The 6th Annual Mesopotamian Night (2013) to Present “The Epic of Ishtar-Tammuz” in Honor of late Rabi Simon Amirkhas. Sadly, Rabi Simon Amirkhas did not live long to witness his song performed by new and wonderful arrangements for the symphony orchestra by Honiball Yousef
(Late Rabi Simon Amirkhas 1941 – 2012)
Rabi Simon Amirkhas was born on March 24th, 1941 in Urmia, Iran. His parents were Dr. Malkom Amirkhas and Nina Bet David. The Amirkhas family moved to Baghdad, Iraq in 1947 after the looting of Assyrian villages and persecution of Assyrian intellectuals who were involved and represented Assyrians in the Azeri Democratic Movement in Urmia from 1940 to 1945.
(Rabi Simon Amirkhas in younger age)
Rabi Amirkhas studied in Baghdad, Iraq, and in 1962 he graduated from Baghdad’s School of Law. It is known that he was the first Assyrian to be graduated from that school. In addition to Law, Rabi Amirkhas mastered Arabic language and literature and while he was only 22 years old, he taught Arabic literature in a university in Baghdad for three years. He was named “The Youngest Scholar of Iraq” by Iraqi Ministry of Education and Culture.
In 1969, he moved back to Iran and married to Mariam Maghdoosi. The fruit of this marriage was one daughter Eilbra, and two sons Ninef and Rameil.
While he worked as a law consultant for years in Iraq and Iran, Rabi Simon’s passion remained art and literature. Among his first publication was an Arabic translation of “Traveler of the Horizon” by Rabi Benyamin Yosip Gandalo which was originally published in Assyrian. Among his important works was a historical fiction in Arabic about ancient Egypt in the Assyrian period under the title “Blood In The Land of Pharaos” which was never given permission to be published in Baghdad.
Rabi Amirkhas was also a prolific poet. His poetry spans a variety of topics from historical to romantic. A large set of his poems have turned into Assyrian songs around the world and can be found in many albums.
Rabi Amirkhas with his family moved to United States in 2009 and settled in Los Angles California. Since then our Mesopotamian Night team had close contacts with him and we were working to select a set of his songs and poems for performance in our annual events. The first song that we chose was “The Epic of Ishtar-Tammuz” which was turned into a song by his son Ninef Amirkhas. Unfortunately, Rabi Amirkhas left us too soon on September 23, 2012 and did not get a chance to see the performance of his song in Mesopotamian Night events.
(Mr. Honiball Yousef)
This song was given to Honiball Yousef, an emerging Assyrian musician and composer in Tehran, Iran and the founder of Beneil Music Academy (http://beneil.com/) and the Messiah Ensemble for orchestration and arrangement for the symphony orchestra last year when Rabi Simon was still alive. This song will be feature presentation at the 6th Annual Mesopotamian Night in honor of late Rabi Simon Amirkhas in San Jose California on June 15th 2013.
(Honiball Yousef conducting in Tehran, Iran)