Some thoughts on paper
Monthly Archives: April 2010
When the mass of flowers in the Armenian Genocide Memorial Tsitsernakaberd (Ծիծեռնակաբերդ in Armenian) in Yerevan gets higher than a tall man’s stature, it means that people in Armenia commemorate the 1,5 million victims of Armenian Genocide of 1915 in Ottoman Empire.
One can never count the number of poems, songs, books, movies, theatrical performances, pictures devoted to the Great Tragedy of Armenian people. There are thousands of them. And Armenians always appreciate the willingness and even desire of hundreds of researchers, musicians, film directors, artists from other countries to share Armenian incessant pain.
This post is about one of those great art creations. The song is called “Adana” (music by Ara Gevorgyan; lyrics by Daniel Decker).
It was first presented on April 23, 2005. The video below is about a performance of this song by Daniel Decker (USA), Vitalie Dani (Moldova), Tsvetan Tsvetkov (Bulgaria), Kai Auhagen (Germany), Inka Kupomaki (Finland), Gegham Grigoryan and “Kilikia” choir (Armenia) in Tsitsernakaberd, which was broadcast on various world channels like CNN, BBC, ORT etc. Later “Adana” was translated into 17 languages.
Any more comments are simly unnecessary: the video and lyrics below are the best reflection of Armenian deep and eternal pain.
A D A N A
Lyrics: Daniel Decker
Music: Ara Gevorgyan
In the city of Adana during the darkest days of the Ottoman Empire, there began a tragedy that marked the start of what was to become known as the Armenian Genocide. The people of Armenia were forced into starvation, torture and extermination. Armenian homes were burned to the ground as women were raped and tortured, children were bought and sold and men were killed before their very eyes. Sometimes entire families were wiped out. They were accused, convicted and sentenced to die because they dared to call themselves “Christians”, their crime was in believing in Jesus Christ who died for their sins.
In 1915 1.5 million Armenians were ruthlessly slaughtered, because they would not renounce their faith in Christ. Unpunished and undeterred the ones responsible for the massacre in Adana set stage for the terrible genocide of the Armenian people.
This is their story.
From the morning sun till the day was done
Fathers worked until their strength was gone
In the summer air under mother’s care
Children played within the village square
Through the soil and sand, farmers worked the land
Gathering what they grew by their own hand
Living day by day, trying to make their way
Unaware the price they would soon pay
Keepers of the sword, marched in one accord
Striking down the weak, without a single word
Ruthlessly they came, with one deadly aim
Kill all who believed in Jesus’ name.
In the shroud of night, families took their flight
Unprotected by the soldier’s might
Hungry and alone, starved to skin and bone
Forced to sleep on pillows made of stone
Wandering in the rain, trembling from the pain
Cries for mercy offered up in vain
Naked and afraid, on their knees they prayed
As they knelt before the warrior’s blade… singing
To the great I AM, Worthy is the Lamb
To Him who sits upon the throne we bow before You
Holy is the One, God’s Almighty Son
Glory to the Christ, Our risen King.
Though persecuted, they were not abandoned as they laid down their earthly lives, they would gain entirety with Christ. Though the world may forget, God would remember their suffering. Never again would they hunger or thirst. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, would be their shepherd who would lead them to the springs of living water and God would wipe away every tear for their eyes. They would encircle the throne of God singing to the great I Am, worthy is the Lamp, who and is, and is to come.
(the lyrics in Armenian: http://www.aragevorgyan.net/lyrics_arm.htm)
P.S. We will never accept the Turkish government’s denial of the fact which we keep on talking about 95 years long. Let that be their shame and inhumanity. Let that be their headache how to handle the obvious and swift process of Armenian Genocide recognition all over the world.
My point is not about government, but about people. I am extremely proud of the Turkish friends of mine (as well as many activists in Turkey) who show their own approach to this, who do not allow to be manipulated by their government, who have their truth and their way to justice and morality. They make me believe that there is still a ray of hope in human moral revival…
It was an ordinary day. It started as ever with the lectures at the university, continued at my job place, then turned into a brief shopping and dinner with the family. In the evening I was going out to see the friends.
