The right questions—a world of answersPhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "I Will Talk to You About Time." Fotoistanbul 2015.
'Fantastic Komitas': TmbaTa’s musical rite of passage with Arik Grigoryan 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!
Posthumous vibes: The sun and hope of Harutyun Topikyan’s eternal love More than 40 days ago, on this day, amid the chaos of COVID-19 and the existential battles on various fronts in Artsakh, one of the titanic figures of Armenian choral music, Maestro Harutyun Topikyan, the artistic director and conductor of the Yerevan Chamber Choir succumbed to the vicious virus, months after candidly exposing his unwavering love for Komitas Vardapet in a candid interview with h-pem contributor Gohar Topchyan.
For those who need it: A brief introduction to Deradoorian In 2014, when Martin Scorsese introduced a digitally enhanced version of Sergei Parajanov’s “The Color of Pomegranates” in Toronto, he prompted the audience that they would be participating in a screen experience “pretty much unlike anything in cinema history,” as articulated by The Guardian later that year. This description may be more than a fair introduction to the musical catalog of Angel Deradoorian.
Art, activism, and Armenia: Serj Tankian speaks candidly in h-pem exclusive 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.
‘The Serpent and the Crane’: A different kind of animal(s) for raising genocide awareness 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!
‘What Will Become of Us’: Doc about Armenian-Americans asks candid questions and tells remarkable stories “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.
Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Hagop Goudsouzian's ongoing exploration of identity Chances are you haven’t heard of Canadian-Armenian filmmaker Hagop Goudsouzian. Hard to imagine, when he has had such an illustrious and prolific career producing and directing television programs: well over 250 of them, in fact, mostly for public broadcasters in Canada. Since leaving the world of television, he has produced and directed several films, including the acclaimed National Film Board of Canada-produced 2004 documentary "My Son Shall Be Armenian," the French version of which ("Mon fils sera arménien") aired on national television both in Canada and in France.
C-rouge taps into Armenian folk treasures to make epic music C-rouge was one of the first musicians who ventured into the unchartered territory of integrating electronic sounds with Armenian traditional melodies in the early 2000s. Over the years, he has traversed his way through trance and house music, aiming high for a wide range of epic orchestral scales. In this exclusive interview with h-pem, he reveals how, deep in his heart, he has always longed for a special “something” that would make a difference for the music he grew up with and adored.
All roads lead to Armenia: How Toronto-Armenian singer Eileen Herosian found home(land) 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.