However it’s apparent that that music was created by Armenians. And naturally, such a music couldn’t overtly be sung in Republican Turkey. The phrases are a lot too specific, discussing the truth that Armenians have been being deported, the cruelty of the Turkish and Circassian troopers, the struggling within the desert, and the truth that Armenians had been despatched away or have been dying (relying on the model of the lyrics) “on account of their faith” and “on account of the nation.”

But the Armenians in Bolis, and in addition elsewhere, had different songs that they might sing, songs whose origin was considerably mysterious, and must be the topic of investigation by folklorists and musicologists. Songs whose which means was not fully apparent, and which maybe weren’t initially concerning the Genocide in any respect, however which have been interpreted by Armenians in 20th century Istanbul, in addition to in lots of elements of the Diaspora, as expressions of their historic ache.

A type of songs gave the impression to be Egin Havasi, the music Karougian was talking about. The famed Udi Hrant, for instance, had recorded this music in each Turkish and Armenian, and the model recorded in 1917 by the mysterious vaghamerig (one who died younger) Kemani Minas, apparently an immigrant from Malatya, was a best-seller within the Armenian-American group for some 15 years. (I’d be remiss if I didn’t relay the data given to me by oudist Richard Hagopian that whereas Minas sang the vocals on that recording, the deeply transferring violin was really performed by the grasp musician Harry Hasekian of Marash, who lived most of his life in Watertown.) However neither Udi Hrant’s, nor Kemani Minas’ recording really used the phrases “Agn is in ruins.” The whole lot about this music was imprecise.

I had been listening to about different songs like this for a while, although. Deacon Charles Hardy (Kherdian) of Racine, Wisconsin, and at present of the St. James parish in Evanston, Sick., shared with me that his spouse, who grew up in Beirut, was the daughter of a survivor from Gesaria (Kayseri, Turkey). Her father used to sing a Turkish music referred to as Gesi Baghlari (Vineyards of Gesi) whereas working or cleansing his retailer in Beirut. In accordance with Hardy, the music was actually concerning the Armenian Genocide. I had heard of this music earlier than; it was standard among the many Armenians of Gesaria and could be seen referenced in survivor memoirs. I didn’t comprehend it was concerning the Genocide. On the floor it’s a tragic love music with references to the Kayseri area — Gesi is a close-by small village whose vineyards have been apparently a type of trip spot. It has been recorded by many fashionable Turkish performers and a look on the lyrics doesn’t actually reveal any direct or oblique references to the Genocide. On the floor it’s concerning the vineyards of Gesi and about misplaced love. Whereas each Armenians and Turks take into account it a type of regional anthem, some Armenians, not less than, along with Hardy’s father-in-law, connected an extra which means to the music. Ethnomusicologist Melissa Bilal, initially of Istanbul, concurs with the opinion that the whereas the origin of the music could also be as but unclear, Armenians definitely sang it with the intention of expressing their emotions about 1915. She shared with me that she had an aunt who was keen on the music and claimed it was written by an Armenian. Melissa additional pointed to the road “there may be dying, and there may be cruelty on this world” as referring to the Armenian expertise. But it’s clear that this music predates the Genocide. I’ve a recording of it from 1917, that belonged to my great-grandfather Hovhannes Vartoogian, himself a survivor from Fenesse (one of many villages of Gesaria), which was nicely worn-out and should have been listened to many instances. The recording was made on the similar session as Kemani Minas’ model of Egin Havasi, by a unique singer, a Gesaratsi vocalist named Garabed Merjanian. Merjanian’s lyrics are extremely laborious to make out, however he appears to be singing the next:

The vineyards of Gesi are a discipline with roses

Mom I’m going, and also you defend your head

The mother-in-law is faithless and the son-in-law is an infidel (gavur)

Don’t ship me, mom, past these mountains

Could others not burn, my mom burns for my ache

Past this mountain, selection mint grows

My tobacco smoldered with out my fireplace being lit [a proverb meaning I didn’t have a chance to enjoy my youth]

