Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Images of England

I can definitely say that the rolling green hills of England are a massive contrast to the rocky, dusty, mountainous summer yellows of Armenia. It continues to rain at least once a day since I have been here. When in Rome do as the Romans and so my Sunday consisted of a walk in the countryside and a stop at the local pub.
One thing that I have always enjoyed about England are its dramatic skies. The clouds are so prevalent here that when the sun breaks through it is like angels descending from heaven. It can be breathtaking.
I look forward to my return to the land of heat and dust. Apparently preparations for the concert are underway. An advertisement is being prepared, a search for sponsors, the hall has confirmed its availability and tv stations have agreed to air the music video. Thanks to the hard work of Deem Communications who are seeing to the work while I am away strolling amongst the green English hills one might say.
All is moving forwards - as always. Enjoying the anticipation.
Peace and love

Friday, August 18, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away

Contrasts, contrasts, life is full of contrasts. Some pictures of the greenery (and reddery it seems!) of England. I have come back to days of rain and cold. Apparently it is still roasting in Armenia and I have been wearing boots and a jacket all week - not to mention carrying an umbrella. It seems this movement from one extreme to the other makes me appreciate just how incredibly alive I am. These next 26 days in England are a process for me. I am packing all my personals from my old home, simultaneously my parents are packing all their personals as well as they are moving from our other old home. It seems I have spent 4 days throwing out so many things I held on to for so long. Bags and bags of clothing went to charity. So much of what we accumulate for whatever reason thinking that at some point it might come in useful. (Oh yes! Let me wear those 1983 skin tight Jane Fonda workout leggings next time I go to the gym!) So far it has been some kind of cleansing metamorphasis thing. I seem to be shedding layers of stuff. (Lets hope I come out a butterfly!) I cannot explain the sense of freedom I feel at not looking backwards and looking forwards in my life. I always say that if I get hit by a very big truck (one of those TNT orange and whilte ones preferably) that I would die happy knowing that I lived such a life rich with experiences and emotions. It doesn't seem to slow down - It seems to continually get better. Perhaps maturity (at least to some degree!) combined with the experience makes it sweeter. As my good friend Dave Najarian Kelly said to me while I was in Yerevan: "The older the berry the sweeter the juice". Bless him. He has quite a few Simpsons and South Park quotes too for all those awkward moments. For anyone planning a trip to Yerevan I suggest looking him up. When in doubt check Cheers Wine Bar on Nalbandyan Street. He'll either be there or they will locate him for you.
I have recently been in touch with Sylvie Keshishian - a Londoner who actually went and lived in Armenia for 2.5 years. She has been trying to make it back there and I can say that many people I ran into in Armenia are missing her terribly. I am going to meet up with her for a coffee so that we can share experiences. She seems to have had a similiar emotional experience and I quote her "Isn't it a place where you can breathe, constantly learn and be INSPIRED? ....you understand the DEPTH of friendships there." So true, so true...
There seems to have been a hold up in the school renovation project due to a large portion of the funds which got lost in transit between England and Armenia. Apparently the fault of the English bank if you can believe it! Although the renovation team has done a lot of prep work for the flooring and have part of the materials waiting at the school they are holding off on laying cement and nailing down the wood. Unfortunately, if they start doing the bulk of the work at the moment there is no way that they will finish by the 25th of August which is when school will begin. Due to the size of the school and all facilities being necessary, it is not feasible to work on the school while the children are there. Furthermore the DAC volunteers are at the school at the moment and requested that the work not be carried out so as not to disturb their summer camp activities. The finances have been recovered from the bank but a little bit too late for 2006. The work will start anew at the end of June 2007. The upside is that if the prepped wood dries for a longer period of time it will be more durable and we will have a better floor. Everything is in writing and we can rest assure that the work will be carried out - not to mention Yerkir organisation have done many similiar projects. A little frustrating that it didn't happen for us this summer but we will see to it next summer for sure. Everything happens as it should. Would rather do a good job than a last minute rush job.
And so I will go back to my cardboard boxes, boxes and more boxes. Perhaps restring that old Alvarez guitar and play some tunes. Wrenched myself out of bed at 1am last night and fumbled to find the small tape recorder as a nice melody came into my head. Must go and evaluate how nice it actually is this morning!
So will keep you posted on any changes. If anyone is aware of any job opportunities in Armenia please do let me know as I would like to be able to stay out there - and as Sylvie said - be inspired. I'm a really good employee - truly! I can do Design, Admin, Sales, Translating, Teaching, Event Planning, Music Related, ....
Will be back soon.
Peace and love.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Armenia You Are Calling Me

