A while ago we posted a list of our favorite Azeri tracks. Of all Caucasus nations their music is probably best known but it would be a great disservice to our readers and listeners not to mention the heartbreaking songs that come from its neighbouring countries. Have a listen to a few Armenian folk tracks we’ve picked to delight your ears.
To understand Armenians (and by extension, Armenian music) is to understand the blanket of melancholy that covers its people. More than half of all Armenians do not live in current day Armenia. And the ones who do have no access to some of the mountains and vales they hold dear. So obviously a song about being separated from a love, is about being separated from the mountains of the motherland. This rendition of Sareri Hovin Mernem (I Would Die for the Winds of the Mountains) is performed by the Syrian Armenian Lena Chamamyan
Of course not all Armenian music is sadness and melancholy. Check out this song by the American Armenian band Arev. The uptempo 9-beat, also common in Turkey and many of the Balkan countries makes it hard to sit still while listening to this song. The lyrics of Garun Yekav are written by a blind early 20th century troubadour called Havasi.
Armenian musicians have always been very influential in Iran. Not only because of their folk music, but also as a caste of musicians that was very knowledgable of western musical style. For instance the opera that was composed on the text of the Iranian epic poem Shahname was done so by the Iranian Armenian composer Tjaknavorian. Also many of the first Iranian pop singers were originally Armenian. Their songs were the soundtrack to the life of hip and happening Iranians in the sixties and seventies and are still evergreen classics to this day. Our very own mama Mezrab (Parwin) made a recording of her rendition of Iranian Armenian rock legend Vigen’s Lalaei (Lullaby). Though not a very pop-y tune, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it:
To Armenian friends the feeling of the song is immediately recognizable. Though I didn’t know exactly how much until listening to this particular lullaby from the Tigranakert region. I’m not sure if it’s directly the song that influenced Vigen to compose his Lullaby, but the similarity in feel is striking. Especially considering the way we arranged it with the Mezrab, with a violin that emulates the long tones of the Armenian Duduk, the strings that dance around the melody. And all without having heard the Armenian Lullaby:
For the final song we end with a tune that’s known in Iran as well as Armenia, but for completely different reasons. In the time of the revolution many political groups wrote sloganistic songs to get the people to have faith in a better tomorrow and rise up. Often the melodies were based on folk songs of the different regions of Iran. One of more famous ones is a song that in Iranian translated to “Winter Has Come to an End”. The Armenian original is, of course, about longing for a love who will descend from the mountains: