By Knar BABAYAN
Many Armenian towns have their hymns. For example, Yerevan: the music for its hymn was composed by Edgar Hovhannisyan, who used the text of well-known poem by Paruyr Sevak “Erebuni-Yerevan” as its lyrics. Vagharshapat, Gyumri, Abovian have official hymns. The hymns of Artashat and Martuni (NKR) are unofficial.
Now Shushi is also on the list the towns, having their own hymns. Famous composer Avetis Berberyan, who lives in San-Francisco, has recently recorded the Shushi hymn with the Artsakh State Choir. The author of lyrics is poetess Nushik Mikaelyan.
Narine Aghabalyan, Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs, says: “Avetis Berberyan proposed to write the hymn for Shushi, and we financed its recording.”
Avetis Berberyan remembers his first visit to Artsakh in 18989 very well. “We brought a choir from the Conservatory, which sang in Stepanakert. Then, in a burst of enthusiasm, a composed a march “Live freely, Karabakh,” which, however, was not recorded. Times were too complicated, a lot of problems,” – recalls the composer. So the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Shushi is an excellent occasion to write a song about the town. “Just as “Three musketeers” has its continuation “20 years after,” I also decided to compose a hymn for Shushi 20 years after. We have already recorded the song, and it will be heard for the first time in Shushi on May 8,” – he said.
And what do the Shushi residents think about it?
Armen, who lives in Shushi, thinks that the hymn of the town first of all should have its own history and be born the population of this town. “Otherwise, it will be a hymn on order. It would be better to have several variants to be presented for a public discussion, so that Shushi residents could decide which of the variants deserves to be called the hymn,” – my interlocutor said.
Sarasar Saryan, Chairman of the NGO “Union of NKR refuges,” also a Shushi resident, supports the idea of composition of a hymn for Shushi. According to him, “Shushi should revive its glory and once again become a historic-cultural center.”
Another Shushi resident Tigran Balayan insists that it is encouraging to have a hymn, but not sufficient for self-affirmation of the Artsakh people. “I think that Shushi residents and Artsakh people, as a whole, should have been acquainted with the song before it’s declaration as a hymn of the town,” – he said.
As for Avetis Berberyan, when asked about changes in Artsakh in the past 20 years, said without a moment’s hesitation: “Many things have changed. Regardless anything, Artsakh is rooted deeper and deeper in our souls. Some years ago the attitude to Artsakh was rather romantic, but now has got the confidence that Artsakh is the inalienable part of the Armenian World. I am happy that the towns and villages that were destroyed during the war are recovering, and life is becoming more active. People believe in tomorrow, and I think, it is very important.”