Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Sassountsi from one of the villages of Talin sat shaking his head as Parliamentarian Anahit Bakhshyan commented about the resettling of the liberated territories around Karabagh, saying that it doesn’t stand to reason that even Karabaghtsis would want to live in or around Karabagh if people like Kocharian, Arkady Ghoukasyan, Samvel Babayan, and others leave their homeland and live in Armenia.

“She’s right,” the Sassountsi said. “Not only have many regular citizens of Karabagh left for Armenia or Russia, even their leaders, who can’t say they have money or employment problems, usually leave Karabagh after serving their terms. And now Serge Sargsyan is making deals with the Turks, agreeing to the Turkish demand of starting a commission to study the Genocide, and recognizing the border between Turkey and Armenia, which more or less makes it impossible to demand our land back, not to mention reparations. Is it because he’s Karabaghtsi that he doesn’t care about giving up Western Armenia?

“I saw on the news yesterday that the Armenia Fund has helped a village in Hadrut with their water problems. That’s good, but what about us? In Ashnak, we only have water every other day, and that’s drinking water, not irrigation water. Our village of Oujan is almost in the same condition. Where’s the Armenia Fund? Why is everything going to Karabagh?”

Before leaving, the Sassountsi commented about the Eurovision competition: “When I saw the Azeri female singer, I was astonished. She was excellent, moved smoothly on stage. Our contestants, with their overdone makeup and sharp, jerky movements, look like they’re in pain. It looks like the Azeris are going forward, in this new century, while we’re slipping somewhere into a hole, into the past.”

5 comments:

Martin said...

If I shout "One Party, One People, One Armenia" will I sound too much like a German?

Danielbeast said...

The Azeri singer was beautiful and our girls, while also beautiful, did have too much make-up (in the semi, toned it down for the final) but overall I think the complaint here against them is exaggerated. I thought their routine was great and its not like the Azeri one was something incredibly amazing heralding the 21st century. The Azeri song seemed to be two lines repeated over and over, the fact those two lines were so catchy is a good deal of why it scored so well. Eurovision results and performances have little bearing on who is getting ahead as a nation and who is not, as it is clear no one would be placing Azerbaijan as the third best country in Europe and Armenia ahead of Russia. The Eurovision experience is new to the Caucasus and they've embraced it with incredible seriousness, like this Sassountzi, without realizing the very un-serious legacy that Eurovision represents throughout most of Europe.

Andranik Michaelian said...

Although the Sassountsi and the Karabaghtsi (in the most recent blog) and most others I talked to might have taken this pop competition a bit too seriously, I find it refreshing that they want and expect something more, instead of saying, “oh well, it’s not that serious, and the others were nothing special anyway.” Soon I plan on writing about this attitude in Armenia, the “it’s better than nothing, we shouldn’t complain” attitude. The people I quote know that there are others in Armenia, even in the pop field, who can measure up to what countries like Russia, Estonia, Iceland, the UK and, even, the Turks and Azeris offered in Eurovision, but that the scene here is so controlled by our cultural mafia that these people don’t appear. Thus their frustration.

Danielbeast said...

From what I've seen of Inga and Anush's work they seem to legitimate draw on folk songs and have some pretty cool music videos reflecting that. They of course aren't a true folk group like Shoghaken, but if you compare their work to the typical 'barab' pop star I really think they are a step ahead with something deeper to offer. I am not a music expert so this is not a professional opinion, but I was always under the impression that they were something different. The Eurovision song Jan-Jan was not representative of this type of work I speak of for the most part, but if you see some of their other songs and videos I think you will know what I am trying to refer to. I don't understand the attitude that Inga & Anush are just mindless pop in light of the other works I've seen of them. Even if I am totally completely off in this opinion, there is absolutely no doubt that even Jan-Jan is far better than your average piece of popular rabiz trash, let alone their works which I find to be more true representations of modern-folk fusion (my own random name for it, since I of course would not want to classify their "Armenian folk" in the same category as something like Shoghaken, but I definitely think what they produce- the Eurovision song aside- is something above average relative to Armenian pop).

Andranik Michaelian said...

Here we are inundated with pop singers/stars who decide they are going to sing folk, and not being able to do something legitimate, or take the time to ask people how to do things correctly, hire a director and produce a “folk” video clip, the result almost always of which is a disaster. Inga and Anush fall in this category, the difference being they are better funded and put out more lavish video clips and music. I appreciate your notice of Shoghaken and the work they do. But the question isn’t that of quality so much as it is of straying from the original, putting no effort into doing things correctly. Even Inga and Anush’s videos are a conglomeration of various folk ceremonies, with costumes, dhols and zurnas added to give “national/folk flavor.” Is what they do better than what the ‘barab’ pop stars do? Hard to say. It seems that they’re doing the same thing as the pop stars, just adding Armenian affects to sell it as “folk.”