Tuesday, August 07, 2007
And so it happens that I received about 50 pictures of the renovated classrooms in Marts, Lori. There remains a couple of rooms that need a coat of varnish and a new layer in the hallways - but apart from that 13 classrooms have been refloored, the kitchen and cafeteria have been tiled and now have running water, and there are new desks and chairs in most of the classrooms as well as new blackboards. I have put up some before and after shots of the classrooms. (I think they are self explanatory)! It is a relief to know the children are no longer sitting on dilapidated furniture and walking on sharp linoleum edges.
Once again a great big thank you to Beecroft Primary School in Leeds who donated a large amount of the funds, Victoria and Garo Suner from Seattle, and the many other generous people who trusted that I could get this project done. I thank you for the faith you had because understandably sometimes it can be hard to get things done in Armenia. This is why I would like to say an extra special thank you to my long time friend and somewhat of a Saint to the Armenian people Nareg Hartounian. Nareg is a very energetic, enthusiastic, and big hearted person who pours his love into Armenia. He founded the Naregatsi Art Institute which has been responsible for bringing together many young artists, musicians, dancers, designers, filmakers, sculptors, and other creative people. Nareg has been involved in dozens of charitable projects in Armenia such as making conditions better for disabled people, funding families, building a whole village, and now a second Art Institute in Karabagh. With Nareg on my side I have to say I felt confident we would get the work done. I would also like to mention Yerkir NGO who played an integral part in overseeing that the work was being carried out and who donated their time and energy and made the commitment to see this through.
It is hard to believe a year has gone by since my first return from Armenia. Where does the time go? I had a quiet winter and spring - reflecting on many things. I got older, I hope I became wiser, but most importantly even in the bleakest darkest hours of my life thus far I was able to maintain faith. I read some great books "Nothing in this Book is True but it's Exactly How Things Are" Bob Frissell and "Murder in Samarkand" by Craig Murray. Both eye opening - both get you to think outside of the box which is always refreshing given how we are conveniently distracted from thinking by television, computers, work, and having a good time...
I enjoyed a 6 month job working at the University College for the Creative Arts for the Head of College and the Deputy Head. An altogether enjoyable experience. My music collection grew substantially due to the Deputy Head and he now listens to the Armenian Navy Band and Dhafer Youssef and even Zulal because of the exchange.
My recent nomination in the category of "Best Alternative Album" at the 9th annual Armenian Music Awards has come as a very pleasant surprise. The awards take place in LA on the 23rd of November and I am up against my colleague Gor Mkhitarian with whom I am giving a concert in Montreal on the 22nd of September, Tigran Jamgochyan from Armenia and an unusual band called Los Armenios. The Music Awards website is http://www.myanush.com/. If and when voting is allowed I will let you know! I will be participating in this years Mosaic II concert in LA as well at the end of January. Its a pleasure to finally be able to get out there with the new material and share it with everyone. I thank everyone for their support and will keep concert dates up to date on www.myspace.com/sonyavaroujianmusic. which is the best way to keep updated with shows and whereabouts. Recently Depi Yerkir (Towards the Homeland) was included on a South Korean World Music compilation called Song of the Wayfarer. I am incredibly amused to say the least and am happy that music indeed IS the universal language and something that has the ability to touch all of us.
Its wonderful to see things happening and would you believe it we've had sunshine in England for over a week after more than a month of rain. Its all looking brighter. It's really about time but thanks to the big G up in the sky - none of this is possible without His will. He knows my heart better than anyone.
Peace and Love.