Arab Christmas, Exploring the Early Arab Christian Chants: A rare opportunity to hear chants from the Aramaic-Syriac and Byzantine traditions, harking back to the time of Queen Zanubia’s reign of Palmyra. It was in the second century that Christianity reached the ancient Syrian caravan city and witnessed the emergence of the first church melodies out of the secular Aramaic music of Syria and Iraq. Coptic Egyptian-German singer Merit Ariane Stephanos and Father Shafiq Abouzayd will introduce the audience to this music; and, in particular, to the chanting traditions of the Levantine and Byzantine churches. Accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Jon Banks on qanun and santur, this concert illuminates the earliest roots of Christianity and celebrates the diverse musical traditions of the ancient Middle Eastern world. Taking place on 7 January, 2017 at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.