands in north Iraq, played at the Nuhadra club, one of their singers was the famed Janan Sawa,


Bright Band


Khalid Bright: Flute, Saxophone
Sargon Bright: Guitar
Frank Bright: Singer
Douglas: Bass


Sunny Band

Edward Bet Younan: Drum
Sargon El Moreno: Guitar
Yousif Yalda: Bass
Younan: Keyboards


Pylon Band

This photo was taken in 1983, band members are:

Pylon band 1983 standing from left me
top L: Rafael
top R: Yousif Yalda
Yousip Kamal


This photo was taken with Pylon Band members and Bright band members in Baghdad.


Nahrain Band (Ankawa)



Snake Band

Photo taken in 1989

Meikel Michael: Bass
Ashur Sabbo
Warda Khoshaba
Samir: Bass


Signal Band 1993-1994

Singer: Enwia
David Canoon: Guitar
william Wassim: Drums
Martin: Orgen
Jalil: Bass

Signal band at Damor Club, Baghdad 1993 -1994

cover song by Signal band’s singer Anweya Khamo in Iraq 1994




I would like to thank the few contributors to this article:

William Kanoon cheery, Frank Bright, James JT, Ogin Bet Samo, Mazen E. Adam, Ogin Eramia Shamoon, Osama Heewiband.