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    • Ensemble Karot - Vol. I - Traditional Songs of Armenia




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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016


 - FM 50033 - P & C 2000
more information songs - see: Ensemble Karot

1. Khnotsu Yerg - (work song) Shatak / Vaspurakan Province - 2:58
2. Ari Ertank - Come, let's go (love song) - Sasun / Mush (Taron region) - 3:48
3. Mogats Shuken - The store of Moks (humorous song) - Shatak / Moks region - 0:58
4. Ororotsayin Shark - Lullaby - Goghtn / Agn / Kessab / Sasun - 6:29
5. Sandi Yerg - Song of the stone-mill (work song) - Shatak - 2:10
6. Tnen Ilar - You went from the house (lyric song, love song) - Shatak - 1:37
7. Yis Mernim Qi - I give you my life (lyric song) - Shatak - 1:20
8. Kanatchatsav - It became green (wedding song) - Shatak - 2:52
9. Mer Takvorin - Our groom (wedding song) - Shatak - 3:36
10. Jur Kuker - The stream is coming (dance song) - Vaspurakan - 2:46
11. Gorani (emigrant's song) - Mush - 2:04
12. Aghves - The fox (humorous song) - Shatak - 1:04
13. Nkhshun Tel - Colorful threads (humorous song) - Taron - 1:29
14. Lachini Manan - Latshin and Mana (humorous song) - Basen - 1:35
15. Drdo (love song) - Sasun - 2:14
16. Es Gisher - This night (ceremonial song / love song) - Shatak - 2:50
17. Bari Luso - The morning light (work song) - Vaspurakan - 1:39
18. Yarem Ker - There was a lover (lyric song, love song) - Vaspurakan - 1:53
19. Srtiks Erku Yar - My heart wants two lovers (lyric song, love song) - Vaspurakan - 1:49
20. Zinch u Zinch - What and what else? (love song) - Sasun - 1:29
21. Horovel - Plowing song (work song) - Lori Region - 3:53
22. Gharabaghi Horovel - Plowing song of Karabagh (work song) - Karabagh - 2:04
23. Khorodig - Beautiful (love song) - Sasun - 3:23
24. Im Khorodig Yar - My beautiful lover (love song) - Sasun - 1:45
25. Kroonk - The crane (emigrant's song) - Pontus region - 7:48
26. Nani Bala - Sweet child (lullaby) - Vaspurakan - 2:31
27. Mur Tan Idev - Behind our house (ring dance) - Shatak - 2:49
28. Kanche Kroonk - Call to th crane (emigrant's song) - Sasun - 2:44
29. Garoon Batzver - Arrival of spring (emigrant's song) - Mush - 2:31
30. Done Yar - Dear lover (dance song) - Sasun - 2:25
31. Kessabi Lullaby - Kessab / Cilicia - 1:54

Songs of Armenia

The text and meaning of the song determines its theme or genre. The Armenian folk song is classified into the following genres:

- work songs, including women's work songs, and "horovels", that is plowing songs or songs of the field
- ceremonial songs (i.e. for weddings, funerals etc.)
- epic songs - In Armenian music tradition, epic songs are thematically distinct in two categories.
The one with the bigger repertory contains mythological themes of pagan Armenia like "Haik and Bel", "Dork Angegh", "Ara and Shamiram" and those classified as "fables".
The others are the so-called heroic songs telling about the history and the traditions of these people and their heroes, such as e.g. "Sasuntzi Davith" dealing with the adventures of the Christian king David of Sasun in his defense against infidel Arab invaders from Egypt and Persia. The epic was based on oral tradition that presumably dates from the 8th to the 10th century; it was widely known from the 16th through the 19th century and was finally written down in 1873.
- historical songs - These songs reflect Armenian history and reality. Through such songs, we can learn about the real events of Armenian history in various times
- dance songs (songs sung during a dance)
- humorous songs
- lullabies
- lyric songs, love songs
- songs of the emigrants (these songs tell stories about tragedy, persecution, emigration, torture, and the grief of the Armenian people).


