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Armenia’s Gyumri hosts ‘Renaissance’ festival

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Armenia’s Gyumri is hosting the 6th international festival-contest of musicians ‘Renaissance.’
This year, the festival is marking the 135th birthday anniversary of Armen Tigranyan, 140th birthday anniversary of Sergey Rakhmaninov and 20th anniversary of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
The festival is aimed at advocating classical music, promoting friendship between performers from different nations and paving the way for new types of creative cooperation. In total, 2,700 performers from 33 countries are participating in the festival.
Raisa Mkrtchyan, who represents Gyumri, says that many of the participants have very beautiful voice.
“It is very good, but they should first of all perform songs by Armenian composers well. I am surprised at Armenian voices. Armenian air and water may account for that.”
Hmayak Durzaryan, a jury member for string instruments, has noticed an interesting change in people’s attitude this year.
“In previous years, both the participants and Gyumri residents used to be sad. We all were shedding tears when we heard the songs, recalling the earthquake. May be this is the reason why we have been able to overcome. But this year we have noticed a luster in people’s eyes.”

Wife of Jailed Activist: “I regard Avetis as the embodiment of all Armenia”

April 10, 2014 Armenia, Music, Video No Comments
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13:37, April 10, 2014

Hetq continues its series on those who were arrested with Shant Harutyunyan last November with today’s spotlight on 26 year-old Avetis Avetisyan.

Avetis was only able to see his new born son Armen for two days after bringing him home from the hospital.

“Our son Armen was born on October 31. He was only six days old on November 5 when Avetis was arrested,” Avetis’s wife Armineh told Hetq.

Армен, сын Аветиса и Армине

Because Avetis was arrested, Armineh was forced to return to work much sooner than expected.

“My son is five months old now and I don’t know if he feels that his father isn’t here at home.

Appointment: Ministry of Culture names Opera/Ballet director

April 8, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Music No Comments

The Ministry of Culture has announced the appointment of Russian citizen Andranik Arzumanyan, a diplomat and expert in Arabic studies, as director of the Armenian National Academy of Opera and Ballet. For the past ten years Arzumanyan has led a Russian cultural center in Egypt.

Former director of the National Academy of Opera and Ballet Kamo Hovhannisyan was dismissed, based on his own letter of resignation, after performers refused to go on stage for a performance of the opera “Anush”. The artists were protesting the contentious law on pension reform. In total about 700 musicians, dancers, stage personnel and service staff boycotted the performance.

Haykakan Zhamanak: Waiting for new culture minister

April 6, 2014 Armenia, Culture, Music No Comments
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Representatives of Armenia’s cultural world are said to be looking forward to the culture minister’s replacement.
Professors of the Yerevan State Conservatory, principals of music schools and representatives of other cultural institutions are said to be aware that Minister Hasmik Poghosyan (who for many years held the responsible), is going to step down in April to give way to Armen Smbatyan, the head of the CIS Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation, says the paper.

Source: TertOriginial Article

Keeping the Tradition Alive: Argentine-Armenian Singer Loves the Old Melodies

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11:07, March 29, 2014

The repertoire of Argentine born and bred singer Valeria Cheregian includes Spanish tangos and old Armenian melodies. While the tangos convey her fiery nature which Valeria masterfully imparts on stage, the Armenian songs transport her back to her roots.

“These two musical traditions move me when I hear them. These songs live within us, in our hearts and souls. They are a part of me, as well as my father and grandfather,” says Valeria. A lawyer by profession, Valeria decided to devote her life to music.

“When I was born, the first sounds I heard were Armenian melodies. These were passed on mby her grandparents who came to Argentina before the 1915 Genocide. The singer has been to Armenia three times and plans to visit again.

Little Armenia, New York

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15:26, March 27, 2014

By Bhavna Patel

Near Manhattan’s Murray Hill lies a go-to spot for Hindi movie rental shops, paan vendors and grocery stores catering to the South Asian community. There, the aroma of Indian spices waft through doors and on to the streets of Lexington Avenue, near East 28th Street, a neighborhood informally termed “Curry Hill.”

