BY GEORGES ADOURIAN
LOS ANGELES–A new animated musical DVD is bringing Armenian music to children in a whole new way, fusing modern arrangements with old favorites to create an interactive experience that highlights the rich heritage of the Armenian people. The DVD is a collection of 16 Armenian songs, of which four are new and original and 12 are famous old favorites. It includes five well known Christmas songs and one new song devoted to the New Year. These songs, according to Dzovig, are carefully arranged in a modern and exciting way, which entice children to join the cartoon characters by jumping and dancing to the tune of these songs.
Asbarez’s Georges Adourian spoke to Dzovig about the new DVD and her expectations for the project, which she hopes will revitalize Armenian storytelling for a new generation of parents and children.
GEORGES ADOURIAN: Who is Dzovig the person and the artist?
DZOVIG SEFERIAN: I am a Lebanese Armenian. Since early childhood, I had a love for learning, especially, the sciences. On the other hand, also I had a great passion for singing. This unique blend of contrasts has molded my character today, leading to achievements both in the field of science and music. I earned my masters degree in civil engineering, while cultivating the creative side of my personality.
G.A.: How did you come up with the idea of an animated storytelling with songs in Armenian and for children?
D.S.: My sister’s family was visiting us. During their stay, I searched the internet for cartoons to entertain my niece, but I could not find any Armenian musical cartoons. In our family, we encourage our children to speak Armenian to keep the Armenian heritage alive. That’s how the Bochig/Pink Tail Tip musical animation project was conceived after realizing that the Armenian community lacked animated fun children’s songs.
G.A.: How was it prepared? Who worked on it? How long did it take?
D.S.: I suggested the idea to a friend of mine, John Hajjar, who had previous experience in animation. After brainstorming, we thought of a way of putting this animated musical DVD together. We decided that the songs would be in Armenian, with modern arrangements and fast beat so children would enjoy listening to and jump up and dance.
I then selected several old Armenian children’s songs and modernized them, and composed a few new ones myself.
The 16 songs that I had selected were about different topics and locations, such as, Christmas, New Year, birthday, farm and forest. In order to link them together, we came up with the idea of the train carrying the characters from one location to another. Thus, creating a story, linking all the songs together.
The production of the CD took us six months. As for the animation DVD, we designed the characters and then put a team of graphic artists together. The project took us a year and a half.
G.A.: Why call it “Bochig”?
D.S.: We wanted to establish a distinct theme for our project. John suggested that the tips of all the animals’ tails be marked pink. Hence, the name “Pink Tail Tip”. The painter’s job was entrusted to Chico the chimp, who itself does not have a tail. Its job, as a train conductor, was to paint the tail tips of the animals with no train tickets. John wrote the lyrics of the “Tail” song in English, which then I translated it into Armenian as “Bochig” and set it to music. Hence, the name “Bochig. ”
G.A.: What are your expectations for this work?
D.S.: For the past two years, I have been working very hard to produce something new for Armenian children. I am sure that this musical animation DVD will bring a smile to every little kid who watches and listens to it. I hope that with the support of the Armenian public, we will be able to move forward to the next level and offer more advanced animation products in the future.
G.A.: Where can parents purchase the “Bochig” DVDs and CDs?
D.S.: The “Bochig/Pink Tail Tip” Armenian Musical Animation DVD and The Armenian Children’s Party Songs CD can be purchased online at our website www.Bochig.com. They are also available locally at Sardarabad, Abril and Berj bookstores, Chaterian, Parseghian, Artisia, Arax Grocery, MSS Valley Produce, Vrej Pastrey and Garo Basturma. Also, they are available at the Armenian Prelacy Bookstore in New York, as well as at Hairenik Bookstore in Watertown. To get an updated list of all the stores carrying “Bochig” CDs and DVDs kindly check our website.
G.A.: What age range are they prepared for? How do you think they will benefit from the project?
D.S.: The DVD and the CD are best suited for kids under the age of five. However, even older people would enjoy them. Children would benefit from the CD by learning to sing in Armenian at an early age and have a good time as well. As for the DVD, it adds the visual factor where a picture is worth a thousand words, helping kids to follow the stories visually.
G.A.: What lies ahead for you? Any future projects?
D.S.: I am working on a new collection of songs. Also, I co-produced a music video in English about the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, depicting its drastic effects on the oceanic ecosystem, which will be released soon.