A destiny occurred to me, worse than my dying

Don’t ship me, mom, past these mountains

Could others not burn, my mom burns for my ache

Whereas these lyrics are extremely imprecise, and will have come from the pre-Genocide model of the music (Turkish sources declare the music was a few younger bride in an sad organized marriage who was despatched to a village past the mountains to her husband’s household), the phrases Merjanian selected to sing in 1917 have been definitely suggestive of struggle, forcible conscription of the Armenian males from the villages, and different features of the Genocide. The road “a destiny occurred to me worse than my dying” alone is definitely suggestive of one thing extra than simply an unlucky organized marriage. Ultimately, the story of this music reminds considered one of two very well-known Armenian songs Groong and Dle Yaman, each of that are right now typically sung at the side of Genocide memorials or related occasions, however really lengthy predate the Genocide; Groong dates again to the 17th century. However since Groong is concerning the unhappiness of being away from one’s homeland, and Dle Yaman is a tragic love music with references to the panorama of the Van area, the place Armenians now not stay attributable to 1915, each have been was Genocide anthems. Plainly in an unofficial approach, that is additionally what has occurred with Gesi Baghlari within the minds of some Armenians. In actual fact, the mixture of the unhappy love theme with references to now-lost homeland geography is extraordinarily just like Dle Yaman.


The music Chanakkale Ichinde (Çanakkale Içinde, or “Within the Dardanelles”) has lyrics which might be a lot much less imprecise, but I stored coming throughout unusual hints about this tune. Whereas on the floor, and in accordance with Turkish sources, it’s a Turkish patriotic music concerning the Battle of Gallipoli, with the narrator a soldier who’s marching off to nearly sure dying in battle, there appears to be greater than meets the attention. To start with, it’s the solely Turkish patriotic music that’s regularly performed by Armenian people musicians who sing in Turkish. That is bit bizarre in and of itself — Armenians in America may play a variety of Turkish “kef time” songs, however you don’t see them going round singing the Turkish nationwide anthem. But, this music had a level of recognition prior to now, and continues to be identified by many. For one factor, New York oudist Charles “Chick” Ganimian used to play and sing it in his stay performances as a wild, heavy kef tune, memorably in a stay recording captured on tape within the late 1970s which was later re-released on a CD by Armenian music producer and kanun participant Ara Topouzian of Michigan. One may suppose that Chick merely heard this music on an previous Turkish report, didn’t know or care what it was about, favored it, and carried out it. Those that accuse American-Armenians of cultural illiteracy in all probability assumed that this was the case.

Nonetheless, in a paper written in 2010 by oudist Antranig Kzririan (of Philadelphia, now of Los Angeles), an attention-grabbing tidbit was talked about in his interview with fellow Philadelphia oud participant David Hoplamazian:

“There have been sure songs that they at all times sang and performed — some have been Genocide remembrance songs. These have been songs sung within the Turkish language that reminded Armenians of pre-Genocide instances. Considered one of Chick Ganimian’s songs was concerning the killing and dying that occurred throughout the Genocide. I bear in mind how they might argue on stage about whether or not it will be applicable to play the music on one explicit event. This type of factor was over my head on the time as I used to be a teenager. I used to be simply comfortable to fulfill Chick who was one of many prime oud gamers that my household at all times talked about.” (Hoplamazian, quoted in Kzirian, The Oud: Armenian Music as a Technique of Identification Preservation, Building and Formation in Armenian American Diaspora Communities of the Jap United States, 2010)

Once I requested Hoplamazian personally what music he was speaking about, he couldn’t recall. However primarily based on what I do know of Ganimian’s repertoire, the one music he may probably have been speaking about — definitely the one music that has these kind of references, which is that standard, and which Ganimian was identified for taking part in on stage, was Chanakkale Ichinde.

The “Turkish nationalist” credentials of the music come into even additional query after we understand that the primary ever recorded model was made by Greek-American singer Marika Papagika in 1924, simply after the armistice between the Allies and Mustafa Kemal at Mudanya. Although the music is usually thought of a reference to the Battle of Gallipoli that happened in 1915, the lead-up to the 1923 armistice was equally referred to as the “Chanak Disaster” and was stand-off between Turkish, Greek, and British troops that happened in the identical space. The truth that Marika was a well-known Greek nationalist with many patriotic songs to her credit score, and that her model has the narrating soldier within the music departing “from Edirne” (as a substitute of Istanbul) the place the Greek military was stationed on the time, lends a imprecise pro-Greek which means to the music.

