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Ashugh Jivani: Russian writer Sergey Gorodetsky about one of the greatest Armenian musicians

Ashugh Jivani: Russian writer Sergey Gorodetsky about one of the greatest Armenian musicians

Approximately at the same period when Rafi published his “Khent, when Raphael Patkanian came out with his new poetry of “Songs of Freedom”, when the hopes of having back historical city Ani, Jivani’s name became prominently popular among the Armenian cultural blossom. Through his unique art Jivani was massively preaching national freedom, self-belief and love towards the merits. While Raffi and Patkanyan was famous with their activity only among the educated society Jivani spread his calling by breaking all the barriers. From the very first performance in the café on Talyan street of the city Aleksandrapol his fame spread not only throughout of Caucasus but out of it in Krim and Astrakhan.

Coming from the very heart of the nation Jivani was a big humanitarian and a perfect carrier of culture. Tenderly played melodies coming out of the violin’s strings was a real depiction of genuine poetry. Caring their deep art most of his songs remain actual for the all times. 

Being an extremely emotional person and having a deep soul Jivani could easily realize the nature of each nation. The rule that there should be a true brotherhood among the nations was deeply inscribed in his mind and actions. Always addressing himself with the sentences like; “the entire world is a hotel and people passing like an unsteady caravan” JIvani expressed a sincere love towards humanity in each of his songs.  This was his favorite expression. “All the nations are the flowers of the same garden. God only gives them assorted color and size. Created by God and blessed by him they all need each other separately”.

Though having a huge portion of optimism Jivani’s life was full of tragic events. As he said “Days of failure are short as the days of winter, they will come and leave” and “nations will grow tired of wars and will live in love and peace”.

The fact that Imperial Russia was neglecting the importance of Armenia was a way offending for Jivani. He was suffering like a child being arrested for several times right from the street. He was only blamed for gathering crown around his performance.

...Ashugh Jivani’s another amazing subject of songs was, of course, love. He was the right one to praise it in his songs.  All his love songs were famous with sincerity and devotion.

“If you plan to appear, do that in the evening. My love, do not be late, come in the evening. Do not show up during the day, you should belong only to me. Come in the evening”.

“Stingy sun would blush your face, be careful, honey, come in the evening! We would keep our secret. I would not say anything anymore, come in the evening!” 

This was a charming melody with a unique manner of Jivani to express depth of songs with the usage of simple expressions like  ‘come in the evening’ and ‘from the south’.

Love for him was not only tenderness or passion, it was a unity of souls, depicting not only between the individuals but the nations.

In other song he was begging himself - “Open your arms and hug your brother, JIvani”. While in the other he recalled – “I’ve shared your pain for thousands of times”.

Jivani’s humanitarian appealing is the fundamental platform and the main core of understanding in his poetry. His devotion to the brotherhood of nations has not only appeared within his songs. In 1906 during the pogroms, when the pogromists were already close he was sitting in the café near the church Saint George. To the question; ‘Why he is still sitting’ he answers; “Everybody knows that I sing for the all nations, I am a friend of all nations”. His violin in his hands like Orpheus in hell he witnessed hatred and disaster.  He will brightly remain alive through his song and actual among the generations.



Sergey Gorodetsky

From the collection “The last scream”

The article was written by the 10th anniversary of Ashugh’s death. It was first published in the newspaper ‘Kovkazskoye Slovo’ / ‘Caucasian Word’.


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