Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Epic Aramaic

MODERN ARAMAIC WATCH: In England, An Effort To Preserve Ancient, Epic Assyrian Poetry (Alice Fordham, WXPR).
[Nineb] Lamassu became an academic researcher and now travels among the Assyrian diaspora recording the epics as told by men he calls bards — including the storyteller he loved listening to in the refugee camp, whose name is Khananya Zayya. Years later, Lamassu tracked him down living in New Zealand.

"It almost felt I was back in the refugee camp, right in that tent on that cold winter night with him. He had not changed" — aside from a little artificial help keeping his mustache black, he says.

Lamassu tells me there's a bard living close by in Southall, London, so of course I travel to meet him.
With an audio report. And here's a summary of the article and audio file from a reprint by the Unrepresented Peoples and Nations Organization: Assyria: A Cambridge Researcher’s Efforts to Preserve Assyrian Poetry.
Cambridge University researcher Nineb Lamassu was recently interviewed by a British journalist about his efforts to preserve epic Assyrian poems. Because of the current situation in the Middle East and particularly in Iraq, Assyrian traditions and culture are slowly disappearing and being destroyed by ISIS. Lamassu met with several members of the Assyrian diaspora to record their voices and will make these recordings available on a Cambridge University online database.