The Armenian component to the music turns into far more apparent after we take into account the recording made by vocalist Boghos Kirechjian, also called Udi Boghos, brother-in-law to the well-known Udi Hrant. In a particular recording session that happened in Istanbul in 1951, Boghos made his recording of this music, together with a number of Armenian-language songs that have been sung by each himself and Hrant, who carried out on the oud. The remainder of the band was composed of Turkish gypsies. These recordings have been made by the US-based ethnic report firm, Balkan, which was owned by Ajdin Asllan, an Albanian from New York. They have been made for distribution on this nation, and never in Turkey. One would assume that releasing Armenian-language songs on disc in Turkey was politically unattainable within the early 1950s. Equally, the general public wouldn’t settle for an Armenian singing a tune that was extensively perceived as a Turkish patriotic music. However how did Boghos himself understand it? We don’t actually know, however we do know that Chanakkale was the final main battle the place Armenian troopers serving within the Ottoman Military have been armed and allowed to combat in fight alongside their Turkish fellow residents. After that point, Armenians have been despatched out of the common models and shaped into labor battalions, the place they have been used to construct roads, and at last dig their very own graves, which they have been then shot and buried in by their Turkish overseers. In Boghos’ model of the music — and Chick Ganimian’s — we discover the road:

“In Chanakkale they shot me / and so they put me within the grave earlier than I used to be useless / Alas, my youth!”

French-Armenian author Vazken Shoushanian additionally recalled singing this verse as an orphan survivor in Aintab throughout the French occupation, when the “deep and centuries-old Oriental metropolis immediately belonged to us,” and “Like little avenue heroes we broke by means of it, chewing and ruminating on some Turkish music, having fun with a candy freedom, which equally would come from dying:

“In Chanakkale they shot me / and so they put me within the grave earlier than I used to be useless / Alas, my youth!”

Lastly, I requested famend oud participant, singer, and knowledgeable of Armenian and Turkish music, Richard Hagopian of California, concerning the Chanakkale music. Hagopian wouldn’t affirm that it was concerning the Genocide, however advised me an interesting story. When Hagopian was younger, Soghomon Tehlirian, the person who assassinated Talaat Pasha, retired and moved to Fresno, the place he’s now buried. A banquet was held in Tehlirian’s honor, at which younger Hagopian was current. Some folks approached him and stated “, Baron Soghomon performs the oud slightly, and he likes oud music. Why don’t you rise up and play one thing for him.” Hagopian acquired up and took his oud. “He had a face like an angel,” he now says of Tehlirian. “You’d have by no means thought he had killed a person.” Hagopian, nervous, started to play a little bit of a taksim (improvisation) however didn’t know what to play for Tehlirian. “I imply, right here is that this man, who killed the highest Turk.” Since a variety of the music Hagopian performed was Turkish, or thought of by some to be in a Turkish fashion, the younger musician was nervous and not sure of what piece to carry out. Then Tehlirian checked out him and stated “Dughas, Chanakkale kides” (My son, have you learnt “Chanakkale”) “Anshooshd Baron Soghomon, payts dajgeren eh” (In fact Mr. Soghomon, nevertheless it’s Turkish). Tehlirian advised him, “It doesn’t matter, I advised you to play it, so play it.”

Again to Egin Havasi

To return to the start of our article, and the music Egin Havasi. Now that we appear to have established the truth that Armenians used Turkish songs with multiple which means, even when the identical songs have been sung by the Turks themselves, Egin Havasi appears far more clearly, if not blatantly, a reference to the Genocide ‑ although extra particularly, the massacres of 1895-1896.

Avedis Messouments, famous Armenian composer and collector of Armenian ethnographic people songs, who was born in Arabkir and spent most of his life in France after the struggle, introduced consideration to the verses, sung in Turkish, “Agn is in ruins / the nightingale doesn’t sing / My husband is in a far place / my eyes don’t see him.” Messouments continues:

“Subsequently, Agn is a damage … in fact, the Armenian didn’t destroy it, however relatively the Turk, and it isn’t the Turk who would weave a music about his destroying. And who’s the first emigrant, if not the Armenian? However the Armenian sang within the Turkish language; first, from worry of being punished for the Armenian language, after which, in order that the Turk would additionally hear it, be taught it, and sing it. And that’s what occurred.”

These have been the identical lyrics that Stephan Karougian advised me about. One other Armenian author who remembered his elders singing these strains was Nigoghos Sarafian of Paris, who grew up in Bulgaria. By the way, the road “Agn is in ruins” just isn’t in Udi Hrant’s printed recorded model, although he within the second verse Hrant sings the fairly suggestive verses: “Inexperienced frogs croak within the ponds / My arms have been destroyed, I used to be left within the desert / With no mom, and not using a father, in overseas lands…”

