Ancient cistern offers musical surprise in Jerusalem

STORY: Jerusalem’s ancient cistern holds a musical surprise

It's located just a few steps away from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CANTOR AT ST. HELENA'S COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH, BARAKAT AL-MASRI, SAYING:

"This cistern belongs to Queen Helana where she took water from and built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in around 325 AD. This cistern has an echo. Many people come here and record themselves singing because the sound is as if you are in a studio, perhaps even better, the sound that comes out of a group singing is very beautiful as if they are recording in a studio."

Al-Masri records music inside the cistern every Christian holiday

He has spent the build-up to Orthodox Easter

chanting hymns in Coptic and Arabic

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CANTOR AT ST. HELENA'S COPTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH, BARAKAT AL-MASRI, SAYING:

"The Coptic melodies are some of the church’s treasures. They have been passed down to us from our grandfathers and ancestors as early as the first centuries, which they used for prayers, and are still present. So for all occasions, the church has its own melodies, melodies that explain the meaning or the event that we are praying for and living at the church."

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