Longing is a fire that cannot be extinguished. . . .
In our everyday confusion, longing calls to us. It urges us to see clearly, as one sees a single petal on a blossoming branch in the rays of the setting sun. It tells us to search in our dreams for that one land, that one country, to which we belong.
Then, with your gaze fixed on the peaks of Ararat, you suddenly remember a certain lullaby. The song seems familiar, though it is one you and your mother have never heard. Who knows? Maybe your great-grandmother sang it as she rocked your grandmother, and now it is awakening in you. Otherwise, why would it touch you so, and make your heart tremble?
When you find the song of your ancestors, which is also a part of you, you also find your homeland, your beginning.
Our beginning is in the cradle, about which is sung:
You are the cradle of mankind
Ever proud and beautiful
You, my native land,
Armenia . . .
I have also searched for my song, the song that will help me live, create, struggle, and dream.
From the beginning, it has been a long road. . . .
Each year in Yerevan, with the coming of spring, my Mshetsi grandmother opened the gate of our little garden on the Zankou river. She spread part of a threadbare rug on a wooden cot beneath our mulberry tree, gathered us around her, and began to talk and sing. . . . Little by little, her past came to life before our eyes. It became flesh and blood, with a fiery gaze . . . and then came a song of armed and courageous young men. . . . My grandmother’s eyes were smiling, then her expression became tender as she began softly. Then she raised her voice and proudly sang her beloved Takvorakovk (Praise for the Groom):
Greetings to the groom, a thousand greetings,
You are a rose with green leaves,
May God grant you glory
By the strength of Saint Karapet . . .
In this way, drop by drop, she gathered the breath and soul of the earth where she and my grandfather once lived, and I could taste the sweet manna that fell upon the plains of Moush. By some invisible road, I entered the world of my grandmother and grandfather — not as a spectator or guest, but as a girl at home with her share of work and worry and song.
One day, I sang “Gorani” to a friend who listens to modern, fashionable music and plays classical compositions. Gorani. For me, the song was true emotion, its words close to my heart.
I had found my song.
This is how a grandmother and a song connected a friend and me to our land, our soil, and our history — everything that we speak of as our national spirit.
Later, this led me to the home of Hayrig and Maro Mouradian, to whom Armenian national music is greatly indebted. I found myself in an inspiring environment, where Armenian language and song were very much alive. That kind of wisdom is summed up in one word: Agoonk (source, or spring). Once you drink from that spring, your eyes will be opened, and you will come to appreciate the worth of your nation.
Hayrig and Maro became my teachers.
Hayrig Mouradian is a walking encyclopedia of Armenian national songs, and also their guardian. This teacher sings these countless melodies with unlimited love. We are indebted to him for their existence and resurrection.
I present to you one of Hayrig’s most loved songs, “Pari looso astgh yerevats.” According to tradition, the song was written by the villagers of Varakavank. Hayrig sings it as he learned it in the Armenian school of Van.
At the age of 94, Hayrig Mouradian, as he has for many, many years, is leading the revival of Armenian national song.
Come, let us join Hayrig in song:
In the morning a star appeared,
The doors of the sky opened,
As the bright star shines,
I harness the ox and go to plow.
Sample MP3 Recording
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