Sari Siroon Yar - Sweetheart of the Mountains
A boy is in search of his beloved, a girl of a thousand graces raised amidst a thousand flowers. He visits her village home, but remains lost when he finds her door closed. He begs the girl of scented hair to bring him mountain flowers, then recants, asking for nothing but the fire of her love.
Im Khorodig Yar - My Sweet Beloved
A young lady falls asleep in a garden beneath a moonlit tree and her beauty strikes a passing admirer. A gentle wind blows, revealing her chest so radiant that the moon pales in comparison. The admirer’s heart is immediately captivated and he steals a kiss. A crane flying overhead witnesses the scene and flies off with the news.
Keler Tsoler – Walking Glistening
A girl sings for the return of her fair-haired love working in the mountains. She refers to him as her “glistening, walking love.” She imagines the shine of his sickle and his lone form bathed in sunlight. She beseeches him to leave the tilling of the wheat and return to her by way of fertile streams and cool trees.
Gakav Tuhrav – The Partridge Took Flight
A farmer wakes as dawn unfolds and the moon descends behind a tree. He notices a partridge has taken flight and that it is time to till the fields, yet he is overcome with tender morning images: the field as an ocean of wheat, his hands running through his sweetheart's hair, the allure of falling back into sweet reverie. He is afraid he will fall into a deep sleep and leave his fields untilled.
Sareri Hovin Mernem – I’d Die for the Mountain Wind
A woman pines for her love, whom she hasn’t seen in a year. The streams no longer bring water so they carry no news of her love. Paralyzed with grief, she stands, but cannot go to him; she is filled with anguish, but cannot cry. She would die for the breeze of the mountains that engulf him; she would die for the two eyes of the one who saw him last.
Vijag – Fortune
Vijag, a game of fortune, is a ritual practice with roots in Armenia’s pre-Christian pagan tradition. Celebrated on “Hampartsoum,” Ascension Day, a Vijag involves the gathering of unmarried girls who pick objects (which symbolize different destinies) from a bowl filled with water. They may fish out a button, a horse shoe or the most coveted of all destined objects … a gold ring.
Bingyol – Village of 1,001 Springs
A traveling man longs for his hometown of Bingyol. He sings of the fresh taste of the spring water, the bright face and doe-like eyes of his love. He is so full of longing, he goes to drink cool water from a stream, but his lips will not part. He searches for the path he’s lost, and asks a passerby, “Sister, tell me, which is the road to Bingyol?”
Ghapama – Ghapama, A Squash Dish
Ghapama, a dish made from squash, is rumored to be so delicious that the very smell entrances passersby. A family is preparing a bit of Ghapama as word gets out and family and friends begin descending upon the house one by one. Cousins, sisters-in-law, aunts, nieces, godsons, a father in law’s sister’s husband… by the end, there are a hundred people, but only one squash.
Es Kisher – This Night
Touched by the magic of a fantastical autumn night, a man spins a dream for his love. He sings of sewing her a cape, the face taken from the sun, the lining from the moon and the buttons from the stars. “What good is a beauty mark for a beautiful girl? If one has true love, all the riches of the world are rendered useless.”
Hars Em Gnoom – I’m Going as a Bride
A seventeen-year old bride is leaving home on her wedding day and expresses her feelings to her dear grandmother, “Nani”. Once wed, she will be joining her husband’s family. As she prepares, she feels the sudden remoteness of her childhood years mixed with the excitement for a new life. She begs of her Nani, “May your sweet milk always be a blessing upon me.”
Zinch oo Zinch Dam – What Oh What Should I Give?
A young woman has lost her barrette in the ocean and tries to convince a young swimmer to fetch it for her. Coyly, she offers him several tokens in exchange for her barrette. She tries to persuade him by giving up her veil, her belt and even her shirt, all of which are refused. The barrette is finally returned for a moonlit kiss.
Ororotsayin (Ari Im Sokhag) – Lullaby (Come Hither, Nightingale)
A mother tries to lull her crying son to sleep. She calls to various birds, asking them to leave field, garden and nest to sing a sweet song that will quiet her child. After calling each bird, the mother exclaims, “But he cries. Do not come. My son does not want to be a recluse - a cleric.” She finally calls upon the brave hawk, and her son falls to sleep to the bird's songs of resistance.
Thank you to Herand and Janet Markarian for help with lyrics translations.