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Qandisa Alaha and Covid-19. Syro Malabar children sing in Austin, Texas.

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AP 192 - Qandisa Alaha and Covid-19. Syro Malabar children sing in Austin, Texas.
Call Number

AP 192

Part Number Part I - Syro Malabar Church
Title Qandisa Alaha and Covid-19. Syro Malabar children sing in Austin, Texas.
Duration 4:28
Place of Recording St. Alphonsa Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Austin, Texas, USA,
Date of Recording 18 May 2020
Youtube URL
Video Segment (s)



Qandisa Alaha and Covid-19. Syro Malabar children sing in Austin, Texas

The children's choir of the St. Alphonsa Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Austin, Texas, USA, gives a new meaning to the famous Syriac chant at the time of an international disaster.See more details on this chant at our Encyclopedia of Syriac Chants ...


What is the connection between the popular Syriac chant Qandisa Alaha and the international disaster of the present time, Covid-19? Fr. Dominic Perunilam, Vicar of St. Alphonsa Syro Malabar Catholic Church at Austin, Texas, USA, thinks there is a connection. In the usual circumstances, the highlight of the text of this chant is the Thrice-Holy, the song text of the Angelic liturgy in heaven, as Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 6:3) and the author of the Book of Revelation envisioned (Revelation 4:8). Fr. Dominic, however, sees a semantic shift in the song in the present predicament. Fr. Dominic draws attention in his introductory comments to the last verse: Esraham alayn ("Have mercy on us"). In biblical times, we see several instances of people turning to God seeking mercy in dire need arising out of catastrophes. With that in mind, Fr. Dominic encouraged the children’s choir to sing the chant and post it on public media to soothe the viewers and draw their attention to the ever merciful God. The choir consists of exceptionally talented singers who created excellent audio and video tracks. The Children as well as the Choir Directors, Ajith Varghese, and Priya Varghese, deserve our hearty congratulations and gratitude. We thank Fr. Dominic Perunilam for granting permission to add this video to our archive for future reference. Scholars on the history of the Aramaic language in North America may find this and other videos of the Syro Malabar children singing Syriac chants useful. Although the vocal cords of these children are tuned to the sonorities of the American English, the sound of the Syriac language is smooth and pleasant in their choral articulation of the chant. The children may not be aware, but they are enriching the linguistic soundscape and rewriting the history of the Syro Malabar Church in the North American continent. We wish them very well and encourage them to return to our Aramaic Project archive ( in twenty years to see what they did as children. More importantly, they will have a story to tell their children and grandchildren.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
12 June 2020

Keywords: St. Alphonsa Syro Malabar Church, Austin, Texas, Fr. Dominic Perunilam, Trisagion.

User Comments

  • Dear All,

    I am so glad to inform you that our recent song project, “Qandisa Alaha” sung by our children was well appreciated and has reached into the hearts of so many music loving people all over the world. On the very first day of its publication, our Bishop Jacob Angadiath commented thus, “Congratulations!!! Beautiful singing of Qandisa Alaha by our children. My special greetings to all the children. Keep up the spirit.” Several priests and lay people from our Diocese called me and expressed their words of appreciation. We thank them all.

    Another important event happened recently. Fr. Joseph Palackal CMI, who is presently working in the Arch Diocese of New York and who is a scholar in music, the founder of Christian Musicological Society of India, dedicated for the promotion and regeneration of Syriac liturgical music, contacted me a few weeks ago. Fr. Joseph Palackal CMI is already well known for giving beautiful music to all the songs in the Syro Malabar Holy Qurbana in English.

    He happened to hear about our Syriac Song Project through his brother in Adelaide, Australia who in turn got the song forwarded from his other brother in Ernakulam. What a small world! Fr. Joseph liked the singing so much and asked me whether we would give permission to add this singing in his Syriac Music Archives. If you go through his Website, you can know all about his attempts to rejuvenate the Syriac Liturgical Songs in India, in the USA and elsewhere.

    With our permission and his professional editing, Fr. Joseph has added our song in his Archives with the Title, YouTube video Aramaic Project - 192 : Qandisa Alaha & Covid 19: Syro Malabar Children sing Qandisa Alaha in Austin.

    I am sure this will take our children’s singing to new realms in the future. Thank you very much Fr. Joseph for recognizing our children and encouraging us in our humble attempt. While thanking our children who sung the song and our Children’s Choir Directors who took all the pains to conduct this project, I invite you all to watch this song in the new decorated form and help the Aramaic Project by subscribing to their Youtube Channel.

    God Bless,
    Fr. Dominic Perunilam

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