Armine, Sister

Armine, Sister


Premiere: 28 November 2013, Na Grobli Studio of the Grotowski Institute

Performers/musicians:

  • DAVIT BAROYAN
  • DITTE BERKELEY
  • PRZEMYSŁAW BŁASZCZAK
  • ALESSANDRO CURTI
  • JAROSŁAW FRET
  • MURAT İÇLINALÇA
  • DENGBESZ KAZO
  • ARAM KEROVPYAN
  • VAHAN KEROVPYAN
  • KAMILA KLAMUT
  • ALEKSANDRA KOTECKA
  • SIMONA SALA
  • OREST SHARAK
  • MAHSA VAHDAT
  • MARJAN VAHDAT
  • TOMASZ WIERZBOWSKI

Modal song studio led by: ARAM KEROVPYAN

Vocal collaboration: Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan

Sets built by a team led by Piotr Jacyk:

Maciej Mądry, Krzysztof Nawój, Paweł Nowak, Bartosz Radziszewski, Andrzej Walada

Lighting: MACIEJ MĄDRY

Project coordination: MAGDALENA MĄDRA

Musical dramaturgy, installation, direction: JAROSŁAW FRET

Armine, Sister is dedicated to Armenian history and culture and to the Armenian genocide.

Poster (project Barbara Kaczmarek)

For our new project, Armine, Sister, we decided to explore Anatolian monodic traditions, based on the group’s vocal competence built for over ten years, resulting from our experience performing polyphonic songs. The project includes musicians from various music traditions of Asia Minor, Anatolia and Iran, whom we met on our expeditions: the Van-born Kurdish singer Dengbej Kazo; Murat Iclinalca, the Armenian master singer at St Gregory the Illuminator Church in Istanbul; the Teheran-born sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat; and Vahan Kerovpyan, a composer and drummer born to an Armenian family in Paris. We also collaborate with the singer Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan and the Istanbul-based singer and drummer Selda Ozturk. Our main collaborator on Armine, Sister is Aram Kerovpyan, the Istanbul-born master singer of the Armenian Cathedral in Paris.

Aram Kerovpyan

Aram Kerovpyan was born in Istanbul. As a youth, he received liturgical chant training in the Armenian Church. He learned to play the kanoun and studied the Middle Eastern music system with master musician Saadeddin Öktenay. In 1977, he moved to Paris where he devoted himself entirely to music, playing with various Middle Eastern musicians. In 1980, he joined the Ensemble de Musique Arménienne that later became Kotchnak. From this date on, Armenian music became his principle field of research, particularly the modal system of liturgical chant. In 1985, he formed Akn, an ensemble of Armenian liturgical chant. Parallel to his activities as a musician, Aram Kerovpyan participates in conferences, lectures in Europe and in North America, publishes articles and does research in the field of Armenian modal music theory. He is a doctor of musicology. Since 1990, he is the master-singer of the Armenian cathedral in Paris.






Originally, the piece was intended as a séance in which it is not us calling the departed, but the spirits of the dead calling to have a trace of the past revealed, made visible, unearthed. The title, Armine, Sister, recalls the first two words of a letter with no clear address, which is doomed to drift around in time and space.

In light of the post-Auschwitz future that Theodor W. Adorno envisaged for poetry, art and education, we would like to ask: “Is there a chance that the 21st century will not become the century of ignorance?” In our new piece we ask about Europe, convinced that Europe is a question – one about history, identity, dignity. One of the main ideas of Armine, Sister is to tackle the issue of historic taboos and lies as opposed to a duty to witness.

When working on the performance, we often invoked Paul Celan’s Death Fugue, in which the dreams of the murderers and victims are dreamt in the same space. The space of the performance/séance of memory, like the space of a dream, is co-inhabited by thousands of beings. Armine, Sister touches on how painful the memory-carrying process can be. It is also an attempt to identify/name our place in relation to past generations, and to understand who we are – we, who always stand on the other side of memory like on the other side of the camera. We gaze at history through a peephole, seeing only a trace, a shadow, a thought.

Model of the scenography (phot. Magdalena Mądra)

Sanahin, Armenia