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Elena Yerevan - "Գետաշեն (Getashen)" (2017 Dance Plant Records)

Cover Image for Elena Yerevan - "Գետաշեն (Getashen)" (2017 Dance Plant Records)

UPDATE 5/4/23: Per Elena Yerevan's Facebook, she's had a dispute with Dance Plant Records on account of not receiving any proceeds from this or her other records made with the label (whether via Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, or wherever). So I've substituted a performance from one of her livestreams...which is comparable, it's just that this site is arbitrarily supposed to be about record records not live stuff. Please support releases from her channels rather than Dance Plant Records...

w Gusan Haykazun; from My Guitar, Dance Plant Records – DPR-CD-2505

April 24th is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, which commemorates the mass-deportation and extermination of ~1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917 (the specific day, or night, of April 24th, 1915 is when the Ottoman government began mass-arresting Armenian intellectuals in the capital of Constantinople, now Istanbul).

"Getashen" (Գետաշեն) was written in 1990 during the first Nagorno-Karabakh War (which I touched on lightly in a previous post), during the course of which Soviet Azerbaijani forces violently deported the Armenian populations of dozens of villages in the Nagorno-Karabakh/Artaskh region that neighbors Armenia and has historically been majority Armenian-populated (see Operation Ring). Getashen was one such village.

Gusan Haykazun (Գուսան Հայկազուն, the poetical name of songwriter Gagik Nazaryan) is said to have volunteered to fight and defend Getashen, but was turned down by a commanding officer in Yerevan (he would have been around 40 at the time, and already a patriotic songwriter of some renown). He then tried to stow away on the plane carrying the other volunteers, but the commander found him and told him it would be better for him to stay and write a song instead. "Getashen" is a paean to the village and its indomitable resilience.

Now it seems likely that Armenia will have to recognize Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan in the very near future - meanwhile, Azerbaijan continues to blockade the only road from Artsakh to Armenia and has additionally added a checkpoint along the corridor, prolonging the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh. If you would like to help the displaced people of Artsakh and, once the blockade is ended, those still living in the region, you can contribute to the Armenian General Benevolent Union's Global Relief Fund (the AGBU also has a mission to promote and preserve Armenian culture, including but not limited to music).

As for the performer of this rendition of "Getashen", Elena Yerevan (stage name of Yelena Nikoghosyan) is a classically-trained guitarist who has played and sung all over Europe and parts of the U.S., including the Ford Amphitheatre. She does tons of Flamenco-ey covers of songs in several languages, including by Gipsy Kings (with whom she's personally acquainted), Zaz, and Led Zeppelin - like this bit of "Stairway to Heaven":

Definitely check out other videos on her YouTube Channel, and on her father's channel (classic Armenian). Her best stuff is live on the street, like this performance of "Հուսո Առագաստ" (Huso Aragast - "Sail of Hope") with the song's lyricist Eduard Zorikyan:

And for some other great live performances, on this day of remembrance...

Also Check Out:

By Elena Yerevan:

"Անցա Գնացի" (Anca Gnaci - "I Passed Away", but not in the sense of "I died", just moving right along from one place to another) - YouTube

By Khatchadour Tankian & Serj Tankian:

"Բարի արագիլ" (Bari Arakeel - "Good Stork") - YouTube | Spotify

By Arthur Meschian:

" ԱՐԻ ԻՄ ՍՈԽԱԿ" (Ari Im Sokhag - "Come Hither Nightingale") - YouTube

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