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Sirusho - "Zoma Zoma" (2019 Sirusho Production)

Cover Image for Sirusho - "Zoma Zoma" (2019 Sirusho Production)

w Trad., arr Komitas; Single

Sirusho (born Siranush Harutyunyan) is the number one pop export of Armenia, having represented the landlocked Caucasian country in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest and made records with the likes of producer RedOne and System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan. Her mother, Syuzan Margaryan, is a renowned singer as well, and Sirusho's been at it from a very young age - they both appear in this video for the song "Huso Aragast" (a classic by Armen Movsisyan & Eduard Zorikyan), from when Sirusho was a teenager:

"Zoma Zoma" is based on an old Armenian folk song by way of Komitas (1869-1935), the famed composer, musicologist, priest, and martyr of the Armenian Genocide. Of course the song's been souped up and contemporized/Westernized here, as is Sirusho's wont. Don't ask me what the lyrics mean, but the song's apparently about a woman flirting with a swimmer/diver (like, someone who dives for pearls or what have you for a living) and was a tribute to the mother goddess Anahit.

I have more often seen this folk song listed as "Zinch u Zinch". Here's a version by Nairyan Vocal Ensemble that starts out churchy and then picks up to something like Sirusho's version as it goes:

Before I close with some other recommendations...

I want to briefly call attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the majority Armenian-populated state of Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh. The history behind it goes back some ways, but put succinctly, the region was cut out of Armenia and established as an autonomous region of Azerbaijan during the formation of the Soviet Union - it declared independence from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union dissolved, and after two wars and two ceasefires (in 1994 and 2020) Azerbaijan is blockading the only road from Artsakh to Armenia; this has led to dire shortages of food, medical care, and power for thousands of people, with at least a thousand more displaced (Artsakh is entirely within the bounds of Azerbaijan - the Lachin Corridor normally connects it to nearby Armenia).

As of this writing, the blockade is beginning its third month. From what I see there is very little direct aid reaching Artsakh now, mainly or exclusively from the International Committee of the Red Cross and their dedicated fundraising page for the crisis is no longer up. 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). Once the blockade is lifted there will likely be more calls for donations all around, but for now some sort of government action is needed - if you're in the U.S. you can call on the Biden Administration and Congress to intervene.

Also Check Out:

By Sirusho:

"Zartonk" (based on the post-Genocide folk/drinking/patriotic song "Gini Lits" - see below): YouTube | Spotify

By Sahak Sahakyan

"Gini Lits" (some backstory in the YouTube description) - YouTube | Spotify

By Komitas Vardapet:

"The Sky is Cloudy" (performed by I Musici de Montréal Chamber Orchestra, cond. Yuli Turovsky) - YouTube | Spotify

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