23. March 2012

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

Choeur de Saint Yaréd & Alèmu Aga Voices from the earth

Introductory talk
Francis Falceto
(editor of the “Ethiopiques CD Series”)

Choeur de Saint Yaréd: Gebremeskel Mulu, Daniel Seifemichael, Encobahry Tekeste, Samuel Ayehu, Senay Densa, Tilahun Eshetu

Alèmu Aga (bèguèna)

Until today, in the rock churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia, the liturgical chants of the Coptic Orthodox church are being performed. The chants go back to Saint Yaréd, a scholar and musician who lived and worked in Aksum in the sixth century (501-576 A.D.). After the downfall of the Aksum kingdom in the 12th century the kings of the Zagwe dynasty took refuge in a region southeast of Aksum, where the city of Lalibela (formerly Roha) evolved as the “New Jerusalem” of the North-African Christian people. Today, the monolithic Lalibela churches that were carved into the rocks during the mid-13th century belong to the UNESCO World Heritage. The unique buildings provided shelter for the Coptic Christians in Ethiopia who were surrounded by spreading Islamism.

Today, counting close to 40 million believers, the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church is the biggest Christian church family of the oriental world. On holidays and in daylong marches, believers still pilgrim to the sanctuaries in the rocks of Lalibela—and then, from the earth, ancient liturgical chants arise.
Now, the Choeur de Saint Yaréd is taking these chants to IMAGO DEI and the Minorite Church. Together with the North African vocalists, who, after the Ethiopian monks and scholarly clerics, are also called Choeur de Débtéras, a player of David’s harp is coming to Krems: Alèmu Aga, who was also here for Glatt & Verkehrt 2009, accompanies his religious stanzaic songs and folk ballads on the bèguèna, Ethiopia’s oldest musical instrument, which, according to legend, descends from the “harp” the later King David used to play 3000 years ago. This instrument, recorded in the Old Testament, consists of eight to ten gut strings. The playing technique of this lyre has been passed on in Ethiopia for one millennium. Up to now, the bèguèna can be heard at religious celebrations, yet always outside of the church where only the chants of Saint Yaréd may sound.

€ 25.- / 22.-

FILMTIPP: Kino im Kesselhaus, March 23, 4 p.m

One of the most impressive films from Ethiopia to open up your mind to the culture and tradition of this country.
(Free admission with a valid IMAGO DEI ticket for March 23)

© Florian Schulte

© Florian Schulte