Work songs

All work songs describe something of the working process and are sung to accompany work. Songs of the fields are called "horovels". This is a large, many-sided genre, in which the peasant expresses his thoughts, desires, and his love for the nature, all combined with a deep respect for his work. Singing helps, not only during the period of work, but to endure and overcome the trials and difficulties of life.

1. Khnotsu Yerg - Shatak / Vaspurakan Province
- Hasmik Harutyunyan - voc
Our khnots is colorful / with the yoghurt of seven sheep. / I shake the khnotz, I take out butter / for the laborers, I prepare food.

5. Sandi Yerg - Song of the stone-mill - Shatak
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc - Noune Atanasian, voc
Who hits the stone-mill? / A thousand greetings, for his share. / I have a husband, lost and wandering / with torn trousers, you are a pity. / This evening is Sunday's dawn. / I have a husband, who is a baby chick.

17. Bari Luso - The morning light - Vaspurakan
- Anoosh Harutyunyan, voc - Lilit Harutyunyan, voc
The stars of the bright morning have appeared, / dawn has opened its doors / during the time of prayer. / The morning light has dawned with wonder. / With my plow, I go and cultivate the fields.

21. Horovel - Plowing song - Lori region
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc
Plow the earth, the soil folding to the side. / Dear oxen, dear brother / now, wondrous animal, arise, stand. / Go on, go forward.

22. Gharabaghi Horovel - Plowing song of Karabagh - Karabagh
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc
The moon has appeared, / its light descending on my house, / for this day we must plow the fields / and from this there will be hope in my heart.


Ceremonial songs

Ceremonial songs are sung at weddings, at funerals (songs of sadness and mourning) and on various other holidays and at festive celebrations. Every ceremony or holiday has its particular ceremonial song. The roots of this genre are to be found in pagan times, but since the Christian era, they have assumed new meanings and a new importance, which they have maintained till today.

8. Kanatchatsav - It became green (wedding song) - Shatak
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
The apricot tree turned green. / Its branches became as green / as the home of our king.

9. Mer Takvorin - Our groom (wedding song) - Shatak
Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
What does our groom need? / He needs a crown, and to waer green trousers / and the green and red knot / of his wedding belt.

16. Es Gisher - This night (love song) - Shatak
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
This night, autumn night / dampness is descending, coloring the river. / The colorful birds of Arnos Mountain / have entered sleep with my beloved.



Dance songs

This kind of song is often combined with some kind of game. The songs are usually short and they are sung during group dancing. The names of some of these songs are "Khagh, Yaili, Gyond, Taghaloo and Mani". The roots of these songs are hidden in the pagan era, emerging again at the same time as the ceremonial songs. The main theme of this genre is love for the nature and for life, or for a person. Dance songs can be distinguished by their repetitive movements that reflect a short series of steps, which are repeated many times. Dance songs are always happy songs.

10. Jur Kuker - The stream is coming - Vaspurakan
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
The stream is coming from the high mountains / water is falling on the marble rocks. / My lover dances happily near th stream / the light of the sun on her face.

27. Mur Tan Idev - Behind our house (ring dance) - Shatak
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
Behind our house, lost in fields of wheat. / The horses were neighing. / On the slopes of Arnos Mountain, barley is sowed. / I exchange the barley for an apple, / the apple I will send to my lover.

30. Done Yar - Dear love (dance song) - Sasun
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
In the back of our house is a plum tree, / behind your house a plum tree grows. / The plum doesn't roll toward her house, / whoever catches the plum, will never die.


Humorous songs

Humorous songs provide a unique method for people to understand and judge man's everyday weaknesses (jealousy, greed, etc.) as well as to offer acceptable moral limits to them. In this type of music, the meaning is similar to that of the dance song, where the rhythm, or the tempo, plays an important role. The songs reveal in this way their contents or meaning.

3. Mogats Shuken - The store of Moks - Shatak / Moks region
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc - Noune Atanasian, voc
The store of Moks is wide and long / two youths are coming and going / one with a mustache, one without / the one with a mustache / has a home and is rich. / The one, who has no mustache / has nothing. / The one with no mustache is my beloved.

12. Aghves - The fox - Shatak
- Anoosh Harutyunyan, voc - Lilit Harutyunyan, voc
The fox went to the flour-mill / raised his paws and did a good dance. / A measure and a half of wheat was ground, / the fox put it on his back and ran off....

