HACKENSACK, N.J. — Sibil, the Armenian singer from Istanbul, had her debut performance on March 31, at the Bergen County Academies, while finding time to enjoy the Metropolitan New York area.
Many recognize Sibil as the first modern Armenian singer whose songs were heard in the streets of Istanbul. Her Armenian songs were welcomed and enjoyed by all, including Turks.
Sibil arrived in New York on Monday, March 26, and left a day after her concert. The Constantinople Armenian Relief Society (CARS) organized and sponsored the event. A well-organized committee took care of the details of her trip. “Never did I imagine I would travel to New York to perform. It was a dream come true,” she said.
Sibil’s concert was almost a sold-out event with more than a 1,000 attendees. Some of the reasons for the success were: the historic popularity of Sibil in Turkey; the CARS organization that enjoys the support of so many Armenians who hail from Turkey; the effective publicity of the event over social media networks and the Shushi Dance Ensemble’s guest appearance.
The program contained 29 songs and dances. Seven of the songs were arranged by Majak Tosikyan, Sibil’s musical director. “I rearranged the music to appeal to the masses. Turkey is my territory and I wanted the songs to be enjoyed by all people, not only Armenians.”
Said Tosikyan, “The music had to agree with Sibil’s character and voice.” The songs, which were presented, included: Namag, Im Bantught Hayer, Tsarav Seri, Gyanki Mi Hamar and Siro Tsayn. “These classical songs were more appealing to the older generation who have not lost the art of listening. Sibil’s songs are for listening and not dancing. Unfortunately we have lost the art of listening and enjoying music,” said Tosikyan.
Impressive, also, was the 12-member Melik Ohanian Orchestra which accompanied Sibil on stage. The energetic, young dancers of Shushi Dance Ensemble with their beautiful costumes added vibrancy and color to the evening.
Pianist Burak Bedikyan, who accompanied Sibil from Turkey, and the appearance of composer Majak Tosikyan on stage added to the success of the evening. The response of the audience was more noticeable when familiar and traditional songs were sung: Giligya, Im Anush Davigh, Kedashen, Adanai Vogperki, Artsakh, Pari Arakil, Yerevan Erepuni and the finale, where the entire cast appeared on stage and presented Azk Parabantz. Once again the attendees responded positively, giving the performers a much-deserved standing ovation.
Comments from the audience were plentiful. Arto Khrimian wrote “…Heartfelt congratulations on organizing the triumphant Sibil’s concert! You and your team relentlessly worked for many months and until the last minute for the success of the event. The result was fantastic. Inviting Sibil to New York was a daring but brilliant idea. Second, being able to fill the hall with nearly 1,000 people was a great feat. Third, coordinating the performance of so many musicians
and dancers on the stage with one rehearsal alone was amazing. With her unique voice and style Sibil immediately enchanted the audience. Burak Bedikyan on the piano and the Melik Ohanian Orchestra conducted by veteran musician Majak Tosikyan in the background
gave cumulative eloquence to the concert. The performance of the Shushi Dance Ensemble overjoyed their fans once again. All in all, it was such a memorable evening.” Similar congratulatory messages were heard and received from many other attendees.
Special thanks went to CARS from Herman Hintiryan, who wrote: “…without the generosity and hard work of organizations such as CARS, Terchoonian Home Orphanage (in Armenia) would not be as successful as it is today.”
(Report courtesy of the Armenian Radio Hour New Jersey.)