I have been in England for all of 48 hours and already there has been a massive bomb scare at the airport this morning. I am glad I missed that but it makes me think about the world we are living in and all the madness surrounding us - where man forgets to be man and to celebrate life and in contrast decides to destruct life and the beauty that surrounds it.
My four months in Armenia are temporarily over. I am "home" for 5 weeks taking care of the mastering and duplication process which will have me in Paris for a few days at the beginning of September. I am counting the days (33 in total) to my return where I will give my CD release concert and see the fruit of all the tenacious work that took place in Yerevan.
I felt this last image of watermelon was appropriate in demonstrating a typical Armenian roadside scene. It is appropriate in demonstrating the abundance and life in the land that I love so much. I can tell you that stepping on to the plane and no longer hearing Armenian around me or seeing the beautiful faces of our people was difficult to bear. I didn't come up with a masterpiece but I will share what I felt and what I put on paper (a napkin to be precise) on my 5 hour return to the land of rain and for the record currently the most expensive city in the world with wages that don't match according to recent statistics. What fun.

The sweet scent of my dusty soil, my crystal water, my mountains
Permeates my clothes, my hair, my fingers
I can only inhale hungrily that which remains temporarily
Like a half-crazed lover, famished for his other
Only just departing in a sea of different faces
10,000 miles above the earth morbid history repeats
As I am exiled once more from that which belongs to me
I feel the loss of my vocabulary, my language has gone
My lips form the vowels of that which is not mine
My land my beautiful Armenia I am all of you
Each day without you is another day less than who I am
Each day I vow to bring myself back to you
Where it was meant that I should exist amongst the memory
Of my fathers, fathers, my long lost fathers
Only to touch your hallowed ground shall my soul rise to your heavenly mountains
I inhale all of you and hold my breath to reach you once again
To celebrate my love

All that inspired on BA flight 6872 or whatever it was. Believe me - I feel a part of me has been wrenched out and my happiness lies in knowing i will be returning. One cannot explain easily the beauty of life there. It mainly has to do with the fact that humanity still exists. Family remains a family, friends remain friends, there is respect for one another, there is a love for life and all this prevails through the most difficult conditions and hardships. Yes - of course there are bad things too like there are in all parts of the world but truly the quality of life was so much better than the rat race of material acquisition I have returned to.

My last days in Armenia were hectic ones. The CD mixing finished beautifully. We showed a premiere of the music video on Thursday evening on "Nor Alik" Channel 1. My parents managed to see it via satellite in England and where overwhelmed with emotion. I was personally overwhelmed by the kind words that all the guests present had to offer after viewing the video. I cannot thank the people enough for understanding, encouraging and appreciating my music. I had a fantastic team of people behind me and everything fell into place so much better than if I had planned it. Trusting my gut and listening to my rhythm I followed a path I knew I had to take. This has been such an astounding experience I wish that everyone can feel something like this at least once in their lives.
I said my temporary goodbyes and thank you's to everyone who made this a possibility. I am eager to see them again and in the meantime will be practising like a good musician to make sure I can give it my best on the 24th of September.

Love to all and thanks to all who have been following this blog, listening, and supporting me.
I will drop in soon - perhaps with some photos of Yorkshire cows, pint glasses, Marks & Spencer, and beautifully manicured homes with perfect gardens, perfect cars, perfectly groomed children, and the odd biddy walking in a park with a walking stick, Wellington boots and a hunting cap.