Komitas culture expert Artur Shahnazaryan in a recent interview said that Komitas’s music he plays is often interrupted by the sounds of Turkish music that is regularly played in the neighborhood.
Shahnazaryan is not surprised by this, adding that it had been the same in the days of Komitas. Even in his memoirs, the great musician told how rich Armenian amirs paid the clergy and forced them to sing liturgies in Turkish.
“We are doing everything to bring the culture of Komitas to the listener. I compiled a songbook, we recorded all our songs, recreated a lullaby, distributed them in maternity hospitals, but we haven’t had success. It seems that this is all a project”.
What would have happened if Komitas took the new standards of teaching music into his own hands and realized that a schoolchild within the limits of his curriculum cannot learn even 12 songs during his 12 years of schooling?
The national culture and language should be taught from the cradle, even in kindergarten or primary school, Shahnazaryan believes.
“The new standards of music are crazy. Under this program, a student cannot learn even one song a year.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a concert dedicated to Komitas was canceled. Instead, the concert took place online, says vocalist and composer Lusine Mardanyan. The concert was organized by Tamar Kaprelian, the founder of Nvak Foundation, and incorporated novel techniques for the music of Komitas.
“We wanted to present the melody in the way the original Komitas would have sounded in our time. But today, musicians are trying to be like foreign performers, while we have our own melodies, which are much more beautiful.”
Painting without lines
When asked how he would have portrayed Komitas if he had not seen his photos, artist Shant Karapetyan struggles to answer, adding that under the name “Komitas”, he understands the Armenian roots.
Shant Karapetyan’s recent creation featured no lines. Instead, it was composed by sticking a pen into the canvas 1.5 million times. One face of the canvas portrays the Deir ez-Zor desert, while the other portrays Komitas with raised hands.
In order not to lose our physical homeland, we must keep it strong. In order not to lose our cultural, spiritual homeland, which is becoming tangible, we must not forget about our roots.