Sirusho walks through the audience. Photo credit: Zenop Pomakian-Zen

Sirusho Wins Over Young and Old in Concert


LODI, N.J. — Award-winning pop singer Sirusho brought her dazzling mix of contemporary and traditional music to the Felician College’s Breslin Theater on Saturday, March 17 at an event hosted by the Hamazkayin Armenian Education and Cultural Society New Jersey Chapter and Armenian Relief Society Agnouni Chapter.

The symbolic concert, which honored the 100th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia and 90th anniversary of Hamazkayin, gave Diasporans the opportunity to see Sirusho, a native of Armenia, perform live in the full-capacity event, which featured the Nayiri Dance Ensemble, under the leadership of director and choreographer Barkev Sanossian.

Sirusho pays tribute to soldiers in Artsakh Photo credit: Zenop Pomakian-Zen

The performance went beyond the regular parameters of a concert as the well-seasoned Sirusho took her audience on an entertaining yet emotional journey, sharing behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of her music videos to her childhood years on the stage.

Singing the opening minutes of her performance a cappella, Sirusho displayed her impressive range and continued to do so during her 90-minute set as she sang songs from her recent “Armat” album, which features traditional Armenian folk songs with a modern Western spin, including Huh-Hah, Zartonk and Gini Lits as well as her previous hits PreGomesh, Shorora and Qele, Qele.

Representing a rejuvenated and modernized Armenia, Sirusho bridged all generations during her energetic performance, resulting in audience members dancing in a large shoorch bar in the theater. Her songs transcend generations as she pays homage to those before her while modernizing them with her own touch, making it accessible to current generations.

Highlights of the concert included footage of her Tariner duet with Harout Pamboukjian and a short film on her production team’s experience filming in Ani for her song Der Zor.

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Taking a moment, Sirusho reflected on the significance of this song, dedicated to the Armenian Genocide, and the experience of filming the music video in the ancient city, currently within Turkey’s borders.

Sirusho on stage Photo credit: Zenop Pomakian-Zen

“Armenians have suffered through a difficult history,” said Sirusho. “But as much as others try to destroy us, we remain strong in mind, faith and spirit.”

As she sang Der Zor, whose lyrics tell the story of a girl remembering her grandmother’s words of never forgetting her past, her home or her name, the music video shot among the ruins of Ani screened on stage, with Sirusho singing in the church.

Dynamic yet soft-spoken, Sirusho engaged and interacted with the audience throughout her set as well as the Nayiri Dance Ensemble performers on stage, applauding their dances and efforts. Singing to modern and fresh beats as she danced in Armenian-inspired costumes, Sirusho welcomed special guest Andre, an award-winning Armenian musician, as they sang a duet of Ov Siroun Siroun. The duo encouraged the audience to sing along with them.

The members of the Nayiri Dance Ensemble Photo credit: Zenop Pomakian-Zen

Dedicating the concert to Armenia, a montage of the homeland’s sites screened on stage, set to the poetic words of Yeghishe Charentz’s “Yes Im Anoush Hayastani,” further invigorating the audience as they recited the words together.

“Yes, we have been through challenges but we always stand back up,” said Sirusho as she sang Martiki Yerk (Marty’s Song).

Another portion of her performance was dedicated to love as she encouraged those in the audience to fight for love and never let it go.

The powerful ending to the concert brought all of the dancers back on stage as Sirusho sang her Eurovision hit Qele, Qele and the Nayiri Dance Ensemble performed the challenging “Bert Bar,” in which the men stand on the shoulders of other men, to great fanfare.

“The beautiful talented Armenian youth of Nayiri Dance Ensemble performed with Sirusho today, proud of their culture and honored to share the stage with a world renowned star,” said Ani Tchaghlasian, Chairwoman of Hamazkayin Armenian Education and Cultural Society, Eastern Region. “We say proudly today that Turkey failed.”

Sanossian reflected on the importance of “keeping our rich culture alive through Armenian traditional folklore dance.” Noting that more than 40 Armenian villages each have had their own characteristic dances, Sanossian said his dancers were “excited and happy to learn dances from their own personal histories and backgrounds, including the dances of our Kavars.”

“It was an indescribable feeling to perform and dance with Sirusho, and even more so to meet her and get to know her as a person even though she is such a huge pop star,” said Sanossian.

“We were very pleased and honored to join with our sister organization, Hamazkayin of NJ, for this concert with Sirusho to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Republic and 90th anniversary of Hamazkayin Armenian Education and Cultural Society,” said Zepure Tekeyan, Chairwoman, Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA Agnouni Chapter.

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