Notes to a Crane Pastoral images that hint at a nation’s loss, nostalgia, hope, and pride infuse the arrangements here. A soaring crane catching a glimpse of village beauties flirting at the market below, swallows flitting above ancient stones and overgrown meadows, a shepherd boy cradling a milkmaid -- reminders of a simpler past.
Yaruhs Khorodig E--My Sweetheart is Cute! So What If He’s Short? A young woman exclaims, “I will go to my love, my precious love from Masis.” She admonishes her driver, “Drive more slowly!” They reach the door. “ Let no thorn prick your foot.” They have reached the neighborhood. She says, “My love is adorable, though a bit short. Oh, forget that he’s a bit short, for he’s incredibly cute!
Lachin u Manan--Lachin and Her Spinning Wheel (Basen) A young woman named Lachin sits at the spinning wheel combing wool when she hears a knock at the door. It is her suitor and he tells her, “Tell your mother to open the door, but quietly, so that no one will hear!” Lachin gives birth to twins. The same man arrives empty-handed, as he has, en route to her house, eaten the two rolls of bread he meant as gifts!
Maratuk--The Mountain of Maratuk (Sasun) The melting snows upon the mountain of Maratuk inspire a man to pursue his sweetheart. He mounts his horse, fixes his mustache, and rushes to find her. She wears the traditional colors of the “narod”, the regal wedding ribbons woven with gold that symbolize life and vitality, and is as beautiful as a flower. She is “khorodig” (adorable) and one of a kind.
Mogats Shugen--At the Market in the Town of Moks (Moks/Shadakh Region) A young woman watches two young people walking together in the long and wide Moks market--one has a mustache and one does not. She thinks, “ The one with the mustache has wealth and a home and looks like my sweetheart! The one without the mustache is not someone I would speak highly of. I built a home at the mouth of the river with two types of wood--one of peach, one of apricot. Apricot melts in the mouth like the warm kiss of your beloved.”
Es Kisher--This Night (Shadakh Region) A damp autumn night, where a man sings of sewing his sweetheart a cape made from the moon, stars, and sun. What good is a horseshoe to a Bedouin’s Arabian stallion? What good is a beauty mark to a beauty? If one has love, what use are all the riches of the world?
Ruri--Lullaby (Sasun) A mother sings, “I lull my child to sleep. With God above, may the red sun rock you to sleep. I lull my child; wherever you are, guide my child to grow in goodness. Oh, southern wind that rocks my child, lull my child, lull my child.”
Msho Geghen--The Village of Mush (Mush) Historic Armenia was a land of many rivers. In the village of Mush there are two brides who swim in the river and rise to the shores, shimmering like pomegranate seeds. In the fields, a man rides down to fetch his love and enter the waters. In the village of Mush there are two rivers, one Murad and one Meghraked, which flow down and join in the river Yeprad, (the Euphrates).
Gago Mare, Garke Zis--Arrange My Marriage (Mush, Van, Shadakh, and Moks) This unique arrangement by Zulal combines four different dialects and melodic variations of a song in which a girl asks her family to arrange her marriage. She says, “Father, Mother, have me married. I’m as pretty as a red rose, or even a narcissus flower. I’m as sweet as an elegant crane from the wild.” Being “marketable” for those days, she is picky. She does not want the merchant, nor the tailor, nor the teacher, for those men will lose themselves in coins, threads, and letters, and forget her. She longs for the shepherd boy who will feed her milk from a black ewe, and lull her to sleep in the mountain wind.
Oror--Lullaby Her child in her arms, a mother croons, “Hush, hush, my sweet. Snow has covered the mountains and valleys; my little darling is sleepy. Hush, hush… No mother has ever been given such a baby. The full, white moon casts light on your cradle.”
Churi Bes Yegank, Kamuh Bes Antsank—We Came Like Water, We Left Like Wind This song was developed for a documentary film on Omar Khayyám, the Iranian poet, mathematician, and scholar, who wrote nearly a thousand verses in his Rubaiyat. Zulal was asked to create a song based on one such verse. Armenian translation by Kevork Emin, music by Zulal. We were children; we became mature men. But in that time, no goodness did we see. You want to know, finally, what came of us? We came like water; we left like wind.
Kele Lao--Come, Let Us Go, My Son (Talin) This song is the resonating voice of the Diaspora in its longing for an ancestral home. Come, let us go, my son. Let us go to the fields where there are healing herbs, where birds sing beak to beak, where sparrows clap wing to wing. Without us, the stones shed tears. Our mothers and fathers are there. Their sweet voices are calling. Can we hear them and still not go? Come, my son, let us go to our homeland.
Jakhrag--The Spinning Wheel (Van) The foot of the spinning wheel is made from the silverberry tree. The spinner is young. The foot of the spinning wheel has many thorns. The spinner is chubby. The foot of the spinning wheel is made from the pear tree. The spinner is betrothed to me. The mountains of Vosdan are high. I cannot spin the wheel.
Katser Im Shugen--I Went to the Market (Palu) Three young women recount stories from a day at the market where it was the men, rather than the produce, who caught their eye. One woman goes to buy apricots,(dziran) and instead, sees [the handsome] Mihran. She says, “Mihran, if your destiny is already written out for you and does not include me, may you forever remain wifeless!” The second woman wants to buy needles, (asegh), and instead, sees [the irresistible] Parsegh. The third sets out to buy parsley, (maghdanos), and instead, sees [the sexy!] Boghos…
Akh Ninar--Ode to a Girl Named Ninar (Sasun) The villagers ask for plenty. “From the cow I’ve milked I want butter. From the multi-colored chickens I want eggs. From the sky I want clouds. From the clouds I want rain so that we will receive all that we need in plenty. Brother, help me prepare for a wedding! Raise me onto your horse and let us get ready with luscious cloth and henna.”
Thank you to Herand and Janet Markarian for help with lyrics translations.