By Lilit Nurijanyan
YEREVAN (Hetq) — Shoghaken Ensemble soloist Hasmik Harutyunyan was born in Yerevan into a family of emigrants from Moush in Western Armenia.
It was a family in which folk song and dance were both desirable and mandatory and at the same time a kind of nourishment, or sustenance. Everyone in the family had his own song.
The ashoughagan (troubadour) genre was reserved for the parents; the children sang folk songs especially for children. “It didn’t even cross my mind that there were homes where there was no singing or dancing, where family members didn’t gather and sing and dance for hours. Later, when I grew up and went to my friend’s houses and saw that no one was singing or dancing, I was astonished,” Harutyunyan said.
Harutyunyan never thought about becoming a singer, especially, that she would be paid for singing. As the “pride” of her school, she came to believe that she could accomplish anything she wanted. And one day, while walking with friends past the Arno Babajanyan Music College, as a “matter of pride,” stated that she would be a student at the college. “Of course, everybody laughed, because they knew I was studying at a mathematics school, and they knew that besides solving problems, I couldn’t do anything else. But later I decided I would become a student at the music college.
“My family went into shock, as our family members were all expected to study at Yerevan State University. I was accepted into the college, and I studied there. But, I didn’t really feel it was my place, as the methods they were using to teach singing seemed strange to me. There, they were artificially changing the way they opened their mouths and were imitating people in strange ways, causing me to laugh out loud at what they were doing. I was also lucky that my Mshetsi ancestors ended up in Aparan, as I picked up the Aspirants ‘stubbornness,’ which didn’t allow me to stray, to ruin my voice. I always sang how I wanted to sing.”