Don Zerilli Mooradian
I don’t know how I found this song but once I did I realized that, indeed, it did sound like the very soul of Armenia. It is said that it was originally about two lovers who never sealed their love for each other. However, over the years it has come to symbolize Armenia’s separation from much of its historic land in Eastern Turkey and from its beloved Mt. Ararat and Lake Van. It is also used as background music in many YouTube music videos about the Armenian Genocide.
Dle Yaman (with English subtitles)
The song comes to us via an Armenian monk with the ordained name of Komitas. He collected folk music from the region and,
though credited as the writer of the song, I have read that it is more likely that he unearthed it and preserved it and made it accessible to the rest of the world. (I would certainly welcome any scholar with more accurate information.) He had a difficult upbringing and is said to have become mentally unhinged during the Genocide. He is widely honored for having preserved much of Armenian’s musical heritage.
Same song, totally different updated visuals, still Armenian. I think it might allude to Armenia’s history or it might just be some stunning images.
This one is more to the point.
Another young woman. Another deserted church. Another picture of hope trying to sail on the winds of despair.
BACKGROUND: Armenia is an ancient nation, historically covering a large area in what is now eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and northern Iran with communities scattered into present-day Syria, Lebanon and Jerusalem. Armenians say they settled around Mt. Ararat after Noah’s ark landed there following the Bible’s Great Flood. Many historians acknowledge Armenia as one of the oldest, continuous cultures on Earth. Historians also claim that in 301AD Armenia became the first nation to accept Christianity as its official religion.
Being in at a geographically important trade and military crossroads, Armenia has been conquered many times by many different cultures. Most of its ancient homelands came under Ottoman rule during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and remained so for hundreds of years.
During World War I, the region was a chaotic battleground with Turks, Russians, Kurds, Armenians, Arabs and others along with the western Allies fighting it out for the future of the entire Middle East.
On April, 24 1915, Ottoman (Turkish) authorities arrested more than 250-270 Armenian political leaders and intellectuals in Constantinople (now Istanbul). These leaders along with several thousand more were soon killed, jailed or deported. The date is used to commemorate the beginning of The Armenian Genocide.
“While there is no clear consensus as to how many Armenians lost their lives during the Armenian genocide and what followed, there seems to be a consensus among Western scholars with the exception of few dissident and Turkish national historians, as to when covering all the period between 1914 to 1923, over a million Armenian might have perished, and the tendency seem recently to be, either presenting 1.2 million as figure or even 1.5 million, while more moderately, “over a million” is presented, as the Turkish historian Fikret Adanir provides as estimation, but excludes what followed 1917.”
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Don Zerilli Mooradian
The Moodys and the Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles