Razbirat.com & Rockar.narod.ru presents...
History of Armenian Rock Music

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     Part I. Intro     

           	          ... Hayastan aselis ashkharn im tunn e,
            	        Hayastan aselis im mahe um shunn e?
           	         Klinem, kmnam ayspes
              			(Hamo Sahyan)

           ... Es im Anush Hayastani arevaham barn em sirum
   	       (Yegishe Charents)


 Qez Hay Lezu ksirem mrgastani mi nman
	(Vahan Tekeyan)

I. Intro
II. Sixties
III. Seventies
IV. Eighties
V. Nineties:The new era
VI. Nineties:The blockade years
VII. End of nineties
VIII. Outro
Acknowledgments to all those who helped me gather information I needed, to all the Armenian musicians who dwelled exclusively on their enthusiasm and love for music, and to fans that kept that music alive. Special acknowledgments to Mikayel Abazyan (Yerevan) for sharing the recent news which I unfortunately never witnessed and for correcting flaws in the text... And of course for sharing with some of the mp3 files that you will enjoy on these pages. To Deadsouls (Los Angeles) for a comprehensive list of new bands... To Ashot Manvelyan (Germany) for support and details... To Armen Meschian (Boston) for details on "Apostles". To Gugo for assisting with translations. To you, almighty reader for stumbling upon this god-forsaken webpage... Lav lineq chagh lineq!

There is no good place to start off with the history of Armenian rock and roll music. Just like I cannot pretend to cover everything and everybody in a comprehensive way. After all, there is no right way to represent any history and this webpage will never be fully complete. Therefore, my request goes to you, oh kind and indigenuous reader... Should you notice any inconsistencies, false information, do not hesitate to let me know about it on Razbirat's feedback form or email to Ashot Grigoryan at mailto:ashotarmenia@yahoo.com.

And prior to starting, may I assure that I've tried to limit on my personal opinions and present the information as unbiased as possible. Surely enough, portraying the history of Armenian rock cannot simply be limited to listing chronological bands and artists. My endeavor was rather to convey the feeling of specific era... For music is not only an amalgamation of sounds. Music is ideology, music is a movement, music reflects the society, the atmosphere of the world surrounding us. Which means, I will do my best to paint the spirit of these years in order to fully understand whatever was going on in Armenian music. Those who lived in Armenia during these years might find the events they've been at and familiar names. To you this page might serve as an amusing description of what you already know. To others, hopefully this will hold at least some informative value.

Photo: Yerevan's Concert and Sports Hall built in 80's during the Soviet era represents one of the modern architectural landmarks of Armenia.

So Armenian rock music. Years of innovative rock bands, talented artists, fusion of styles. Ancient church gospels mixed with western influence. Self-taught and self-bred musical geniuses popping up from nowhere, making their traces onto lives of our little 3-million people republic. Festivals, free open-air concerts, pseudo-hippy and punk movements dying and re-born. Nothing big though. Soviet iron curtain worked quite well in muffling everything from outside and inside. And of course how could we forget the Armenian conservatist society in which being different meant being an outsider... Long hair, piercings and alternative musical preferences were looked upon as a horrendous abnormality of modern genetics. Nevertheless, music was always a big cult in Armenia, especially inside its capital Yerevan.

A statue to Komitas Vardapet, famous Armenian composer/musician. Author of many church gospels, patarags. Very spiritual and artistic by nature, Komitas turned insane after not being able to witness atrocities of Turks slaughtering innocent Armenians in the beginning of the century.

Listen to the music of Komitas:

Where to begin? The starting point.. Is it with the good old Asbarez with the mellow-voiced Armen Darbinian who brought to life the love chants of Yerevan... Or perhaps it's the world-famous Yerevan jazz with Simon Vratsian and Co.? Or is it even deeper, in armenian folklore, in church gospels? Just like talking about American rock'n'roll cannot be started without George Gershwin, the history of Armenian popular music has to mention its very roots. Throughout centuries, religious Armenian gospel choirs, travelling ashough troubadours (Sayat Nova) were the very essence of our culture. The bitter history of our nation filled with wars, deprivation and the Genocide penetrated through our music. Listen to Komitas Vardapet, and the pain inside his melodies. Now listen to the whistful music of Jivan Gasparyan's duduk. Almost hundred years in between, we lug on with the memories lingering inside our very genes. We portray our culture and history through art... Through Saryan's and Avetisyan's paintings, through Isahakian's and Tumanian's poetry. Through the music of Aram Khachatourian and movies of Sergey Parajanov. Through art...

Left: Famous Armenian troubadour (Ashough) Sayat Nova
Right: A scene from Sergey Parajanov's legendary movie "Colors of pomegranate" about Sayat Nova's life and spiritual quest

Listen to the music of Sayat Nova

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Text and design by Simon Simonian, Razbirat.com

Copyright notice: Some of the information in here has been cordially shared by various bands and individuals, therefore I cannot place copyright protection neither on photos, nor on the lyrics/music as they belong to the actual artists and bands. However, the actual text and design is protected by the copyright laws and cannot be reproduced or copied without my consent. If you are the author of any lyrics or music (or other form of intellectual property) displayed on this page and would like to remove it, mailto:ashotarmenia@yahoo.com and I will immediately remove it from here.

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