For three years, the Hamazkayin Educational and Cultural Association has brought a diverse and entertaining mix of music to stage through its Mosaic concert series. Next week, on March 8 at the Alex Theatre, Mosaic III will join musicians from France and the US for what is being touted as a unique concert experience.
This week, Asbarez submitted question to organizers Tamar Abkarian, Lori Tatoulian and Manishag Markarian who discuss the upcoming show and the genesis of the Mosaic series. We present the interview below:
Asbarez: What is Mosaic? How has it evolved in its third carnation?
Tamar Abkarian: Mosaic is an opportunity to promote and instill cultural appreciation through the integration of melodies, music, and lyrics from the past with revolutionized means of expression. The objective of Hamazkayin’s Mosaic concerts is to celebrate the diverse sounds of our culture and its progression today by introducing and promoting the broad range of musical talents of young Armenia’s.
The Mosaic Concert is able to introduce to the community the musical talents of our youth and their interest in their roots, as well as their fusion of the old and the new ‘s something the community might otherwise not have known was taking place.
The formation of the Mosaic Committee is part of Hamazkayin’s goal to develop programs that will pique the interest of young Armenia’s and instill in them a cultural identity as well as continue to fulfill Hamazkayin’s worldwide endeavor to nourish those who enrich the Armenian culture within our diverse community.
Asbarez:What sets Mosaic apart from other concert series?
Lori Tatoulian: Mosaic presents emerging Armenian musicians that take Armenian music and reinterpret it using current perspectives and trends. This concert offers the community an eclectic array of genres all in one night. The audience will enjoy gypsy, flamenco, and rock all fused with Armenian sounds. Mosaic performers are known to be excellent musicians at the cutting edge of musical creativity.
T.A.: What also sets the Mosaic Concert apart from other concert series is the special thought given to hosts. The evening will be hosted by actress/ playwright, Lory Tatoulian, and comedian, Voki Kalfayan, who are actually an integral part of the show. We avoid the typical hosts that are usually hosting most of the communities’ events by having individuals who are vibrant and who bring an extra flavor to the show. And that’s exactly what Lory and Voki will bring.
They were the comedian hosts of Mosaic I and will be back with popular demand. Their comedic genius had the audience laughing throughout the night. They kept the program together, never missing a beat, never allowing down time- they kept the entertainment & interest flowing throughout the show.
Asbarez: How do you choose the artists?
T.A.: With a lot of research and thought! We begin to talk to musicians to get their input and ideas, actively tap into the various sectors of communities and search the web and the media for new and upcoming to talented young Armenian artists.
The artists are chosen by Genre and style of music and must have some sort of correlation to one another. We want to have both English and Armenian music in the program, local talents as well as talents from different parts of the United States and the world. This year we’re bringing a very talented band from France!
The committee is a fairly young group of individuals who want to put together a program that has cohesion and contrast at the same time with a performance line up that will keep the interest of the young audience as well as some older audience who appreciate the various young talents, enjoy music and take pleasure in an event unique within the community.
Asbarez: Tell us a little about each of the performers?
L.T.:Lavach is four French musicians, originally from Armenia, Congo, Poland and Mexico. Their happy, warm and vibrant music mainly takes its roots in Armenian and Balkan soil. But they also like to blend their music with other repertoires, adding contemporary sounds to create unusual styles.
Vahagn’s guitar has taken him across the world on several tours and festivals. As an accomplished flamenco guitarist, Vahagn incorporates Armenian folk music in his flamenco compositions, creating a unique and signature sound. Performing with Vahagn will be musicians Vik Momjian on bass, Jimmy Branley on percussion, Jivan Gasparian Jr. on duduk, and Zane Musa on sax.
Sebu is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/producer. After a decade of fronting several ground-breaking bands, L.A. based recording artist Sebu is back on the scene. The melody churning singer/songwriter and multi-faceted music producer will be joined by his new band to unveil a fresh set of sweet harmonies and bumping rhythms.
Asbarez: How does each performer bring to life Armenian culture?
L.T.: Each performer’s origin and experiences shape the music that they create. This concert presents the mosaic of influences that inspire the current generation of Armenian musicians and introduces the evolution of our Armenian music and culture.
Asbarez: When can we expect the next installation of Mosaic?
T.A.: Performers are already being considered for Mosaic IV and we look forward to organizing the fourth annual Mosaic concert sometime in 2010. Please visit www.hamazkayin.net regularly to stay informed.
Asbarez:What are some of Hamazkayin’s future plans?
Manishag Markarian: Hamazkayin has a newly elected Regional Board who will continue to build on its 80 year’s of cultural riches, with a key mission to expand Hamazkayin’s reach amongst our Armenian youth and support our up-and-coming talents. Hamazkayin will also strive to invite and introduce the greater community of non-Armenia’s to Hamazkayin’s educational and cultural work, seeking their support and collaboration on future projects.
True to its mission, Hamazkayin has been working diligently and will offer the following two great events in March:
The Great Silence play in Armenian – with a young and up-and-coming cast of 30……
The DVD Release of Writer & Director Eric Nazarian’s Internationally Acclaimed FilmThe Blue Hour!
Hamazkayin’s Mosaic concerts performed annually over the last 3 years has proven to be one such effective vehicle towards striving for this key mission to attract local Armenian youth and help them appreciate and grow closer to our evolving culture. This Mosaic tradition will continue and grow in future years. Another great program in supporting our youth is Hamazkayin’s scholarship fund: Last year Hamazkayin awarded 2 – $5000 scholarships in fields of Film and Literature. This year additional scholarships are planned, including one in the field of Journalism. Please go to www.hamazkayin.net for more details.
Hamazkayin works closely within its various local chapters, such as Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, Fresno and San Franciso to offer various artistic and educational events in each community. We encourage our supporters to visit www.hamazkayin.net regularly to stay informed of future Hamazkayin events, and learn more about its rich heritage and goals. Hamazkayin encourages our supporters to partcipate in its committees and provide us their input and feed back by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.