Lishana
1 track

Lishana (Jesus Spoke My Language)

Track Description

The Assyrian language, Aramaic, once the common tongue of the civilised world and most famously spoken by Jesus, has been spoken by Assyrians for over 3000 years but is now in danger of extinction. The song Lishana (which means “Language”) is a rallying cry for young Assyrians to preserve their language and not let it die out. The song begins with zurna, traditionally used in Assyrian culture to call people for a celebration, while a vocal hook starting with a happy “La La La” disguises a message to Assyrians not to forget their mother tongue. In classic Azadoota style, when the beat kicks in it’s a merengue groove propelled by guira, tambourine and layers of hand percussion. Lyrics in Assyrian talk of language as the soul of a nation and the one thing that holds a displaced people together. The chorus in English reminds us that Jesus spoke this language, and the point is driven home with punchy brass lines. At the end of the song, traditional zurna and dawola usher in the traditional “khiggeh yaqora”, a heavy 6/8 dance beat, and a chorus of young voices join Robin in urging Assyrian youth to rise up in celebration of their culture. Then the song switches back to merengue for the final message to the youth that they are the custodians of the language.

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Official Music Video

Against the backdrop of inner-Sydney suburb Rozelle, where the juxtaposition of heritage and contemporary streetscapes reflects the theme of continuity, the music video explores the lyric "imagine the world speaking Assyrian". It opens with a page from the The Syriac Gospel Lectionary, a large, profusely illustrated Assyrian gospel manuscript, produced in Mosul, Iraq between 1216 and 1220, and now in the British Library. Looking closer at the illuminated manuscript draws us into a contemporary scene where the band, who wear costumes derived from Ancient Assyrian dress, are busking in a market. When a mystery man throws an Ancient Assyrian gold coin into the sax case and hurries off, the band give chase. As they get closer to catching up with the mystery man, each modern day scenario they pass reveals the use of Assyrian language. Eventually they enter a courtyard banquet where they catch up with the mystery man, and “the world speaking Assyrian” comes alive with traditional folk dancing and celebration. As the last notes of the song fade, the “world speaking Assyrian” becomes the scene from the Syriac Lectionary, and the band take their places in the illumination as the folio closes.

Track Credits

Music and lyrics by Robin Zirwanda
Song produced by Azadoota
Robin Zirwanda - vocals and percussion
Ben Samuels - Sax
Nick Ciccarelli and Alex Batt - Trumpets
Alvin Ash - Bass
Vashti Sivell - Keyboards
Dorny Mayes - Guitar
Paris Freed, Sean Feldman, Chloe Corne and Josh Zirwanda - Backing vocals
Recorded at Linear Studios
Vocal production by Dorny Mayes
Mixed in Zirwandaland with Kevin "Kay-Kone" Bolleteau
Mastered at 301 by Andrew Edgson

Video Credits

Video produced by Diorama Pictures
Directed and edited by Cristina Dio
DOP Paul Van Kan
Production Designer Eve Waugh
Hair and Makeup by Tanya Monahan
Graphics by Ninos Aaron, Elle Zirwanda and Kevin Bolleteau
Band costumes designed and made in Zirwandaland
Other costume pieces from www.surya.com.au and www.assyrianheritage.com
Props designed and manufactured in Zirwandaland
Banquet by Mabil-Lee Hayder
Folk dancing by Assyrian Star Dancing Group
Dawola (traditional drumming) by www.cscustomz.com.au
VFX Mark Woszczalski
Colourist Feroz Shaikh
Filmed on location in Rozelle, NSW at Rozelle Markets, The Bald Rock Hotel and the Merton Hotel.
Featuring Robin Zirwanda, Nick Ciccarelli, Nick Ujhazy, Ben Samuels, Tatyana Dunlop, Maurice Henler and Taylor George.

Lyrics

No no no, don't forget your mother tongue.
Our mother tongue is so beautiful, It always fills our hearts with happiness.
I’m singing in my language for foreign people, To let them know who we are, the Assyrians.
Jesus spoke my language, Jesus spoke my language, imagine the world speaking Assyrian!
Jesus spoke my language, Jesus spoke my language, imagine the world speaking Assyrian!
We have one language, it’s very renowned. Throughout the world it was the basis of education
I will nurture and savour it like a teaspoon of honey. In my heart it will stay til the day I die.
Jesus spoke my language, Jesus spoke my language, imagine the world speaking Assyrian!
Jesus spoke my language, Jesus spoke my language, imagine the world speaking Assyrian!
I’m waiting, my motherland, for you to awaken. Look upon your sons and daughters, the foundation of our nation.
Your customs are practiced around the globe. Your love has no equal.
How long, motherland? You have not yet awoken.
Your sons and daughters are the foundation of our nation.
How long, motherland? You have not yet awoken.
I’m asking, lord, with your almighty strength, bless our people with a solution.
We have nothing left in the world aside from the beautiful language we have retained.
Jesus spoke my language, Jesus spoke my language, imagine the world speaking Assyrian!
Jesus spoke my language, Jesus spoke my language, imagine the world singing Assyrian!
Boys and girls get up, our time is now!
Boys and girls get up, our time is approaching!
Boys and girls get up, our time is now!
Boys and girls get up, our nation is awakening
No no no, don't forget your mother tongue.