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Sitwa KoomA

Black Winter

"Assyrian Genocide"

A Suite for orchestra, choir and soloists

  • Music & Orchestration: Ediwn Elieh

  • Lyrics: Yosip Bet-Yosip

The Black Winter Suite is a collaboration between Assyrian poet Rabi Yosip Bet-Yosip and composer Edwin Elieh. This suite was performed at the first annual Mesopotamian Night concert in Los Angeles, California in 2015.


Rabi Yosip was inspired to write this poem after his study and research of diaries written by Christian missionaries and stories told by individuals who survived the 1915 genocide. This poem with original title of “The Assyrian Genocide of 20th Century” reflects a barbaric genocide of Assyrian Christians by Muslim extremists. They are pushed to either convert to Islam or die. Rabi Yosip masterfully describes the events of the genocide in such details that we can visualize the events and feel the sorrow of this mass murder.




Annabelle Beit, Carmen David, Maryam Kouchari, Frida Malekdavoud, Monika Malekdavoud, Neneveh Oksar, Rashel Pakbaz, Sabrina Sarkis, Joseph Dadashadeh, Daysan Bitmansour, Atibel Chalabi, Eilbron Baniadam, Eddie Baniadam, Willard Danilo, Julian Gigola, Mishel Lazar

Orchestra Conductor: John Kendal Bailey



The Black Winter Suite was licensed as feature performance for Mesopotamian Night concert in memory of the 100 year anniversary of 1915 Assyrian Genocide.

ENKIANU Creations is working to release this album in the near future.





The Black Winter Suite consists of four movements and each describes a separate part of this tragedy.


First movement, “Sitwa Kooma (Black Winter)”, has a simple village-like theme that describes how people in a village of Urmie are happily prepared for the winter. They are going about daily life without knowing that the enemy is preparing his attack near the borders.

Second movement, Pooqdana D’ Mota (Death Order) describes the anti-Christian forces are following their orders, attacking the village and brutally murdering defenseless, innocent people. This movement has a complex rhythmic part that describes the attack and it is followed by a slow and tragic music for soloists that relates to the outcome of the attack.

Third movement, “Kwachta Janjiranta (Torturous Migration)” captures the tragic escape of people who ran from the enemy toward mountains. This group of Assyrian suffered from the cold winter of Urmie. Many of them died of hunger and diseases during their migration to a safer place. Music sets the scene of migration with choir and describes the harsh conditions of individuals in snowy mountains with soloists.

Final movement, Raqa D’ La Praqa (Endless Escape) is the conclusion of this true event. It describes how Assyrian nation is never relieved from migrating. They lost two third of their population due to multiple genocides. As the choir sings the tragic music, we learn that the same story is repeating today for Assyrian nation.

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