What's trending in the world of Armenian culturePhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "Residues of a Slogan." Fotoistanbul 2015.
Soft as velvet: Miqayel Voskanyan & Friends' ‘homey’ tribute to ‘Makhmur Aghjik’ 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!
'My Artsakh': How a group of Canadian-Armenian vocalists created an unforgettable mash-up 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!
Your go-to Armenian cultural list! An antidote to viral isolation... 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...
'Inch G'ella': Collectif Medz Bazar is changing the tune of despair, that's what! 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.
'Bells & White Branches': ‘Tis the season for Gracie Terzian's ukulele 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…
'I Promised Her Life': Defying tradition through loss 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!
'Khrovats Er': The beauty of angst and despair The talent at TUMO Center for Creative Technologies seems boundless. Much has been said about their digital media and tech innovations, but their musical productions deserve equal praise. Check out this beautiful rendition of “Khrovats Er” by TUMO band Decibelle, featuring Element Band!
'Garmi': A soothing love song in the Hemshin dialect 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.
‘Im Chinari Yare’: The Kousan Chamber Choir's theatrical twist on a Komitas classic The lyrics are looped in pursuit of the significant other and the melody makes one dance on tiptoes. They ring down through the ages to spin a jovial celebration of love. Yet, there is more to the newly released video clip of the song by the Hamazkayin Kousan Chamber Choir of Lebanon. It highlights the vibrant side of a pioneering composer’s legacy and imbues his creative world with tangible warmth.
Sounds of Sevan: Delight in the acoustics of Armenia’s beloved lake 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!
‘Lala & Ara’ and ‘Arti’: Bringing colorful language to a new whole dimension This Christmas, consider the priceless gifts of language and script! Download the “Lala & Ara,” free and interactive mobile apps and experience our beautiful mother tongue and alphabet with the youngest members of your brood.
'Ari Im Sokhag': Armenia’s favorite lullaby No list on Armenian folk music would be complete without the inclusion of the lullaby, "Ari Im Sokhag" ("Come Hither, My Nightingale"). There are countless versions of this song all over the Internet and it remains one of Armenia’s favorite folk songs, which may seem baffling. Why so much love for a children’s song?