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Ani Margaryan

The Armenian Genocide Museum


Why “Sari Aghjik” is an Armenian song

  1. The Turkish and Azerbaijani versions of “Sari Aghjik” are known as “Sari Gelin.” In the phrase “Sari Aghjik,” the pronunciation of the Armenian word “sari” corresponds to the Turkish word “sari” – “Yellow,” while the word “aghjik,” with an equal syllable number and right meaning, is closest to the Turkish word “gelin,” – “bride” which is often pronounced as “gyalin.” This is why the phrase “Sari Aghjik” is replaced by “Sari Gelin” in the earlier Armenian versions of the song, where the text is entirely in Armenian except the mentioned phrase.
  2. Besides the fact that the offsprings of the Armenian Genocide survivals in Georgia, France, the USA, Lithuania, countries of Latin America, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Australia have sang this song, it has used to be quite popular in Soviet Armenia as well. Considering the popularity of the song among wide masses, a number of renowned Armenian singers recorded the Armenian version of the song during the period of Soviet Union. Many recordings, which were made from 1930s to 1970s, include those of Shara Talyan, Flora Khachatryan, Pavel Lisitsyan, Ruben Matevosyan. In modern times the song has been performed by Flora Martirosyan, Arto Tunjboyajyan, as well as played on duduk by Jivan Gasparyan and Gevorg Dabaghyan. An Armenian singer named Aram Tigran, who currently lives in Turkey, has presented his own, Kurdish version of the song, in the text of which the phrase “Sari Aghjik” has been preserved.
  3. Just like in the case of other Armenian songs, Azerbaijan considers “Sari Aghjik” its own “folk” song, that is why the reaction to the talks in Turkey about the Armenian roots of the song are quite painful. More specifically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, being hosted in “Şeffaf Od” (“Transparent room”) television program on “Kanal D” in 2011, has approved that “Sari Aghjik” has an Armenian origin. Also, Baku has responded very negatively to the Armenian performance of this song by the popular Turkish singer Sezen Aksu, who was accompanied by an Armenian choir. In fact, Kurdish singer Nilüfer Akbal and well-known Turkish singer Yavuz Bingyol have also performed the song in Armenian. Azerbaijan has started another scandal lately. The song is often performed at the Turkish version of the widespread “The Voice” music show, called “Turkish Voice,” where it is presented either as ”folk” or “by an unknown author,” but never as “Azerbaijani.”
  4. The Turkish version takes its beginning from Armenian roots, too. It is a love story of a Turkish general and Armenian girl which had no future. Here are a few examples, where Turkish sources hint about the Armenian origin and components of the song.
  • Journalist Selami Yolchel: “There is a version, where the heroine of the song “Sari Gelin” was an Armenian.”
  • Journalist Ahmet Atiturk: “During his speech about the murder of Hrant Dink in Shishli district of Istanbul, the prime minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip was quoted as saying that the bullet launched in Shishli cannot silence “Sari Gelin” song.
  • Journalist Ibrahim Karahan wrote a book about the story of “Sari Gelin” song, where he mentions: “One of the main heroes of the song is an Armenian girl whose name is Alice.”
  • Journalist Murat Ertash: “The song “Sari Gelin” is still sung in Armenian in our country and city of Erzurum. According to one of the variants, “Sari Gelin” was an Armenian girl, and a young man from Erzurum fell in love with her. Let’s hope “Sari Gelin” is sung not only in Armenian, but in other languages as well.”

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