As a small group of European promoters wanted to see the Shoghaken Ensemble for possible concerts in 2010, we arranged to meet them at the Avetik Issahakyan Home-Museum, and present a short concert in the upstairs exhibition room, often used for small concerts and recitations. Afterwards, dudukist Vahan Harutyunyan, who often performs with Shoghaken, came to our home, to visit and make plans for a future concert. Hasmik suggested he play a lullaby she had just discovered, “Ha Tztsim,” recorded by a woman named Mariam who had married someone in Zapna, a village of Moush. A few of the lyrics, in the dialect of Moush, go like this:
Sleep, my son, the winds have begun
Sleep, my son, it is stormy, vuy`
I rock the khnots (to make butter).
I tie the child to my back and walk through the mountains
The aunt comes; I don’t show the child
The grandfather comes; I don’t show the child
The grandmother comes, I show the child.
After debating whether the child is alive or not, and whether the song was actually a lullaby, or perhaps a lament, Harutyunyan put the song to duduk, no doubt a first, and the two sang and played this classic old song from Moush....
On Echmiadzin’s Shoghakat television, noting the liberation of the town of Shushi, a program about Monte Melkonian was featured, with his wife, Seta Melkonian, a friend/commander, and a general talking about Monte, especially his skill as a commander and his honesty, and his contribution in freeing Martakert, Martuni, and Kelbajar.
Hasmik remembered going to Martuni in the early 1990s with Akunk, a folklore group of which she was still a member. She told about how shocked everyone was when Monte arranged a dinner for everyone, quite a large number of soldiers and guests, with a lamb on the center of the table, its stomach stuffed with pilaf and dried fruit, Beirut style. This, Hasmik told, was at a time when simple vermicelli was almost impossible to find.
It was at this time, Hasmik said, that Monte said, “Give me 5,000 soldiers, and I will take Baku....”