13. Nkhshun Tel - Colorful threads - Taron
- Anoosh Harutyunyan, voc - Lilit Harutyunyan
Colorful thread, colorful thread / the colorful thread of my tamboor. / What am I doing, what am I not doing, / no sound is coming from inside.

14. Lachini Manan - Latshin and Mana - Basen
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
Latshin sat threading her wool, / when her beloved came, knocking at the door. / Tell your mother, open this door / but open it in a way, that no one will know.



Lullabies

The lullaby is the oldest genre of music created by man. Well-known Armenian lullabies are "Nana, Loorig, Roorig, Ayer, Hayroor" and others. The main theme of a lullaby is the love for the child. Various subjects or feelings are expressed in lullabies, when the mother is rocking the cradle and singing, forgetting her daily burden, remembering past loves, embracing touching memories. Doing so, she is also passing past lamentations to the next generation, thus awakening in the young heart a heroic soul and the feeling for the homeland.

4. Ororotsayin Shark - Lullaby - Goghtn / Agn / Kessab / Sasun
- Hasmik Harutyunyan
Rock, rock / I rock you, I place you in the cradle, / I put the holy angels as your keepers, / sweet sleep has come from your eyes. / The winds of the mountains are rocking you. / I lull you with soft songs. / Let the stars of the heavens speak with you, / the sun and the moon are your playmates. / Rock, rock.

26. Nani Bala - Sweet child - Vaspurakan
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
Sleep, my child, as I rock you, / I put you in a golden cradle / and cover you with a blanket of marble. / I say to my son, and my brother's son, / Sleep, sleep.

31. Kessabi Lullaby - Kessab / Cilicia
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
The light of the moon is shining. / My sweet, rock, sleep .... / I love the light of your eyes / pair of eyes, rock, sleep.



Lyric songs - Love songs

Lyric songs make up the largest part of the Armenian folk song repertory. The themes are manifold including love, social uncertainties and upheavals, tragedies suffered under foreign rule, and various deep expressions of the soul and life.

2. Ari Ertank - Come, let's go (love song) - Sasun / Mush (Taron region)
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc
Come, let's go to the mountains of Sasun / I will be the pillar, / you will be the home. / Come, let's go to Bingol Mountain. / I will be a fish, / you will be my pool.

6. Tnen Ilar - You went from the house (lyric song, love song) - Shatak
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc
You left home, stood near the door / your waist is thin as a dagger's belt. / The wind plays with my hair, / tossing it from side to side, / I have wandered from your heart / and have been made crazy.

7. Yis Mernim Qi - I give you my life (lyric song) - Shatak
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
I die for you, distant moon. / From where have you come - alone, alone. / I haven't seen a man as wondrous as you, / may the holy monastery of Saint Gevorg be your protector.

15. Drdo (love song) - Sasun
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc
Drdo, your home is in ruins, / the river Murad is rushing. / Come I will help you flee / I will take you to the Plains of Mush, / to the Plains of Mush and Saint Karapet Monastery.

18. Yarem Ker - There was a lover (lyric song, love song) - Vaspurakan
- Hasmik Harutyunyan. voc
I had a lover who was my king. / The village talked of my luck, / of the one who took my heart. / May the fire of God fall on you.

19. Srtiks Erku Yar - My heart wants two lovers (lyric song, love song) - Vaspurakan
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
My heart desires two lovers / one, an Armenian, the other Assyrian. / The Armenian in my heart, / the Assyrian by my side.

20. Zinch u Zinch - What and what else? (love song) - Sasun
Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
My hair bow, has fallen into the sea. / What can I give the swimmer, to find my bow? / I can give him my kiss, / my belt, / my dress / and I can give him my embrace .....

23. Khorodig - Beautiful (love song) - Sasun
Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
I went out at night, / the moon shining sweetly through the clouds. / I asked the moon. / Where are you going? / To the mountains of Sasun, he replied. / When you descend on Maratuk Mountain / give greetings to my lover. / Beautiful, with grace, with flowing hair, / a melody within, with festive shoes.

