LOS ANGELES—Less than a week remains until this year’s Silence the Lies, Rock the Truth! performance, which commemorates the 99th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This is the concert’s 6th year bringing artists, the community and human rights organizations together in solidarity to honor the past and make a statement to the world about the strength of the Armenian spirit.
“We’ve been preparing for this special show and have a great lineup,” stated Viza oud player Andrew Kzirian. “It’s been inspiring reaching out to our youth this year in an unprecedented way to encourage participation in what is a great cause. With all the recent headlines and trouble in Kessab and Syria overall, Armenians — and honestly people all over the world — are very concerned with what’s going on. And with this being the 99th year of denial really highlights how important recognition of the Armenian Genocide is today,” he remarked. “Prime Minister Erdogan has once again show the world that it’s better to sweep things under the rug rather than face the consequences of the past, hence the social media blackout and continued implosion to the truth,” added Viza singer K’noup Tomopoulos.
Silence the Lies, Rock the Truth! is a social justice concert dedicated to raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide. For the past 5 years, socially conscious artists in the Los Angeles area have come together to work with the community through music, activism and commemoration. This year’s concert features headliner Viza, Armenian Public Radio, R-Mean, Wild Betsy, Sam Babayan (from the Dirty Diamond) and Maria Cozette, with music spun throughout the night by DJ HYE FX.
Artists have been working with community youth in an unprecedented way to spread the word about the show and the importance of being involved in raising awareness. “Being a young Armenian in the Diaspora, attending an Armenian school in Los Angeles kept the fire inside of me alive. 5 years after graduating, going back and speaking to the younger generation is something very inspirational. It’s important to get them motivated to know their voice can and will be heard. They don’t need to be on stage with a microphone, as the world will open their eyes and ears if we all stick together. We do it as a band when we are abroad in Europe and the UK and we see the unity there is with the smaller Armenian communities out there. This show is to revive that fire inside for our younger generation,” said Viza drummer Chris Daniel.
Various community organizations like the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, Armenian Youth Federation – Western Region, and UCLA Alpha Gamma Alpha are teaming up with these artists to make for a high impact show.
“April 24, 1915 marked the beginning of a plan to exterminate an entire race; a genocide that is denied to this day. Not only are we fighting for genocide recognition, but also for the continuation of our culture and heritage that we fought to preserve, stated AYF Commemoration Committee Chair Lori Tashdjian. “’Silence the Lies, Rock the Truth’ highlights our beautiful culture and resilience. Through programs such as the AYF Youth Corps, Armenian youth are given the opportunity to travel to our beautiful homeland, experience working with the children there, and take part in the activism that shows the futility of the Young Turks plan. We will persevere to reach our goals of recognition, restitution, and reparations,” she added.
“Organizations like the AYF and ANC do a tremendous job of helping society become more aware and involved in contemporary issues that impact the concerns and interests of the community,” Kzirian added. Kzirian has served as Chairman of the AYF Central Executive in the Eastern United States and Executive Director and Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region.
This year, proceeds from the concert will be donated to two needy organizational projects. The Armenian Youth Federation’s Youth Corps 6-week program provides a memorable and productive opportunity for youth to establish and strengthen ties with the homeland, consisting of 4 weeks of volunteer work and 2 weeks of touring. Beginning in 1994, volunteers first came to NKR to help rebuild war-torn villages after the cease-fire. In 2008, the AYF opened a summer camp in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, and continued to empower Diaspora Armenians with more direct roles in nation-building. This is a chance for some to make a direct impact on the lives of Gyumri’s most impoverished children and families.
The Orran Charity provides vital support and assistance to needy Armenian children in Yerevan. Established in 2000, Orran which means “haven” in Armenian, works to decrease the disparity between the needs of at-risk groups and the availability of essential services. Orran provides food services, academic assistance, cultural enrichment opportunities and medical, psychological and social services for vulnerable communities in central Yerevan.
The artists and organizations involved with this special concert would like to encourage everyone in the community to participate in an event that will provide incredible talent and entertainment, but will also benefit those in need.
For more information and tickets visit the event’s website.