Haikashot Azat Aghasyan: “It seems to me that I have always lived in Armenia”

Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with Bulgarian-Armenian singer-songwriter Haikashot Azat Aghasyan, who was hosted at the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Aghasyan, please tell us about yourself as an Armenian and as a musician.

 Haikashot Azat Aghasyan: I have traveled from the Bulgarian city of Sofia to present my three songs during the Days of Choral Arts Program of the 3rd “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora. I have studied at Sofia State Conservatory. I am a violinist, but I also play the piano. I have played in an orchestra and starred in theater. I have not been a public servant for the past 20 years. I am a freelance creator, write songs, release them and serve as a member of committees during various song contests. I also receive invitations to join the committees of prestigious contests and competitions, and I join them with pleasure and with a high sense of responsibility. I write songs for schoolchildren and for plays and create children’s musicals. I love children. I try to find talented children so that I can pave the way for them. There are many mixed marriages in Bulgaria. In those families, the mother is mainly of Armenian descent. I try to keep Armenian songs and music alive in them. Among the notable Armenian musicians was Director of the Orchestra of the Radio of Sofia Willy Galstyan who, unfortunately, passed away. The Union of Composers of Bulgaria has two Armenian members, including Artin Portulyan and yours truly.

 Hayern Aysor: How was it that your extended family found itself in Bulgaria?

 H. A. A.: We represent the third generation of Armenians who were saved during the Armenian Genocide. My grandparents escaped the massacres and reached the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. My grandmother was from the Greek city of Komotini, and one of my grandfathers was from a place that is near the Turkish city of Kaiser. In 2007, I found my three cousins in Armenia. I knew the name of the district, found them and established contacts with them. We Armenians of Bulgaria have been able to preserve our Armenian identity. My wife, Mari is an Armenian pianist, and my son, Azat is a sound engineer. Armenian is our household language. The only thing left is for my son to get married to an Armenian girl. I have to bring him with me to Armenia next time so that he can find a girl in Armenia.

 Hayern Aysor: Do you visit Armenia often?

 H. A. A.: This is my fourth visit to Armenia. I have visited with a delegation twice to participate in the Pan-Armenian Games. I see new and positive changes in Yerevan every time. The city has become very beautiful. I have many close friends in Armenia, one of which is President of the Union of Composers of Armenia Aram Satyan. I met him at the airport in Budapest 40 years ago, and we met again during the 2007 Pan-Armenian Games. I respect him very much as a person and as a musician.

Hayern Aysor: What songs are you presenting at this festival?

 H. A. A.: I am presenting three songs, including the songs entitled “To Armenia”, “Winds, Winds” and “Yerevan”. I have brought the album with me and have given it to the Ministry of Diaspora as a gift. The lyrics of the songs are by Mihran Poghosyan.

Hayern Aysor: What interesting memories do you have of Armenia?

 H. A. A.: When the Catholicos of All Armenians was in Bulgaria in 2002, I wrote and performed a song called “Greetings”, after which the Supreme Patriarch gave me an embroidered cross-stone as a gift. It is sacred for me.

Hayern Aysor: Mr. Aghasyan, what is your impression of Armenia and Yerevan this time? How do you feel?

 H. A. A.: I have wonderful impressions. Words can’t describe how I feel. It seems to me that I have always lived in Armenia. Wherever I went, people opened their doors for me. The people are cordial and very generous.

Interview by Karine Avagyan



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