Hakob Babayan: “The modulations of the duduk cut me from life on Earth, it seems as though I become assimilated to nature and the heavenly fathom”

Hayern Aysor’s correspondent sat down for an interview with Artsakh’s young dudukist Hakob Babayan, who is one of the dudukists participating in the Festival of the Duduk and Other Armenian Instruments being held as part of the 2016 “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival organized by the RA Ministry of Diaspora and dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Armenia.

Hayern Aysor: Hakob, when did you start playing the duduk and why did you choose to play the duduk? Are there dudukists in your extended family?

Hakob Babayan: I started playing the shvi nine years ago. I am a professional shvi player, but I also started playing the duduk two years ago. I have had a great love for music for a long time, but I never had the opportunity to play any musical instrument. I was studying at Special School #14 for children with eye problems in Yerevan. A special shvi expert came to our school. I started taking shvi lessons and became connected to that wonderful instrument. I started becoming more involved in music. It became my world and my future. There are no dudukists in my family. I am the one and only.

Hayern Aysor: Is this the first time you are participating in this festival?

H. B.: I participated in the 2014 “My Armenia” Pan-Armenian Festival. Last year, I participated in the pan-Armenian festival dedicated to Komitas, and this is the third time. I am very happy because these events provide me with the opportunity to not only express myself and perform in front of the public at large, but also establish contacts with musicians from different corners of the globe. We become friends and learn from each other. I am more than grateful to the Minister of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia for organizing such events. This also serves as a great opportunity for me to give myself an account and check how much I have progressed.

Hayern Aysor: What do you get out of our wonderful duduk? What do the melancholic modulations “tell” you? How do you feel deep down inside?

H. B.: Even if I don’t play the duduk, listening to performances fills my soul with an indescribable feeling. It is as though I find myself in Historic Armenia in my thoughts and see the rich nature and sacred churches of that marvelous land…The duduk sort of detaches me from this life on Earth.

Hayern Aysor: Which work do you perform with more pleasure? What is the song or melody of your soul?

H. B.: “Dle Yaman”, “Kele Lao”…During the performance of the latter, you can’t imagine the reaction when there are mainly Diaspora Armenians in the audience.

Hayern Aysor: Hakob, what are your plans for the present and future?

H. B.: I am currently improving my musical knowledge at Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory and am in my second year of studies to obtain a Master’s Degree. As for the future, I dream of developing our Armenian culture and the culture of the duduk more in Artsakh…

Hayern Aysor: Is it possible to see you as the founder of a duduk school in Artsakh?

H. B.: There are music schools where we have duduk classes. Of course, it is a wonderful idea. I dream of establishing a school of duduk…

Hayern Aysor: Dear Hakob, thank you for this beautiful and heartfelt interview. I wish you success and the aspiration to perform on bigger stages. I wish you victories. I wish you the opportunity to make the sound of our national instrument heard around the world with your fingers and heartbeats.

By Karine Avagyan

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