The Singer: Choral Explorers – Qudduson

Merit Ariane Stephanos, one of three singers with backgrounds in various Arab liturgies who have joined the Clerks … for Qudduson … together with George Qas-Barsoum, a practitioner of Edessan Syriac chant in Aleppo, and Abdul Salam Kheir, a singer, composer and oud player … she has brought an entirely different musical idiom to the Clerks’ usual repertoire.

 

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This article appeared in the March/April issue of The Singer magazine. (www.rhinegold.co.uk/thesinger)


Qudduson with The Clerks – Church Times Review

“One was aghast at the almost manic improvising skills displayed by Mr Kheir … and conversely by the delicate, doe-eyed intensity of Ms Stephanosʼs pleading exposition of Hellenic and Near-Eastern trope-filled formulae. Both seemed to live the music, not least when they shared an exotic duet (Ya man laʼibate) over a kind of ostinato in the ubiquitous oud … Even secular dalliance acquired a feeling of holy rapture, as if the spirit of Rumi and Sufism was hovering in the air.” (Roderic Dunnett)


Vortex Jazz Club Reviews

“Merit Stephanos infused the second set with a potent Arabian scent which, during the endearingly titled, “I’m his Darling, he’s my Darling”, brought the group to the zenith of their inter-genre philosophy … Stephanos’ vocals distinguished themselves with their Middle Eastern intonation, elegance and emotional intimacy. While Mick and Clarvis built to a cinematic depth, Stephanos sang the lyrics with a clear and resounding heart, producing an utterly compelling performance.”

 

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