What's trending in the world of Armenian culturePhoto credit: Norayr Kasper, "Residues of a Slogan." Fotoistanbul 2015.
'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.
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!
'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?
'Leylum': Try not to dance when you hear this French ethno folk band, Collectif Medz Bazar, is comprised of young Armenian, Kurdish, Turkish, French, and American members from Paris. One of their most renowned songs, "Leylum," is based on the popular Sasuntsi wedding dance song, "Mayroke," about a beautiful, black-haired girl named Mariam—“Mayro” in the Sasuntsi dialect.
'Tamam Ashkharh': The multilingual gusan's masterpiece When 6’4’’ Russian-Armenian Eva Rivas burst unto the Armenian music scene less than a decade ago, many branded her the “Armenian Angelina Jolie." The attention on her looks quickly overshadowed her impressive vocals—that is, until she released her cover of "Tamam Ashkharh" (“The Whole World”). Then, it seemed like tamam ashkharh began to notice her musical talent.
'Here's to You, Ararat': Seeing the mountain from 'the other side' Grammy Award-winning Turkish-Armenian avant-garde folk artist, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, has been reinventing the modern Armenian folk genre for the past few decades. Though not a cover, the song "Here's To You Ararat," released with his group, the Armenian Navy Band, tells of Arto’s love for Mount Ararat, once in Armenia, now in Turkey.
'Ashkharhums Imn Dun Is': A modern take on a 300-year-old masterpiece The great 18th-century multilingual Armenian troubadour, Sayat Nova (“King of Songs” in Persian), captivated the Caucasus with his tales of love—often, unrequited. One of his most famous compositions, "Ashkharhums Imn Dun Is" ("In This World, You Are Mine"), is a love song in the Classical Armenian dialect. It’s romantic, poetic, and oh-so-Sayat Nova-esque.
'Yaman Yar': No singing here From listening to this tune, it may be a bit difficult to parse the folk song from the modern rabiz... After all, there is no singing here, and the main features of the song seem to be the clarinet and dhol (Armenian drums)—staples of rabiz, kef time (party) music in Armenia.