Indo-Armenian Cultural Evening at Naregatsi Art Institute
On the 19th of December 2019, Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO, in association with the Indian Cultural Center and Narekatsi Art Institute and supported by the Embassy of India in Armenia organised an Indo-Armenian Cultural Evening, dedicated to the 150th birth anniversary of the famous Armenian Composer Komitas and the leader of Indian freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi.
The program, aimed at presenting snippets from the rich cultural heritage of India and Armenia, included performances by members of the Indian Cultural Center as well as independent artists and performers.
Distinguished guests in attendance included His Excellency Sri K.D. Dewal, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Republic of Armenia, Sri Shambhu Amithabh, Head of Chancellory of the Indian Embassy, Mr Nareg Harutounian, founder of Naregatsi Art Institute and Mr. Rananjay Anand, co founder and president of Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO and Indian Cultural Center.
The event kicked off with the lighting of the Indian ceremonial lamp by the distinguished guests, followed by a welcome address by IAF President Rananjay Anand, who spoke about the significance of the evening and touched upon the history of collaboration between IAF and Narekatsi Art Institute.
His Excellency K.D Dewal also addressed the gathering, emphasising on the mutual liking and respect both Armenians and Indians share for each other's culture and informed those in attendance about the positive response "Masunq" Folk Ensemble of Armenia had received earlier this month when they performed in Delhi and Rajkot within the framework of the International Folk Dance and Music Festival organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
Naregatsi Art Institute's founder Mr Nareg Harutounian, in his turn, noted that such events serve as a fine platform for cultural exchange and interaction between Armenia and India and promote the rich cultural values and heritage of the two countries.
In keeping with the tradition of felicitating the honoured guests at their institute, Mr Nareg presented a CD recording of the traditional musical performances by the orchestra of the Naregatsi Art Institute to His Excellency, while also presenting their symbolic pomegranate to the President of IAF Mr Rananjay Anand and Programs Coordinator Mr Karen Mkrtchyan. Sitar player Mr Peter Davidian was felicitated with a pomegranate as well.
During the program, the audience had the chance to enjoy the melodious tunes of the Indian Sitar presented by Mr Peter Davidian, a talented musician, who lives in Australia but has family roots in Kolkata, India, famous for the presence of once thriving Armenian community. Sitar is one of the most famous Indian musical instruments and while it isn't very popular in Armenia, it was received with much enthusiasm by the guests who were blown away by Mr Davidian's flawless performance.
Avag Margaryan, a talented Armenian musician that plays the traditional wind instrument called blul had also joined us in making the evening even more beautiful. Mr Avag is a well-known and respected musicians, a true master of his trade and his presence added to the richness of the evening. Equally talented musician Mr Jonnie Hovhanisyan, who plays on the traditional frame drum, was also on stage with him. The beautiful combination of the Sitar, the Blul and the Drum created an beautiful Indo-Armenian musical fusion.
The program will also featured Armenian traditional song and dance performances by the wonderful "Akner” Folk Group, led by Anna Yeritsyan. Their energetic performance, after the rather soothing and relaxing tunes of the Sitar, brought new energy in the crowd and had the audience dancing on their spots. One was left to marvel at the pride and passion that resonated in the eyes of every single one of them. Truly, a mesmerizing performance by the young artists.
Members of Indian Cultural Center's Shakti Dance Group Veronika Torosyan and Marine Gharibyan were very active throughout the program. From joining the musicians to sing a number of Armenian and Indian songs, to performing beautiful Indian dance numbers, the duo were always seen on the stage.
Guitar player Armenuhi Torosyan was joined by Indian students from YSMU Sanobar Shariff, Burhan Ilyas and Dilpreet Kaur in performing two popular Armenian songs. Their performance was well-received by the Armenian audience and resonated well with the spirit of the evening. Indo-Armenian cultural ties get stronger when we have a mutual interest in learning and performing each other's culture.
When two rich cultures come together to learn from each other, the results are always beautiful. It was the embodiment of this thought that the audience had the chance to witness when Christina Grigoryan came on stage with a dazzling performance of Indian Classical Dance Kathak. Her graceful moves coupled with her beautiful expressions added to the Indo-Armenian atmosphere that reigned in the institute while Sophie De, who caries in herself the rich heritage of both the countries thanks to her father's strong Indian roots and her mother's firm Armenian heritage, transformed the audience mentally to a different world with her beautiful tunes on the violin. Right from the very first tune, there was pin drop silence and only when her tunes died down did the audience realise where they were. She had totally captivated them.
On behalf of the Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO we would like to thank Naregatsi Arts Institute for collaborating with us and hosting us yet agains at their beautiful center despite the very short notice.
We extend our heartfelt appreciations also to His Excellency K.D Dewal, Ambassador of India to Armenia, Mr Shambhu Amitabh, HOC of the Indian Embassy and the entire staff for their continues support and encouragement.
Special thanks to Anna Simonyan for taking charge of anchoring during the entire program and most importantly to all the artists, musicians and performers that entertained and mesmerized us with their amazing talents. This would not have been possible without them and we appreciate everyone single one of them for their involvement.
Last but not the least we would like to thank all those who attended the event, who continue to support us and encourage us, thus giving us the confidence as well as the reason to continue. We notice and acknowledge your presence. Thank you.
We look forward to many more beautiful programs to come. Long live Indo-Armenian Friendship.
Picture Credits:- Narekatsi Art Institute.