Ashur Bet Sargis
Ashur Bet Sargis (Born in 2 July, 1949), is an Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and Singer. He became famous in the Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 communities worldwide for his nationalistic songs in the seventies.

Early career in Iraq

Ashur Bet Sargis was born in Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 in 1949 to an Assyrian
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

 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”:

Rise to fame

Shortly after the Ba'ath led revolution of 1968
Ba'athist Iraq
The History of Iraq , referred to as Ba'athist Iraq, covers the period of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party's rule over Iraq. Ba'athist rule in Iraq first occurred briefly in 1963 under Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr until overthrown that same year. Ba'athism was restored to power five years later after...

, Ashur fled the unstable political situation in Iraq in 1969, ending up in Chicago, IL. Two years later he formed his first band, “East Bird Band”, which released its first recording in 1973. In 1976, after relocating to Los Angeles, Ashur became the first Assyrian artist to tour overseas when he and his band played three sold-out shows in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Soon afterwards he would travel to Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, which at that time had the second largest population of Assyrians in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, and had long been a large producer of Assyrian music on the record labels that flourished in Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

 in the days before the Islamic revolution such as Irangram and Monogram. After two weeks of performances there, he returned to Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 to record his second album, “Ashur Sargis Sings for Ancient Assyria”, which included re-recordings of hits from the first album like “Tanilee Lay-Lay” (“Sing Me A Lullaby”, with lyrics by Assyrian nationalist leader Freydun Atturaya
Freydun Atturaya
Freydun Bet-Abram Atturaya was an Assyrian physician born in the town of Charbash in the district of Urmia in Iran. He was sent by his father to live with an uncle in Tbilisi, then in the Russian Empire, and studied medicine there. He worked as a medical doctor for the Russian Army as soon as he...

) and “Bet Nahren Atrewa”, as well as several other songs that have since become staples of his catalogue and concerts.

Later Years

Ashur is known for his staunch support for Zowaa, and he composed several songs for the movement. He also returned to Northern Iraq may times where he did many concert during Kha b-Nisan
Kha b-Nisan
Kha b' Nisan or Ha b' Nisin, also Ha b' Nison; "First of April", Resha d'Sheta; "Head of the year" in Syriac, also known as Akitu, or Assyrian New Year is the spring festival among the Assyrians, celebrated on 1 April....

 prior to the Iraq war. He is often featured at Zowaa sponsored festivals in Nineveh Plains
Nineveh plains
Nineveh plains is a region in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq to the north and west of the city Mosul. The area generally consists of three districts; Tel Keppe, Al-Hamdaniya, and Al-Shikhan...

 and Dohuk.

Ashur Bet Sargis lives currently in Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

. Although he often travels on tours in Europe and the Middle East.


To the contrast of most his peers Music, Ashur's music is slow and mellow. He is also known for incorporating Greek musical instruments such as Tambouras
The tambouras , is a traditional Greek string instrument. It has existed since at least the 10th century, when it was known in Assyria and Egypt. At that time, it might have between two and six strings, but Arabs adopted it, and called it a toubour...

 to his music.

External links

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