Maria Keyrouz – Byzantine Chant

On the whole I found boarding school a period of uninterrupted boredom, though took some relief each morning in compulsory attendance at the school chapel. Though I don’t consider myself a believer I’ve always loved churches for the architecture and the music.

Later when I spent a year in Paris, on one of my weekly visits to a favourite bookshop, I discovered Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, built in the 13th century, one of Paris’ oldest religious buildings, a place of worship for Melkite Christians. I was fortunate to hear one of the oldest forms of Christian liturgy: a rite for Easter Saturday.

It seemed an appropriate time to share a favourite piece of music. Sometime after discovering Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre – a venue also for one of the last “Dada excursions” – I found a cassette tape, in a market stall on the banks of the river, of the extraordinary Maria Keyrouz singing at the church. She sings a Byzantine chant for Easter.

It is a very ancient, Middle eastern form of music, a hypnotic and unearthly drone, the sound perhaps that angels would make.

4 thoughts on “Maria Keyrouz – Byzantine Chant

  1. Beautiful! I stumbled into a Melkite church in the Old City of Jerusalem. A chanting priest waved me in and gave me books to follow along and after the Liturgy, as I was talking to him, he said “I decided to let the parish priest say the Liturgy today.” Confusedly I asked, “Let him?” And he said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you: I am the Melkite bishop of Jerusalem.” You never know who you’ll meet!


    • My pleasure, Des. The music’s Middle Eastern origins also reminds me that Christianity, Judaism and Islam all come from the same place, which somehow offers a glimmer of hope.


Post a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s