The right questions—a world of answersPhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "I Will Talk to You About Time." Fotoistanbul 2015.
‘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.
From New York to Malawi and everywhere between: Meet global architect and urban designer Garine Boghossian 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...
Reckoning quarter tones and beating the odds: Barkev Taslakian reaches polyphonic peaks Looking up to his “great teacher” Komitas, Maestro Barkev Taslakian relishes in breaking the mold and making history. His Fayha Choir is all about presenting unprecedented a capella renditions of Arabic songs, which have resonated with and captured the hearts of international audiences. Taslakian takes this vision even further to topple negative stereotypes and to promote unity and cultural diversity in an ever-divided world...
‘Critical Distance’: Raffi Joe Wartanian challenges himself to make more with less Armenian-born, Baltimore-bred, world-traveled, Raffi Joe Wartanian, digs deep in his new album, “Critical Distance,” which is expected to drop in time for Armenian Christmas. We had a chance to chat with Raffi about the record’s all-acoustic sound, the magic of the oud, and which tracks his grandmother, Knarig, loves jamming to!
Jivan Avetisyan's mission: Telling Artsakh’s story—one film at a time If one thing stuck with me during my introduction to director Jivan Avetisyan about a decade ago, it was that in spite of his humble nature, he was very proud of where he was from. Fast forward several years and it seems little has changed. “I am from Artsakh. You know, my roots run deep in Artsakh,” he tells me, without even giving me the chance to utter my first question. As we converse in his downtown Yerevan office over strong Armenian coffee and in between a barrage of phone calls he has to ignore, years on, his focus—and his creative output—continues to be zeroed in on one thing: his beloved, still-unrecognized nation…