By 2000, Indians became the third-largest population of foreign-born residents in America, many of whom settled near Murray Hill, a district which lies between East 34th Street and 42nd Street, through Madison Avenue and East River. The area is named after the mercantile Murray family who, in the mid-1700s, migrated to New York from North Carolina and briefly, Pennsylvania. Since then, the area has experienced many cultural transitions.

What Future Can Armenia Guarantee to Two Talented Brothers in the Arts?

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16:46, March 21, 2014

Mikael Harutyunyan, 16, and Norayr Harutyunyan, 18, are brothers who began painting and composing music at the tender ages of 11 and 12, respectively.

They want to make their contribution to the world of art, adding their names among the list of great Armenian artists. Mikael and Norayr are inspired by their homeland and each other but wished more attention was paid to the arts in Armenia — particularly in terms of funding.

Breath of Victory: Armenia’s Eurovision 2014 participant, officials upbeat on song success


Positive responses to the romantic ballad to be sung by Armenia’s representative in Eurovision 2014 as well as bookmaker predictions have created expectations of victory in the Danish capital of Copenhagen where Europe’s biggest pop music contest is due to take place in May.

During Friday’s meeting with media in Yerevan head of Armenia’s Eurovision delegation Gohar Gasparyan said that she had participated in the meeting of Eurovision delegations in Copenhagen and that all reactions to Armenian singer Aram Mp3’s ‘Not Alone’ song were positive there. She even called such overwhelmingly positive response unprecedented for an Armenian entry.

Eurovision 2014: Armenia’s Aram MP3 to sing ballad co-authored with friend


The Armenian Public Television last Friday premiered Armenia’s entry in Eurovision 2014, Europe’s biggest pop music contest to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in May.

Aram Sargsyan, better known by his stage name Aram Mp3, had himself written the music of the romantic ballad called Not Alone, while Aram’s best friend and fellow entertainer Garik Papoyan is the author of the lyrics.

The song, which is in English, is about how important it is to keep fighting for love. “One kiss can change everything” – one of the lines in the song says.

Aram Mp3 is Armenia’s eighth Eurovision participant since the nation debuted in the pan-European song contest in 2006 (Armenia skipped the 2012 show that was held in Baku, Azerbaijan).

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.

2013 in Civil Society: Protests and more protests


The struggle of civil movements this year has been comprehensive and diverse with limited success in certain fields due to unified efforts and active involvement of the civil society.

Despite the rather passive start of the year in terms of civil movements, the second half of 2013 turned out to be tense with active developments.

Some analysts believe that especially after the February 18 presidential ballot, when current president Serzh Sargsyan won a decisive victory over his opponents and was re-elected for a second term, despite the widespread poverty and atmosphere of injustice in the country, people became even more aware of the fact that is it impossible to achieve changes via elections and started practicing their constitutional rights to civil protest and disobedience more frequently.

Armenian Foreign Policies 2013: Customs Union, U-turn on EU accord, Karabakh, Turkey, regional developments


2013 became a milestone year for Armenia not only in its foreign, but also domestic politics. After nearly four years of negotiations with the European Union over the signing of an association agreement on September 3 Armenia unexpectedly announced its intention to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

This decision has had its influence not only on Armenia proper, but also on the processes elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Inspired by Armenia’s decision, Russia stepped up its pressure on Ukraine, which suspended the process of signing of the Association Agreement with the EU one week before the Vilnius summit of Eastern Partnership. As a result, on November 29 such agreements were initialed only by Moldova and Georgia.

Heritage reshuffle: Postanjyan becomes new leader of parliamentary faction


Zaruhi Postanjyan has been elected new head of the opposition Heritage faction in parliament. The change comes after Ruben Hakobyan announced his decision to resign as faction leader earlier today.

Talking to media in parliament Hakobyan said Heritage Party leader Raffi Hovannisian had been notified about his move well in advance. He left questions about reasons for his step without commentary, only saying that he had decided to step down as faction leader before the recent scandal around Postanjyan in the wake of her controversial question to President Serzh Sargsyan about his gambling habit at the PACE plenary session in Strasbourg on October 2.