Evening of dance, music in memory of Armenian genocide
This unique event gather the dancing groups Hamazkayin Niari Dance Ensemble, The Chookasian Armenian Concert Ensemble along with hundreds of descendants of survivors from the Armenian Genocide. The commemoration was separated to several parts which included two speeches celebrating the survival from the hand of the Ottoman Empire.
The Armenian Centennial Concert included ensemble and dancing groups as they performed several different songs represent various parts of the Armenian history. From the male dances to impress females to the wedding dance, from the escape of the Turkish to the desperation of the existence of God, and the age-old song written by Harutyun Syatian in 18th centuries to a brand new song written in 21st centuries encouraging the young generation, the concert has shown numerous cultures of the Armenian.
Founders of the Chookasian Armenian Concert Ensemble, John and Barbara Chookasian started the program in 1994. With the goal to perform traditional yet rarely heard music, John and Barbara along with six other multi-award artists performed over 15 songs in the concert. Many of the performances were folkloric which were played in several different timeline.
Few of the performances stood out the most were “Khossek Hayastani Lerner”–Speak of the Armenian mountains, “Garno Sharjoum”–The Call (to arms) has sounded, and the “Armenian Folk Song Medley”.
Khosseck Hayastani Lerner, song sang by Barbara, is a blue folkloric described the separation of the young, the family and the mother who was forced to leave her child and home. Part of the lyrics describes an Armenian mother desperately wanting to know the news of her homeland and the miserable sadness of her losing her son. Throughout the song, words “Ararat” was mention multiple times, which is the name of the mountain where the song was written. Armenian had been living on the mountain for generation, but during the genocide, Turkish took over the mountain along with many others.
The Armenian Centennial Concert is a great success. Although myself do not relate to any Armenian, I could definintely feel the struggles and all the desperation of the Armenian. As a person who enjoy art and music, I can not express the emotion on many of the elders faces when the first song was sang. It was so emotional and so comforting at the same time. It seems like after hundred of years of suppressing anger and lost of family is now first being relief. –Junior Feather staffer Michael Fu
Garno Sharjoum is a nationalistic song of the historic uprising in Province of Erzrum during the Armenian Genocide. Even though facing with great treats and risking their own lives fought against Turkish, many of the Armenian got united and stood against the rival power. This song provided a powerful message uplift the hearts of many Armenian people and given them strength to endure through the Genocide.
One of the notable song performed by Hayka Nalbandyan with saz, a traditional Armenian double-bodied lute. Played like a guitar, lute is also called bazouk. The instrument can cover large range of area. The song was origin from the folk dance. This medley is quick yet simple allowed many quickly immerse into the music.
Beside performing music and singing, the concert also invited dance group from L.A., Hamazkayin Valley Chapter Niari Dance Group was found in 2000 with 27 dancers, it now has over hundred of dancers. From aged of 5 to 28 years old, over 30 dancers participate in the centennial concert here at Fresno State.
Dance Medley of Armenian Dances performed by many of the dancers was a joyful performance. Four male dancers started the dance with Armenian cultural clothing and later introduced the female dancers onto the stage. With quick beat and colorful costumes, they quickly bring the audience to a joyful world.
Oor Aeyir Asdvadz traslate to “Where Were You O’ God?” is also performed by the Hamazkayin dance group. Song wrote by Mesdjian. This is a song of Armenian crying to God asking of where is He. The performance was slow and probably the most broken-hearted to both audiences and all survivors. Wearing purple dresses, a powerful message has sent to many of the outsider. Several eyes were fill with tears.
The concert is a great success. Although myself does not relate to any Armenian, I could definitely feel the struggles and all the desperation of the Armenian. As a person who enjoy art and music, I can not express the emotion on many of the elders faces when the first song was sang. It was so emotional and so comforting at the same time. It seems like after hundred of years of suppressing anger and lost of family is now first being relief.
Outside of the CSUF Satellite Student Union, a genocide monument is currently building right now and will be complete on April 24. Students and families are all welcome to the ceremony.
For more information about Armenian Genocide article and picture check out Armenian Centennial Genocide article in photo section.