I got on the bus #24 and took a seat in the back row. Listening to the music and being plunged into my thoughts I was not noticing anything around unless my sight stumbled on a married couple sitting in front of me. The way they were talking, laughing and tenderly looking at each other made me smile. You can’t really say it is natural for a couple at the age of around 55. Soon after I recognized the parents of my former classmate in that couple. I froze. Oh man.. the memory quickly took me 14 years back to our small classroom.
A thin and modest boy sitting next to me is D. I will meet his parents in 14 years in the bus #24. We are not friends and have never been and will never become them. The teacher just decided us to sit together, alright – not a big deal.
My birthday was coming and my friends were already notified of the time and place where and when that was going to be celebrated. D was not among them. But he knew that something was going on. Well, one can never avoid these, you know, kind of pre-birthday rumours so that in the end everybody at school knows who, when and where was going to be born… for the eighth time. Yea, that year I was turning 8 years old. A sincere boy D decided that if he had not been invited he had to do something about it: “Please invite me to come to your birthday party.” – he came straight up to me, “I will bring a very big gift for you”. Oh boy… To me it sounded so weird and impolite that I immediately blurted out a sharp “no”. Being puzzled and frustrated a girl at the age of almost 8 told him that she could not invite him for a very serious reason.
Needless to say, there was no reason. I just did not want him to come. And I did not really care about his feelings and wishes. And when later at home my mom tried to expalin that it was not a right thing to do and I needed to immediately rule it out, I still was not getting why. And he could probably see it when the next day I came up to him saying that he could come if he wished it so much…
On the long-expected day all the invited boys with bow ties and girls in bright dresses gathered in our house. Everyone was there. Everyone, except D. Yea, he did not come. Indeed, I did not invite him (at least the way I did it with others), and he never came.
Many years passed, many things remained in the past. I changed upside down. Everyone knows, that my doors now are always open for everyone who wants to visit me on my birthday or any other day. And I am absolutely sure that D does not remember that case. But I do.
And when I sometimes randomly see him I always want to somehow tell him that I am sorry.. He does not even know what for.
They say that most importantly is to accept your mistakes. Well, maybe it is. But does it make us feel better? I am not sure.
It was time to get off the bus. I came up to D’s parents to say hi and that I had covered their bus fares. And you know, I wanted so much to say something else, but did not mange to define what exactly.
Старик убогий, плохонько одетый, тащил мешок угля, по случаю добытый где-то. Кряхтя, едва дыша и жалобно стеная, из сил последних жилы напрягая, отчаянно кляня безжалостный мешок, всё ж продолжал тащить его и выкинуть не мог. И бормотал:
– Мешок угля подарит мне тепло! – Так думал он – Как тяжело оно! Зато потом, устроясь у печи, я буду кости греть и насморки лечить.
Но путь был долог, спарился Старик. Мешок из рук упал. И дед совсем поник.
– Что мне тепло, которое тащу? Не будет греть оно, видать, мою мощу! Мешка не дотащу до дома я, наверно? Уж видно сдохну здесь, так тяжко и прескверно? Где смерть моя? Наверно, загуляла? Дай деду околеть! Итак, пожил не мало.
Тащи свою косу, руби под корешок! На смерть свою видать набил углём мешок? Ну, потащу опять? Вновь стану тело мучить? Уж лучше смерть сейчас, чем дальше жизнь канючить! Где ты, курносая? В каком сейчас краю?
Вдруг тронули плечо: «Чего кричишь, Старик? Я рядышком стою».
– Ты здесь? – И обомлел дедок. Его «заколотило» – Да я… Вот тут мешок… – Он вовсе скис – Да я хотел, и тут… затормозило…
А Смерть ему лениво и без зла: «Чего позвал, чернец? Я до тебя спала. Тут вдруг зовут. Да как? Прям из последней мочи. Ну, думаю, беда, видать чего-то хочет. Что надобно, согбенный? Говори! Не зря ж меня будил? Поведай, но не ври.
