Tuesday, February 23, 2010

“My ancestors came from a village just seven kilometers from the town of Moush,” the Aparantsi said. “They came to Eastern Armenia, to Aparan, in 1829, following the war between Russia and Turkey. My father, and my grandfather, never saw Moush. But every night I dream about Moush, and the Plains of Moush.

“Any Armenian who lives away from the homeland is lost. They might find their Mercedes, their money, but they’re lost.

“I don’t mind when pop singers sing pop music. But when they ruin folk music, it’s a crime. I’ve given old folk songs to pop singers who pretend to sing folk. I shouldn’t have. They ruin the songs. They never say where they found the songs. I gave a song of Moush to the Maratouk group, and they changed ‘Moush’ to ‘Sassoun.’ I asked them why, twice, and they said they hadn’t done this. They knew they had. I gave a song to someone from Tovmas Poghosyan’s Sayat Nova group. The singer said she had gone to villages and searched for the song. What search? I gave her the song.

“My grandfather taught Komitas six songs. And now, two generations later, these songs are being ruined by today’s pop singers. In Soviet times, when they were supposedly ruining our culture, there were folk groups all over the country. Real folk groups. Not like the State Dance Ensemble and others with their choreographed folk music. Today, you can count real folk groups and singers on one hand. If you’re lucky.”

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