European Union Initiative
Female Minstrels project kicks off in Yerevan
Anadolu Kültür
Anadolu Kültür's Female Minstrels project kicks off with ‘From Van to Yerevan’ concert in Yerevan. Dengbêj (minstrel in Kurdish) Gazin and Ashugh Leyli's first joint concert took place in Yerevan's National Center for Chamber Music on May 26th, 2014 at 19.00 (GMT+3).

The concert was broadcasted live on CivilNet to reach out to a greater audience beyond Yerevan.

The traditional musical performance, minstrelsy, is a folk literature that can be regarded as a genre of oral history narrative, which is still preserved in Turkey and Armenia.

Although this tradition is not as topical and as influential as it once was, and the minstrel stories displaying the common past of the peoples have been neglected and silenced by the official history; it is passed down throughout generations and is still alive in both societies.


The two important figures of this tradition, Dengbêj Gazin of Van and Ashugh Leyli of Yerevan, have met on May 19th, 2014 in Yerevan to begin their preparations for their first concert.


During the concert, three disciples from the Van Women Artists Association founded by Dengbêj Gazin herself accompanied her performance, while Ashugh Leyli performed together with musicians from Armenia. Beside the common repertoire  selected for the concert, both Ashugh Leyli and Dengbêj Gazin performed their own songs to the audience. Norayr Kartashyan from Armenia's Van Project music band is working with the group as the music director.


Throughout the Female Minstrels project, there will be three concerts as well as a joint field trip by the group thanks to the contributions of Lusine Nazaryan, a researcher on minstrelsy from Armenia and Marlene Schäfers, an anthropologist from Cambridge University.


After their first concert in Yerevan on May 26th, 2014 and the field trip in Armenia, Ashugh Leyli and Dengbêj Gazin will meet up in August this time in Istanbul for the second time to perform another concert.


The last phase of the project will take place in Van before the sacrement in the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on the Akhtamar Island in Van the city, which is held on September 7th, 2014. The group will continue their field trip in the Van region.


All the materials gathered during the field trips and the stories the minstrels sang will be compiled  and published in a book along with a CD containing the recordings of Dengbêj Gazin and Ashugh Leyli.


Female Minstrels Project takes place within the framework of the programme Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation Process funded by the European Union


For further information please contact  Tamar Nalcı at [email protected] 

or Irem Argat at [email protected] .

Photo by Civilnet: Female Minstrels Interacting in Yerevan
Female Minstrels' Concert in Yerevan
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