– Прости, Костлявая, что зря тебя встревожил. Но справлюсь я один с мешком угля, похоже. Так, в суете помянул, а ты скорее в путь. Выходит, что тебе не дал я отдохнуть? Себя корю за недоразуменье, и больше не позволю, без сомненья. Ещё раз, извини! А мне пора шагать! – И взялся за мешок.
– Дай, помогу поднять? – Сказала Смерть, отставив, прочь косу.
– Не надо! Лучше сам! Своё не тянет, значит донесу.
– Ну-ну, Как знаешь! Так сему и быть! Но если что зови, сумеем пособить.- И хмыкнула лукавая во след – Ну надо ж, как рванул! Довольно крепкий дед!..
Последних слов Старик не услыхал. Он вскинул свой мешок и резво зашагал. Ни ноша, ни спина его не тяготили. И лишь судьбу молил, что бы его простили!
P.S смерть, она всегда рядышком, возможно даже в каждом из нас. Вопрос только в том, как быстро мы разбудим её, чтобы сдаться… Кстати, она не всегда может оказаться сговорчивой как в случае со стариком. Так что, думаю, не стоит будить её, покуда ей спится.
An interesting article named “Tigran Hamasyan: Brilliant Covers” by Larry Appelbaum posted on jazztimes.com in November 2006 starts with the following lines:
Pianist Tigran Hamasyan was not the most popular finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition held Sept. 17 at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center; at least not with the audience. Fortunately, the Thelonious Monk Competitions have never been a popularity contest and the judges are generally unswayed by the obvious tricks and flashy technique that so often and so easily generate whoops and hollers from fans. That may help explain how Hamasyan, an Armenian-born music student at the University of Southern California, won the 2006 piano competition by taking risks and recasting the standards “Cherokee” and “Solar” in challenging, time-altering ways. (www.jazztimes.com).
By that time he was just 19.
The success certainly did not come to him just by chance. At the age of 3 little Tigran was singing Louis Armstrong’s, Beatles’ and Deep Purple’s songs trying to accompany himself on the piano. He was listening to different jazz melodies and improvising on the piano all day long.
Two International Jazz Festivals held in Yerevan (in 1998 and 2000) created an excellent opportunity for a young guy from a small Armenian town Gyumri to show his extraordinary talent to such world jazz stars as Chick Korea, Avishai Kohen, Jeff Ballard, Ari Roland.
In 2001 thanks to Stephane Kochoyan’s efforts Tigran was introduced to the international jazz community in Europe and played with Pierre Michelot and Daniel Humair. Then a period of study, hard work, festivals and numerous prizes followed. In 2008 Tigran Hamasyan already created his own band called “Aratta Rebirth”. The band’s first album “Red Hail” was released in 2009 and consists of Tigran’s own music and 3 Armenian folk songs that he arranged.
As of today, the young musician has released 3 albums and together with his awesome band had a number of concerts in NY, St. Petersburg, Rome, London, Manchester, Leeds, Rotterdam, Paris, Rennes, and many other cities and towns.
The day before yesterday, on April 5, 2010 Tigran Hamasyan and Aratta Rebirth held a wonderful concert in the Philharmonic Theatre in Yerevan. Incidentally it turned out that Tigran is not only pianist, but also… well, I am not really sure how that kind of art is called, that is why I’d better just recommend you to listen to his “Falling”.
When the concert finished the whole audience stood up thanking Tigran Hamasyan with thunderous applause for his talent and absolutely new and individual approach to the jazz and folk music. We were applausing so long, that the whole band had to return to the stage to play an encore.
In several days Aratta Rebirth is leaving for the next concert in Paris going on with their European trip.
Let’s wish them good luck and wait for Tigran’s next visit to his Motherland.
Btw, you can visit Tigran Hamasyan’s website at www.tigranhamasyan.am to learn more about his biography and art.
P.S. “Aratta Rebirth is a call for the humanity to wake up. People have to understand and embrace their roots and culture. We have to stop, turn around and go against the flow of this brainwashing and moneypulating river of corruptness and fakeness, so we do not end up in that big lake of globalization. We can go back up the mountain, to the source of this muddy river, have another look from the summit and make another choice”.