Changing patterns in the transmission of folk music couldn’t have been more exciting. By breaking away from pedagogical conventions of formal music education, TmbaTa, the folk-rock orchestra at TUMO, is on a “quest to find the source of the Armenian spirit.” The eleven-member strong band has shaped a modern concept of Armenian music that stemmed from past centuries. One could call it the "new folk music" with influences from diverse musical experiences and a variety of instrumental combinations. How did it all come about? We set down for an exclusive interview with Arik Grigoryan, the man who made it happen!
People usually view, watch, touch, and experience art for entertainment, a tingling of the senses, emotional connectivity, or to develop a deeper understanding of art. Not with Lara, an artist, whose shiny, luminous art is appreciated for its sunny palette.
Generations of Armenians have been haunted by the crane, one of the most potent and emotive symbols ingrained in the Armenian psyche. Ever since Komitas Vardapet addressed the bird in his soulful song of a wanderer, “Oh crane, don’t you have news from our homeland?” it has been associated with ill omen, leaving the question unanswered. In the final poem of the “Artsakh Trilogy” Harasharzh gives an ironic twist to the folk-based story of the past. Steeped in renaissance style and contemporary references, the poet’s words act like a mantra in these trying days.
"New Navasardian, a Sullen Ode" is Harasharzh's second poem published by h-pem.
The poet addresses Daniel Varoujan, a martyr of the Armenian Genocide, looking for wisdom in his eponymous pagan song, while the Artskah war is entering its most virulent phase. Resilience in dealing with loss remains an amorphous mix of grim sacrifice and hope, as the poet evokes the ancient gods of Armenian mythology, and challenges Varoujan in his optimism about the nation's future.
Can we expect war to give rise to creative beauty? What is the role of poets in contemporary warfare where sensational media leaves little to the imagination? Do poets still have to bear testimony to war? Stir feelings? Raise arguments? Can war poetry become a path to redefine identity? In "Vaspurakan's Echo," the first poem of the "Artsakh Trilogy," Harasharzh, a young American-Armenian poet, draws answers from history, literature, and the spaces between.
In this exclusive interview, Serj Tankian speaks candidly with h-pem editor Rupen Janbazian about everything from the Armenian community's reactions to System of a Down's early days to his move to New Zealand, his years of activism, and his lifelong love for Armenian culture.
It’s World Wildlife Day! Our focus at h-pem today is on "Pegasus," the poem based on the divine horse in Greek mythology, that fueled the imagination of Daniel Varoujan, one of the early 20th century’s most celebrated Western Armenian poets.
The Nairyan Vocal Ensemble actively participated in releasing patriotic songs and keeping up the morale of the nation during the 44 day Artsakh war in autumn. As we honor the troops of Armed Forces in Armenia and Artsakh on Army Day, we dedicate the ensemble’s a cappella rendition of “Martiki yerg” (“Մարտիկի երգ” | “Soldier’s Song”) to those who fought bravely to defend our motherland.
Hearts quiver with the questions posed in Arthur Meschian’s uniquely rebellious rock-prayer “Ur eir, Astvats” (“Ո՞ւր էիր, Աստուած” | “Where Were You, God?”), especially after a year of loss, heartache, and looming dangers in our homeland. While many Armenians struggle to come to terms with the catastrophic changes in Armenia and Artsakh, Sandra Arslanian, a Beirut-based Armenian singer, and C-rouge, a Yerevan-based musician, collaborate for a celestial rendition of the song. Why would it matter that a new version of an old favorite was premiered just before the end of the year? H-pem reflects on the origins of the song and the remarkably cathartic new single, with illuminating quotes from exclusive interviews.
On Sept. 27, the peaceful people of Artsakh awoke to the sound of missile strikes crashing down on their homes. In the two weeks since, this storied, ancient homeland has become the battleground for renewed violence. As an arts and cultural platform, we hope to offer some solace, strength, and solidarity through the written form. The words of beloved Artsakhtsi poet and playwright, Vazgen Ovian (1932-1987), ring as true today as they did when he penned them over 50 years ago…
These are trying times: The world is being overrun by an insidiously contagious virus, schools and businesses have shuttered, and people all across the world are physically locked-in and virtually logged-on.
Since the advent of the internet, many have posited whether the invention can bring us closer or drift us further apart. For the time being, our “real” world has been suspended and moved to a “virtual” reality. It is perhaps the biggest migration in the shortest span of time in history. If this crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we all need connection, community, and comfort.
One of the heartwarming sides of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an explosion of all three C’s—whether it’s neighbors singing songs from their balconies, museums posting exhibitions online for free, or musicians livestreaming their concerts.
Art is the antidote...