Posts Tagged ‘celine kaladjian’

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[Armenian Life]: Aram Khachaturian & The Rolling Stones.

July 22, 2010

By Celine Kaladjian

For years I’ve known that our personal interests have paths that will often never cross. Sometimes, however, they do. I admit it. I am and will always be a rock ’n’ roll fan. I am talking about real rock ’n’ roll here — not popish-californian pseudo punk rock. As Keith Richards put it, “Everyone talks about rock these days; the problem is they forget about the roll.”

Aram Khachaturian

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Credit: Unknown

To my greatest surprise, during my stay in Armenia last year, I discovered that I have a real enthusiasm for this type of music. Let me just say that the wonderful Beatles bar on Pushkin Street and the Irish Pub on Parapetsi Street in Yerevan became my nightly headquarters.

The Rolling Stone Mobile Studio

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Credit: Unknown

But what would you say if I told you The Rolling Stones and Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian have something in common? Believe it or not, they do. In 1968, The Rolling Stones, tired of not being able to record tracks whenever and wherever they wished, conceived their own Rolling Stone Mobile Studio. Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, The Who, among others, recorded albums in this high-tech facility.

The Rolling Stone Mobile Studio

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Credit: Unknown

Initially brought to Europe in 1971 for the Montreux Festival, eight years later this studio was transported to the USSR (now Latvia). The purpose of this trip was to record Khatchaturian’s ballet Gayaneh, performed by the Latvian ballet company Riga. And this was one year after Aram Khachaturian had passed away. This ballet became famous worldwide when it was used for the soundtrack to “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

So now if you hear this live record, think of The Rolling Stones. Or vice-versa.

The Rolling Stone Mobile Studio

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Credit: Unknown

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[Armenian Landscapes]

April 29, 2010

School Bus in Yerevan

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Credit: Celine Kaladjian

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia]: Yerevan Disconnected from the Web

August 20, 2009

On July 13th, I went, as usual, to FAR’s Yerevan office to begin my day’s work.  However, on that particular day, we had no electricity and therefore no Internet.  After an hour, I realized that all hope was lost and I decided to go on a hunt through Yerevan for Internet.

After dropping by my fiancé’s office, it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to get a connection in the downtown area.  Therefore, I decided to go to some internet cafes outside of Yerevan’s city center. But alas, still no internet.

I was told “it happens!” in a very matter-of-fact way. Yerevan is not New York: in Yerevan, if you lose internet, you don’t worry about it.  You just leave work and enjoy the sunny afternoon: tomorrow will be another day!

– Celine

An old Volga in Yerevan’s streets

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Credit : Celine Kaladjian

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia] : Armenian Hospitality

July 30, 2009

On a recent Saturday evening, I fled the sizzling heat of Yerevan for the countryside near Aparan.  I had decided to go camping near the river with some Armenian, Iranian and French friends.

The surrounding scenery was heavenly: vibrant flowers covering the fields and beehives clinging to the hills.  Just as we were packing our things to go back to the city, two men arrived by car, inviting us to a meal and a game of chess.

Since we all had to be in Yerevan by evening, we tried to decline their invitation to travel to their homes for dinner. Needless to say, we did not succeed. They packed most of us in their battered car and our one friend Ali had to sit on the roof.

In the village, we had dinner with their family and went for a tour of all the houses in the village.  I could not tell you how many coffees we drank!  Before our departure, they made us promise that we would come back soon so they could take us to Aragatz.

Armenian hospitality really is unbeatable!

– Celine

Armenian Landscape, Armenian Carpet!

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Credit : Charles Guenec

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia] : Gyumri, Synonym for Hope

July 1, 2009

Crossing the Shirak region en route to Gyumri during the summer makes it hard to believe that winter is harsh here. Stretching to the horizon, bright and colorful flowers cover the hills. Here, this is called “Armenian carpet”. Yet, the beauty of the surrounding landscape does not hide the pain suffered by the individuals that I’ve met in Gyumri.

A Young Violinist from Octet Music School

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Credit : Celine Kaladjian

Since the earthquake, classes at the Octet Music School have been taking place in prefabs. The talented young artists continue to rehearse during winter, though the temperature drops down to – 30° C.  Playing the violin with mittens or cold stiff fingers would discourage most of us.  However these youngsters draw their strength and determination from these tough conditions.  Giving up is not an option.

And the elderly from the soup kitchen are so thankful to see visitors that they each individually approached me to give thanks.  Most of their children, for those who have any, have moved abroad on a quest for a better life. Old age is not an ugly thing as we tend to think in Western Societies. These elderly have beautiful faces and a lot to pass on. Every time you walk out from this soup kitchen, you know that something inside of you has changed.

After demonstrating his tap-dancing skills, this Soup-Kitchen beneficiary holds me close to him the time of a picture

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Credit : Levon Lachikyan

Armenians are a strong and courageous people. Looking in their eyes, the probverbial doors to the soul, is the key unearthing their treasures and secrets. They have risen from the genocide, the earthquake and the Karabagh war. Now they are trying rise from the fall of the Soviet Union. And with dignity. It’s time to leave the past behind and look to the future.

– Celine

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia] : From Yerevan to the doors of the Orient

June 23, 2009

Last Thursday, as I was sitting in Yerevan, everything around me started shaking. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was experiencing the second earthquake of my life. The epicenter was near Garni and according to seismologists, the magnitude of the quake reached 3.6. Needless to say, this light quake reminded everyone of the past. Within seconds, cell phone networks were saturated by numerous Armenians calling to check on their peers in different regions of the country.

On Friday, the Young Professionals jammed their suitcases into the van and headed to southern Armenia. On our way down, we stopped in the Khor Virap monastery, where we had a wonderful view of Ararat. The two highlights of this excursion were visiting Tatev and reaching the Iranian border.

Coming back from Tatev was an adventure: our van was on winding roads under pouring rain. Several members of the group started to feel increasing motion sickness. Or was it because of the delicious home made apricot vodka we drank during dinner?

As we traveled farther south, we could feel that we had reached the Orient.

The landscape started to change, looking more like a rock desert. The border and a flag reminded us that Iran was just few hundred yards away.

– Celine

Unleashing a Dove Towards Ararat at Khor Virap

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Credit : Kaloust Hovsepyan

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[Celine’s Dispatches: FAR’s Intern in Armenia] : Back to City Life

June 18, 2009

After spending a few days in northern Armenia, the Young Professionals have now returned to Yerevan. Our group is not known for being on time. However, this morning everyone was standing in front of the hotel at 9:00AM. The reason? We were going to meet His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catolicos of all Armenians, in Echmiadzin.

Amy and I do not speak Armenian, and yet we were taught the sentence we had to use to address the Catolicos upon meeting him. We intensely rehearsed, hoping there would be no faux-pas. When our group entered the room, we felt very relieved, as we realized that His Holiness Karekin II felt comfortable around young people, and preferred not to use the protocol.

On our way back to Yerevan, we stopped by the memorial for those who had fought in the Karabagh war. For the first time, my friend Ara saw his cousin’s gravesite. His cousin had last been seen sixteen years earlier upon his departure for Armenia. A veteran led us through the cemetery. I could not understand what he was saying, since he spoke in Armenian. As a consequence, I decided to look him straight in the eyes and get the feeling of what he was trying to communicate through his look. This was a powerful experience. I did not need to understand his words to understand his emotions. Just by looking at one another, we knew we were talking – just in a different way.

– Celine

Ara at his Cousin’s Gravesite

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Credit : Celine Kaladjian