Armenian Music and Culture
Music is an integral part of Armenian culture. Over the centuries music has defined Armenian people, history and tradition. Armenian people rejoice, remember and mourn with music. Regardless of their situation: whether free or oppressed, the Armenian people have always been expressive and extremely talented in the arts. They especially have always expressed themselves with music: from the century old shepherd playing his flute, to the drumming of the dhol accompanying war-time dances or the jovial music and dances from each village to accompany celebrations. Music has been used to preserve traditions, stories, customs, celebrations and commemorations, as a sign of respect and reverence and as a way to deal with grief and trying times.
Armenian musicians and musical compositions have become household names worldwide. From as early as the 1700s, Armenian musicians were often employed by surrounding kingdoms in the king’s courts due to their fine ear and talent. An example of this is Sayat Nova, whose songs are known and sung until this day. Sayat Nova, meaning “king of songs” was bestowed this title as a testament to his talent and contribution to the arts. In more contemporary contexts, Aram Khachaturyan’s compositions, ballets and operas are known internationally and used throughout popular culture as are the melancholy melodies of the duduk. here have also been famous names such as Djivan Kasparian who have accompanied soundtracks to many famous Hollywood titles.
A name that cannot go without mention is Komitas. Soghomon Soghomonian, ordained and commonly known as Komitas was a priest, musicologist, composer, arranger, singer and choirmaster. His work has preserved hundreds of years of culture and has played a significant role in preserving and reintroducing lost musical treasures. Alongside his own compositions, Komitas wrote and recorded the songs of Armenian villagers and also wrote music to accompany the incredible poetic works of famous Armenian poets. A lot is owed to the genius and contributions of his work.
Music is something that has been ingrained into the soul of every Armenian, which, growing into each generation has also spanned the classical music scene, such as the well known Armen Khachaturyan, Armen Tigranian, Arno Babajanian and Tigran Mansurian.
Whether joyful or sorrowful, Armenian music has a soul-shaking and emotive quality that reaches out to your core and is incomparable to any other. Whether you are Armenian or not, you will be moved.
Last weekend AGBU celebrated this long tradition with a fantastic night of enchanting European and Armenian classical favourites, performed by the Ryde Hunters Hills Symphony Orchestra. The professional musicians played to an adoring crowd that filled the Agoump to capacity. It was a fantastic night of beautiful performances, one that is sure to become a lasting tradition for AGBU Sydney.