In her late 20s, Iran-born, Toronto-based Eileen Herosian felt like she needed a change. After working in a pharmaceutical company for about two years, she decided that she wanted to do something completely different; she wanted to study music—Armenian music...
Most folks in her position would dismiss the thought of switching careers as quickly as it came. Not Eileen, though.
“I decided—you know what? I just have to go for it.”
“It”—in this case—happened to be moving halfway around the world to her ancestral homeland to pursue her first love. “I found my purpose here. I found ways to change my attitude and become motivated here,” she explained at a Yerevan cafe as we chatted about her experiences of studying and living in Armenia.
Since switching gears and moving to her homeland, Eileen has performed with a number of ensembles, sang in front of crowds all around Armenia and Russia, and was even given the opportunity to learn under renowned Romanian opera star Mariana Nicolesco. Currently, Eileen is living out her dream of singing in Yerevan State Chamber Choir, under the tutelage of the legendary Maestro Harutyun Topikyan.
In this h-pem exclusive interview, Herosian discusses the highs and the lows of her journey that has taken her from Iran to Canada, and finally to Armenia, where she proudly calls home today.
As a kid, three VHS tapes I’d play over and over—to a point, where I had memorized every single word recorded: Disney’s “Aladdin,” the first “Harry Potter” movie (insert “Sorcerer’s” vs. “Philosopher’s” debate here) and, of course, the funky, gospel-soundtracked “Hercules.”
You remember the lyrics: "Who put the 'glad' in 'gladiator?' HERC-U-LES! Whose daring deeds are great theater? HERC-U-LES!"
All 9-year-old geeks have obsessed over Greek mythology, Ancient Egyptian history, or dinosaurs and fossils at one point. My weakness: the false gods of Mount Olympia! We Armenians aren’t too different from the Greeks, from geopolitical oppression by neighboring empires, to heavy-liquor-and-folk-dance feasts, our histories often click in harmony. And that’s especially the case for our mythologies where our gods aren’t much different (or less extravagant!). Which gods are the most popular in Armenian mythology and what features make them our all-time-favorites? Read on to find out!
Hiraeth (pronounced [hiraɪ̯θ]) is a Welsh concept of longing for home. "Hiraeth" is a word, which cannot be completely translated, meaning more than solely "missing something" or "missing home." It implies the meaning of missing a time, an era, or a person, including homesickness for what may not exist any longer. It is associated with the bittersweet memory of missing something or someone, while being grateful of that/their existence. It can also be used to describe a longing for a homeland, potentially of your ancestors, where you may have never been.
In the United States, just four percent of firefighters are women, but that has not stopped Ani Arzoumanian. The 19-year-old pre-med student and volunteer firefighter gives us an insider’s look at navigating this industry as a young female. Check out part two of her journey below!
In the summer of 2016, Souren Papazian, a then-recent grad from Columbia University’s Computer Science program, was placed in Artsakh for three weeks as a part of his community work as a Luys Foundation scholar.
“I found the people of Artsakh to be very different from folks in the rest of Armenia—different even from spyurkahais [Diasporan Armenians]. Just a different mindset and philosophy: reserved but kind, they don’t talk much, very into nature,” he explains.
Souren’s submission to h-pem is a series of 17 photographs taken on his iPhone during those three weeks in Artsakh—a collection of the faces and places that spoke to him most.
For the past decade, Lebanese indie-rock-folk band, Sandmoon, has been shredding up the local music scene with its fresh, fluid compositions. Helmed by Lebanese-Belgian-Armenian Sandra Arslanian, the group’s fourth studio album, “Put a Gun/Commotion,” drops this spring. Check out “Angels,” the second single off the upcoming record, in our video section below!
Moving from Glendale, Calif. (one of the largest Armenian populations in the Armenian Diaspora) to New Haven, Conn. (where Armenians are few and far between) wasn't easy for Nune Garipian. "No one could even pronounce my name,” she said during a recent conversation with h-pem. Soon after relocating, though, Nune would meet and develop a connection with a small group of Armenian students at her university. And after enrolling in a photography course to learn more about her hobby, she was given an opportunity to showcase how she and her friends incorporate their Armenian identities into their daily lives. We are happy to present the series as a submission, only on h-pem...
From Beirut to Boston to New York (and Beijing, Bogota, Moscow, Berlin, Katowice, and Ulaanbaatar in between!), Brooklyn-based architect and an urban designer Garine Boghossian is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and ways to be involved in her community(ies). Read her recent interview with h-pem below and find out what drives her, wherever she may be...
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…
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
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.
What happens when you defy tradition? In the gripping short family drama, “I Promised Her Life,” an Armenian mother tackles the interplay between tradition and agency at her daughter’s funeral. The result is a devastating rendering of death and the afterlife through cultural superstition. Watch the film online, for free!
At first glance, this song about a “red girl” seems like a beautiful, yet ordinary, Armenian folk love song. Except that it is neither a folk song nor Armenian—at least, not quite. “Garmi” meaning “red” in the Hamshen dialect (or “karmir” / «կարմիր» in Armenian) is a song composed by Meluses, a contemporary folk-rock band from Turkey. This soothing version, by two young Lebanese-Armenians, will transport you to the idyllic villages of the Hemshin people.