The ethnographer Verjine Svazlian, who wrote an entire e book in Armenia about Turkish-language songs of the Genocide survivors (largely discussing the Der Zor music) quotes these strains however starting with “Could I be a sacrifice to the bygone days” relatively than the road concerning the frogs. The identical strains turned up in a efficiency of the Der Zor music which I discovered on YouTube, the place a person named Gabriel Assad adjustments to Egin Havasi midway by means of singing Der Zor. Kemani Minas, who recorded the music in New York in 1917, as mentioned earlier, didn’t point out any of this stuff immediately. However the truth that he selected to report it in fall 1917 on the similar time and place (New York) that Garabed Merjanian recorded Gesi Baghlari, Zabelle Panossian recorded her well-known model of Groong and Armenag Shah-Mouradian recorded Gomidas’ masterpiece Andouni, all with related themes, factors to a pattern. The truth that he feels like he’s crying when he sings it, randomly throws the phrase mayrig (Armenian: mom) into an in any other case Turkish music, and — if I’ve accurately recognized him because the violin participant Minas Chaghatzbanian of Malatya, who died in Fresno a 12 months later — if we understand that he got here to America in 1913 and left his spouse Varter behind, and he’s now recording this music in 1917, because the Genocide is ongoing, all of it begins so as to add up.

It’s unquestionable that the melody and lots of the numerous lyrics of Egin Havasi existed earlier than the 1895 massacres. In Hovsep Janigian’s Antiquities of Agn, printed in 1895, contains the primary point out of this music. Janigian, a 19th century folklorist who collected the historical past, folklore, songs, marriage ceremony traditions, and dialect of Agn in his e book, claimed that the unique music was associated to the bantoukhd (migrant employee) motion amongst Armenians, who would journey to Istanbul or another far-off city heart to generate income for his or her household who have been left behind within the village. The well-known music “Groong” has the identical theme. Janigian claimed that what we name Egin Havasi (referred to by him as “Ale Geozlu”, Turkish for “Weeping Eyes”) was written by an Armenian girl within the 1840s or 50s whose husband had gone as a bantoukhd to Egypt. Janigian mentions that the music additionally has Turkish lyrics, however he didn’t write them down, as a substitute giving a number of verses of lyrics in Armenian. The lyrics are nearly similar to what Udi Hrant sings in his Armenian-language rendition. Most probably, Hrant discovered these from his singing instructor, the well-known Istanbul “oriental” singer Yeghiazar Garabedian (identified to the Turks as Agyazar Efendi), who was born in Agn, and appears to have left as a toddler because of the devastation of the town in 1896. The folklorist Mihran Toumajan additionally collected a number of Armenian-language verses to the music in his Hayreni Yerk oo Pan (quantity 2). In a footnote, he tells the reader that he had additionally heard a Turkish model of the music when he was a toddler in Sepastia, from a youthful blind minstrel on the Soorp Nshan Monastery. The minstrel’s Turkish language Egin Havasi, Toumajan tells us, was “concerning the occasions of 1895.” It seems that whereas the town was spared the preliminary massacres of 1895 by bribing the federal government (Agn was a rich city, whose compatriots dwelling in Istanbul have been largely moneylenders that at one time managed the Ottoman monetary sector), it was later devastated in 1896 in retaliation for the Financial institution Ottoman incident, whose chief, Papken Suni, was a local of Agn. Evidently, whereas the music was written by an Armenian, sung in each Armenian and Turkish, and mentioned separation and loss, the lyrics particularly referring to the 1895-96 massacres have been added later. Nonetheless, this quickly turned the preferred model of the music, as evidenced by Messouments, Sarafian, and others who claimed that the primary line of the music was “Agn is in ruins.”

As for Stepan Karougian, I lastly requested him immediately what the music was about. “Egin de veran olmush,” he advised me, “Agn kantuvadz eh.” (Agn has been destroyed). I pressed him “what do you imply, destroyed?” “, the Genocide…” he responded. Then I requested him, “Didn’t you inform me Udi Hrant used to sing this music within the gazino [Turkish cabaret]” “In fact, what number of instances did I am going and listen to him singing there!” “Nicely,” I requested, “what did the Turks suppose when he acquired on stage and began singing about “Egin veran olmush”??”

“I suppose, they didn’t know what he was singing about,” replied Karougian. However Richard Hagopian had a unique response to this. “They know all of it,” he advised me. Looking out my report assortment in addition to YouTube, the one instance I may discover of a recording the place the singer really says “Egin veran olmush” (Agn is in ruins), was by a Turkish singer, who from what I may inform, was a identified nationalist and lively politically. There’s a variety of speak about cultural appropriation in our day and age, however that takes the cake. Maybe it’s the most appropriate to say, as with the Genocide on the whole: they know, however they received’t admit it.

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