The Key to the Bubkey Formula


It has been confirmed, for some time now, that the overnight Assyrian music sensation, “Bubkey,” will be performing in Chicago this Valentine. 

The once “youtube” performing artist that many of us watched assembled in a room with his guitar, replicating Ashur Bet-Sargis and Evin Aghassi released his first album, “Qeetary,” an 8-track compilation of Assyrian songs, all written by Albert Orahim,  earning him title and respect across the international Assyrian community. 

But let’s retrieve some artifacts on this lad who was born in the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh.  Bubkey earned his nickname, “Ba-bik-ko,” from his father, who gave him the namesake of his own father, Warda Issac, (Bubkey’s grandfather).  His family relocated to New Zealand, almost immediately after Bubkey’s birth, where he grew up with three brothers Lenken, Leonard, and Leon, before making Australia their new home.


Just how did this young man come to such authenticity and talent, despite being raised in the Diaspora?  The fact is his father, Elia Issac, an oudist, has had a tremendous influence on Bubkey and his brothers.  By the age of eight, Bubkey was already enrolled in an Assyrian school, where he had mastered his mother tongue and fallen in love with the Assyrian music.   Personally, however, he will admit that he owes falling for his first love, his nation, to the pictures of the Assyrian Kings Ashurbanipal and Sargon II that were displayed around his house.


With introductions already in place, Bubkey has met with several Assyrian superstars during his first U.S. tour, (it looks like Canada will be borrowing him from us!) from Ashur Bet-Sargis, Evin Aghassi, Ogin Bet-Samo, Lida Lawando, Amanouel Bet-Younan (Bubkey’s idol), Albert Mansour, Ramsen Sheeno, Adonee Odisho, Samir Bahi, and Mukhlis Yousif, all of which resolve to one common denominator, that Bubkey is a sure thing.  Look for melodies from Alan George and Salim Sefo in Bubkey’s next album. 


In a correspondence with Assyrian legend Ashur Bet-Sargis, this is what he said to me ~ “Bubkey is a true artist, musician, and singer with a natural voice that has captured the hearts of lots of fans, and thus he has a very bright future ahead of him.  He is a very humble, down-to-earth person with a great personality, and this is what audience respond to.  I had the pleasure of meeting him, needless to say, and I will be very pleased to have him sing my composition sometime in the near future.”


Most recently, Bubkey was rated 54% most popular new singer on the website, and the most viewed album for three consecutive months on, a good indicator that the release of “Qeetary” was a success. 

“But despite his recent rise to fame and good looks, Bubkey remains simple,” says Orahim Lazar, an Assyrian lyricist who has grown very fond of the young man.  I asked Orahim what was the key to the Bubkey formula, and this is what he told me ~ “Bubkey’s beauty starts on the inside, he is a beautiful soul.”


Fans everywhere are well aware of this, and that among the many things in Bubkey’s life, he remains passionate about his guitar, laptop and chai.


Artist: Bubkey

Album: Qeetary

Year: 2009

Lyrics: Albert Orahim

Arrangements and Recordings: Evan Yako at Real Rhythm StudiosGenre: Folklore 

~ Helen Talia, Chicago