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.
As the closest connection to our ancestors, grandparents provide an incalculable wealth of knowledge, in the form of stories and lessons. The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected the elderly, driving a physical wedge between us and our living treasure troves, who are left isolated and as fragile as ever.
At h-pem, we will publish a series of pieces, titled “Surj with Tatik,” dedicated to grandparents and what they mean to us. Some will be about rites of passage and discovery, others about heartbreak and family, food and careers, but at the heart of them all lies love. Check out the first piece below!
Throughout the past century, many artists, poets, and musicians have tackled the topic of the Armenian Genocide. Multidisciplinary writer and musician Alan Semerdjian and guitarist Aram Bajakian’s recent project, “The Serpent and the Crane,” processes trauma in a new light, while raising global awareness. Featuring artwork by Kevork Mourad (whom Semerdjian calls “a true visionary”) the spoken word album has achieved much praise and acclaim in the two months since its release. We had a chance to chat with Semerdjian about the record. Check it out below!
Architectural designer, photographer, and now writer Harout Dedeyan’s daily commute once involved a stroll on the Los Angeles metro, where he would often jot down notes and snap photos of the happenings along his journey. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commutes have been put on hold, but his project has shifted into gear. In this h-pem exclusive series, titled “Metro Commuter Shorts,” Harout shares some of the wild stories overheard during these rides. Check out the second installment, “Regulars,” below! (In case you missed it, scroll down to read the first installment, “Welcome to the Red Line.”)
Often overlooked, set and scenic design in films and theater play a vital role. So vital, in fact, that the prestigious annual Tony Awards has award categories for best scenic design. The award is split into two categories: Best Scenic Design in a Musical and Best Scenic Design in a Play.
Twenty-two-year-old Vazgen Barsegian has undergone quite the odyssey. Born in the bygone Armenian capital of Van (now located within the Republic of Turkey), now living in Glendale, Calif. (the unofficial capital of the Armenian diaspora), Vazgen’s passion and pursuits have led him to the internet, where he dishes up videos, tutorials, and performances on Armenian music, history, and all things Armenian for a wider audience. His YouTube channel, Vazgen the Urartian, offers up some sweet instructional content on traditional Armenian instruments. Check it out!
“Shining light on the overlooked and unspoken topic of the sociological dual burden within immigrant children... I have found a lack of coverage of this topic with respect to immigrant women.”
In this very personal and candid piece, Sareen Hadeshian explores the pressures on intergenerational relations in immigrant families and asks important questions about generational trauma, love of family and culture, and managing expectations.
“What Will Become of Us” is a deeply personal film, which follows the lives of 10 Armenian-Americans, all of whom have been impacted by the Armenian Genocide. We recently discussed the film with director Stephanie Ayanian (co-directed with Joe Myers) in this h-pem exclusive.
Perhaps no author has captivated the hearts and minds of Armenians—young and old alike—as intensely as Hovhannes Tumanian. Often mislabeled as a children’s writer, Tumanian’s “simple” style represented literature that was of, and for, the masses—meant to be consumed by all—regardless of age, class, gender, or education level. No wonder, then, he is considered the national poet of Armenia.
For the past nine years, the Miqayel Voskanyan & Friends Band (MVF Band) has been cementing their place in the Armenian music scene—and beyond. Their distinct take on the folk genre has taken them on tour across Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and there is hardly a club or venue in Yerevan where they have not jammed. These days, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced musicians inside. But the folks at MVF Band are undeterred. Check out the music video of their latest song, a beautiful cover of “Makhmur Aghjik,” below!
Chances are you’ve all heard the songs—classics and more recent ballads (six in all) dedicated to Artsakh, its history, its natural beauty, its people, and its heroes... But you’ve probably never heard them as a part of a mash-up! Read all about “My Artsakh” in this h-pem exclusive!
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...
In her new album, “Bells & White Branches,” jazz singer Gracie Terzian recreates six Christmas classics with her signature voice and everyone’s favorite tropical instrument: the ukulele! The result is a unique reimagining of these timeless tunes…
Stomp your feet to this latest Collectif Medz Bazar tune, full of raging emotional envy and a continuous pumping beat—a reflection of uncompensated affection (sans-melancholy). Directed and edited by the colorful genius behind their extravagant "Poshmanella" video, Samuel Buton, and shot at the New Morning in Paris, the “Inch G'ella” music video perfectly presents the second single from their third studio album, “O”—another collection of multilingual indie-folk-experimental hits from the eclectic group.