24. Im Khorodig Yar - My beautiful love (love song) - Sasun
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc - Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
My beautiful love / lying in the garden / touched by the wind, her breast open. / I became crazy, and kissed your face. / Seeing this, the crane has left / and taken the news from village to village.



Songs of the emigrants

In Armenian popular culture, the emigrant's song is also called "Anduni", meaning one who, without choice, must leave his home. These songs tell the story of emigrants, who were forced to leave the country and search for good fortune and happiness, but their hearts are burning from a deep longing and grief, and the spiritual and psychological pressures of their life. Classic examples of this genre are "Kroonk", (The crane), and "Anduni" (Homeless).

11. Gorani - Mush
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
The plains of Mush, without lord or owner, / there were 500 villages. / The water of Meghraged (river of honey) / was medicine for the sick.

25. Kroonk - The crane - Pontus region
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
Crane, from where have you come? / I wait for your call. / Crane, have you no news from our country?

28. Kanche Kroonk - Call to the crane - Sasun
- Hasmik Harutyunyan, voc
I wait for your call, crane, for your voice, / as it is still spring / I have gone to another land, / I long for the soil and water of my motherland.

29. Garoon Batsver - Arrival of spring - Mush
- Aleksan Harutyunyan, voc
Spring has opened, the snows are melting / I have tied the laces of my stockings, / we will go to our beautiful country. / We left our land at the edge of the sea. / Our homes alone, without a keeper. / There the wolves and wild beasts / have placed their nests. / Come, we will go to our beautiful country.



The
Ensemble Karot (means nostalgia) was founded in 1999 by Aleksan Harutyunyan. All members of the ensemble have either studied at the Yerevan State University or at the Komitas State Conservatory. Nowadays, they teach in Yerevan the traditional music of their ancestors, choir singing, playing the traditional instruments, folk dance and the basics of music.
The repertoire of the Ensemble consists of songs that belong to the old tradition. The performance is based on the idea to preserve the songs of the different regions of Armenia, as well as to represent Armenia's "old roots" and the design of the original costumes in local traditions.

- Aleksan Harutyunyan was born in 1962 in Yerevan, Armenia. His ancestors are from the province of Mush in Historical Armenia. He graduated from Yerevan State University and the Komitas State Conservatory. For several years, he worked for the "Agoonk" Ensemble of the Armenian National Radio as a soloist, and later as the group's director. He is now the soloist and producer of the Hi Folk Ensemble.
- Noune Atanasian, Aleksan's wife, was born in 1967 in Yerevan. Her ancestors are from the regions of Surmalu and Sasun in Historical Armenia. In 1990, she graduated from the Komitas State Conservatory in the Department of Musical Theory. She now works in the Folklore Department of the Conservatory. Noune sings in the Yerevan Chamber Choir and the Hi Folk Ensemble.
- Hasmik Harutyunyan was born in 1960 in Yerevan. Her ancestors are from the province of Mush in Historical Armenia. She graduated from the Department of Vocal Music at the Arno Babajanyan School of Music and the Yerevan State Pedagogical Institute. For several years, she worked as a soloist for the "Agoonk" Ensemble of the Armenian National Radio. Hasmik is now the artistic director of the Hayrig Muradian Children's Song and Dance Folklore Group.
- Anoosh Harutyunyan was born in 1987 in Yerevan. She is a niece of Aleksan, Hasmik, and Heriknaz Harutyunyan. She attends the Tigranyan Music School in the Department of Piano. Anoush is a soloist in the Hayrig Muradian Children's Song and Dance Folklore Group.
- Lilit Harutyunyan was born in 1990 in Yerevan. She is Aleksan Harutyunyan's and Noune Atanasian's daughter. She attends the Tchaikovsky Special School of Music in the Department of Piano. Lilit is a soloist in the Hayrig Muradian Children's Song and Dance Folklore Group


Noune Atanasian, Aleksan Harutyunyan, Hasmik Harutyunyan, Heriknaz Harutyunyan
back: Anoosh Harutyunyan, Aram Harutyunyan, Lilit Harutyunyan


