Before I start my YerazArt tour blog from March 24-April 10, a few random notes to empty out my mental drawer. Andre and his Eurovision song entry on behalf of Armenia
- Ever since news hit that Andre's song "Without Your Love" is the official entry into the 2006 Eurovision contest, the Armenian blogshere has been lit up with various remarks about the contest, the song, and the artist. I haven't read most of them, instead wanting to review the song without any bias. My knowledge of Andre begins and ends with his performance I caught in Stepanakert on September 1, 2004 along with Alla Levonyan. He's a Karabaghsi, very popular in Armenia, and has a decent voice. However, what about this Eurovision entry?
I've heard the following lines from people "He's Armenia's Ricky Martin", or "The Armenian Michael Jackson", etc. Lines like that show how either people are really dated in their pop music knowledge (who can blame them), or just plain bandwagon jumpers. Jackson hasen't been relevant in 20 years, and Ricky Martin is already washed up. Harmless in both cases, but, definately missing the mark in terms of a comparison. More to the point, Andre's "Without Your Love" has predictably dumb English lyrics that are just filler for the actual music. I am happy to report that Andre and his arrangers take the Turkish Tarkan approach with snappy orchestration, tight vocals, and a hint of acoustic guitar. There are straight up rip offs of Tarkan's vocal arrangements in the phrase "tell me what I have to do". You can look it up if you want to. But, that's OK since Turkish artists have been ripping us off for centuries. What counts is that Andre effectively uses a killer break in the song to impliment a zourna and duduk sequence that ultimately saves the song. His vocals are strong, convincing, and overall it's a hoot to listen to his English. Andre suffers from the Shakira/Bebel Gilberto/Gor Mkhtiarian syndrome of asking their audience if it is better to sing in English with an accent, or just let it rip in their native tongue where artists seem to convey more confidence. "Without Your Love" is a short, under 3 minute diddy, that should get people off their seats in Athens, Greece at the Eurovision contest and dancing. That's all that matters. If for nothing, the video is even better that the song...Overall, a 2.5 star (out of 4 effort).
The Armenian Genocide by Andrew Goldberg
- The much ballyhooed documentary by Andrew Goldberg finally airs on PBS this week and is available on DVD. I've seen it a few times as I Tivo'd it. Overall, this is a very strong documentary on our Genocide. The use of Natalie Portman, Ed Harris, and Julliana Marguilles narrating the piece was a nice touch. Ron Suny, Tamer Ackam, Halil Bertkay, Vahakn Dadrian, and Peter Balakian star as the scholarly voices. What can I say, it is a very competant and skillfully made work that non-Armenian and Armenians can learn from. (3.5 out of 4 stars).
I will be in Armenia during the very middle of June for 10 days. The reason for my trip is a very close friend is getting married in Armenia. He was one of my co-best men at my wedding and I am thrilled he is finally getting hitched. As such, my Haitian American wife Natacha will be joining me to attend my friends wedding. This is also around our own 2 year wedding anniversary and we have chosen Armenia to celebrate. It will be her first time there and I am really happy to show her the place that has been something that has been a part of our relationship for over 10 years. We have chosen a beautiful boutique hotel in Yerevan to stay at for our 10 days trip. I stayed there for one night in 2004 as part of a commission to produce an album for the Tufenkian Foundation. For my 6th trip , this will be the first time I will have stayed at a hotel for more than a few night as I've always crashed with friends. This time, it's time to go a different route and enjoy our Anniversary and the wedding of one of our closest friends.
YerazArt next time...