When Armenian-American composer John Hodian first heard Hasmik Baghdasaryan’s striking timbre, ringing across the sacred columns of Armenia’s Garni Temple, he was transfixed—he knew he had to work with her, but had no idea how. It took several years of ruminating and rummaging through some dusty manuscripts before he came across a fragment of a poem by Mkrtich Naghash, a long-forgotten 15th-century Armenian priest and poet from Dikranagerd (modern-day Diyarbakir). Hodian—at that point, a listless NYC composer who had just moved to Armenia—had finally found his inspiration: or in show tune-speak, the Hammerstein to his Rodgers.
Have you ever witnessed the age-old Armenian tradition of jumping over a ceremonial bonfire in February? Perhaps you’ve participated the longstanding custom, but never understood the story behind it. The ritual has many names: Trndez, Tiarnundaraj, Derendez—but whatever you call it, it’s definitely one of the most fascinating—and potentially dangerous—Armenian traditions, still carried on today.
Imagine showcasing 1,300 years of Christian Armenian history in one exhibit. Now imagine that exhibit in one of the world’s most prestigious art museums. Exciting, right? 2018 has definitely been an exciting year to be Armenian. The latest string of exciting developments for our community is the “Armenia!” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which highlights the intersection of art, religion, and trade. Read our honest thoughts on this exhibit, then check it out for yourself before it closes next month!
At the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), interns never make coffee or grab dry cleaning—unless it is for themselves. Instead, they are entrusted with the sacred task of strengthening the political and economic vitality of our communities across the globe. Yet in-between meetings on Capitol Hill and conducting important research, these fascinating men and women took the time to contribute to our platform, adding their unique perspectives on Armenianness. Read on to see the result of this exciting collaboration, and why YOU too should get in on the action!
He is a seasoned stand-up comedian who makes awkward confessions and tells hilarious real-life anecdotes in a daring effort to break taboos. He is best known for his use of local words and flavors of the Armenian language to help us laugh at ourselves, yet he's a versatile artist who paints and writes with equal passion. Even at his most serious moment, when reflecting on everything from the creative process to why it matters to be Armenian, Vahé Berberian never fails to strike an ironic chord. We meet him twice in his birthplace Beirut, between his shows and lectures, in an attempt to connect with the wizard of art and humor behind the celebrity.
If you’ve ever watched a show or film and thought, “wow, that costume looks like taraz (traditional Armenian attire)” or “this soundtrack sounds super Armenian,” you’re not alone. There are many examples throughout Hollywood of Armenian references, characters, music, and even language. The wildly popular television series, Game of Thrones (GoT), takes place in a fantasy world, but derives many inspirations from real life places, icons, events, and people. As we gear up for the gripping season finale this Sunday, we thought we’d break down the show’s several subtle (and not-so-subtle) Armenian references. Whether fact or fiction, it’s all in good fun!
Beware of spoilers below!
Ever visited a breathtaking trail, a vast blue ocean, or some other natural wonder and thought, “someone should bottle up these soothing sights and sounds to savor them year-round”? Well, that is exactly what Sounds of Sevan has done with Lake Sevan—and they have taken her all the way to Britain’s capital!
The same year Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, the world’s tech capital inspired another ingenious endeavor: AGBU’s Silicon Valley chapter set out to create the world’s first online Armenian language program. In true tech fashion, the result was a groundbreaking program, forever changing the game of Armenian language learning
"Avlem Tapem Poshin" (“I’ll sweep and discard the dust”) is perhaps the funniest and most salacious traditional Armenian song we have ever come across. What began as a folk standard has become one of the most popular rabiz songs—in fact, most covers are in the rabiz genre.