The art of Armenian folk music is as old as the Armenian nation itself. The song is the mirror of the people's soul, and in this way, we can become acquainted with the traditions, the mentality, and the history of Armenian life.
The Armenian people have a past with considerable historical events. Armenia was often the object of a tug-of-war between various belligerent nations, struggling to maintain national independence. After the tragedy of the 1915 massacres, Armenia recovered and gained again a foothold to continue on the way to a hopeful future.
The musicologist Komitas has described Armenian music with these words: "The songs of a people are their life; their entire life is inspired by their songs....". Because of the Armenians' difficult fate, their music is rich and of an unparalleled depth and colour. Under the influence of various foreign political and economic tendencies, Armenian musical creativity was enriched, while still following its own path and maintaining the ties to the traditions that link the past with the present.

- more information Traditional Music and Instruments of Armenia


History of Armenia

Armenia and the Armenian people have a history of more than three thousand years. Other nations have given this land, which Armenians call "Hayasdan," the name of Armenia. On the oldest map of the world, the Greek writer Hegatios Miletian (540-489 BC) marked this country as the Land of Armenia. This territory corresponded with the Armenian plateau, where in the ninth century BC existed the country of Urartu, which went through different periods of advanced historical development and changes. In the beginning, Armenia consisted of various small and large kingdoms that had the Armenian language (1) in common. During the period of Tigran the Great (95-55 BC), all Armenian people joined to become one nation covering a territory, which included that of the entire Armenian plateau. In 301 AD, Christianity became the official religion of Armenia. In 387 AD, after the fall of Greater Armenia (2) and until the beginning of the twentieth century, Armenia was under the rule of different neighbouring and non-neighbouring countries. From time to time, the Armenians regain their sovereignty, or were ruled locally, as in the period of the Bagradunis of Ani and Cilician Armenia. Western Armenia was under the rule of Ottoman Turkey, and until the beginning of the twentieth century, Armenians formed the greater part of the population there. Taking advantage of the time of the First World War (1914-1918) and the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Turkish government organised the deportation and massacre of the Armenian population. In 1918, Eastern Armenia became a state, where Soviet rule was established later. In 1990, Armenia declared itself an independent country.

(1) Armenian was introduced into the mountainous Transcaucasian region (called Greater Armenia by the Greek historians) by invaders, who occupied the region on the shores of Lake Van that had previously been the site of the ancient Urartean kingdom
(2) The Artaxiads - After the defeat of the Seleucid king Antiochus the Great by Rome at the Battle of Magnesia (winter 190-189 BC), his two Armenian satraps, Artashes (Artaxias) and Zareh (Zariadres), established themselves, with Roman consent, as kings of Greater Armenia and Sophene, respectively, thus becoming the creators of an independent Armenia.
On the collapse of Greater Armenia many Armenians emigrated to Georgia, Poland, and Galicia, while others crossed into Cilicia, where some colonies had already settled at the end of the 10th century.
- *Historic region of eastern Europe that was a part of Poland before Austria annexed it in 1772: in the 20th century it was restored to Poland but was later divided between Poland and the Soviet Union (today Ukraine). During the middle Ages, eastern Galicia, situated between Hungary, Poland, and the western principalities of Kiev and Volhynia, was coveted by its neighbours for its fertile soil and its important commercial connections.

- map sketch: The Oriental Empire

- map Greater Armenia

- map sketch: Armenia today


Religion of Armenia

In ancient times, Armenia was a pagan country. Armenians worshipped fire and water, lightening and rain, as brothers and sisters, thus giving them a holy mission. In the first century AD, Christianity was introduced to Armenia by the preaching of the apostles of Christ, Thaddeus and Bartholomew. Due to the efforts of Gregory the Illuminator, Armenia established Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD In the capital of Vagharshabat (later Echmiadzin), the cathedral of Echmiadzin was built in 303. This became the place of residence of the Catholicos* of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the spiritual centre of all Armenians.

*(Greek 'katholikos' = "universal" bishop, in Eastern Christian Churches, title of certain ecclesiastical superiors.

We would like to thank all of our Armenian and Swiss friends for their help in translating;
Datevik Hovanesian, Andranik Michaelian and Silvia Delorenzi-Schenkel.

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