On Sunday, April 24, after the Rally For Justice at the Turkish Consulate in Los Angeles, community members and artists will come together to raise awareness about genocide prevention and education through the “Genocide 101” benefit concert. Recently, Asbarez caught of with concern organizer and musician Antranig Kzirian, who talked about concert in an email.
Asbarez: What is Genocide 101?
ANTRANIG KZIRIAN.: This concert embodies the enduring nature of the Armenian spirit. Equal parts art, activism and altruism. In harmony with these broad ideas, Genocide 101, at its core, is an artistic social justice fundraising concert dedicated to two primary objectives:
- raising awareness of and commemorating the 101st Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide through a celebration of the survival, perseverance and flourishing of the Armenian Nation and
- providing an outlet for artists and the community to support worthwhile, needy causes that address areas of concern that impact and advance the Armenian Cause.
The event is designed to provide a family oriented atmosphere where the community can come together to enjoy the creativity and artistic interpretations of talented local artists. We are very fortunate here in Los Angeles to have such a diverse array of musicians and performers. What better way to contribute to the Armenian Cause then to feature artists who deliver an uplifting message of how our community and people have persevered and prospered after enduring such hardship?
The concert will take place on Sunday, April 24, 2016, beginning at 6 pm at Beyond the Stars Palace in Glendale, located at 417 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203. Tickets are available through http://www.itsmyseat.com/genocide101
Given the importance of April 24, we elected to schedule this year’s show to begin at 6 pm to allow for everyone to attend the “Rally for Justice” community wide protest at the Turkish Consulate which begins at 1 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with the first performance beginning at 6:30 pm.
Asbarez: What is the line up of the concert?
A.K.: There is an exciting lineup of artists set to perform this year. We have two tremendous male vocalists in Kevork Artinian and Heibert Sarian. If you have not heard them yet this is your chance. String Harmonies will be offering up their innovative style of virtuosic and high energy traditional music. Armenian Public Radio is a prominent acoustic folk trio reimagining classic selections. Delayed is a jazz and electronica based fusion project featuring the cello. Community favorite Greg Hosharian will perform with his trio, and also he will accompany female vocalist extraordinaire Alene Arustamian. Alique and Krista from Green Kard will round out the evening with their soulful blend of acoustic folk, blues, soft rock and Armenian tunes. DJ HyeFx will spin throughout the evening during breaks between artists, and AYF Representative Aram Manoukian will serve as Master of Ceremonies and deliver the evening’s inspiring message of taking action to make a difference.
Asbarez: How have the artists and organizers worked with the community?
A.K.: We are very pleased to enjoy the support, participation and involvement of various organizations representing a broad cross section of the community here in Southern California. As an AYF alumnus I am intimately aware of how impactful its programs can be for our youth both here and abroad. As our youth is such an integral part of our future, that is why AYF Youth Corps is one of the recipients of our concerts proceeds. We also are happy to support other worthwhile and needy causes, such as Ferrahian, a community pillar and educational institution which has helped shape generations of local Armenians. Additionally, with the recent flare up of hostilities in Artsakh, we are proud to include the Paros Foundation as one of our recipients for funding. Offering a lending hand to the families of fallen soldiers and civilian casualties takes on added significance during these difficult times. Finally, the ANC is involved with raising awareness about the show and these notable causes. We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge our hard working and dedicated artists and organizing committee, who all perform and participate gratis volunteering their time and efforts to help make the show a success. All concert proceeds, in their entirety, will be donated to the above causes.
Asbarez: How do you believe this concert and music help advance our cause and help us make a statement on April 24?
A.K.: It is a call to “arms” so speak. Not in the literal sense, but as embodying a unification of purpose. Art is a unique and powerful medium through which messages can be communicated to society. Music resonates with our minds, our souls and our sense of perception. Music can elicit particular emotions and evoke contemplation at the deepest levels of our thought process to persuade us to think about a topic or dynamic in the world around us. Simply put, music can serve as a catalyst and artistic form of advocacy and support for a cause. The history of art as a force with which to be reckoned is will documented. There is a great convergence between art and politics – the Russian Tsars feared that “anything outstanding or original in the way of creative thought was a jarring note and a stride toward revolution” – others like famed theorist Boris Groys stated that “Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics”.
I always viewed this convergence as involving interesting and creative ways to supplement and make policy more effective – whether through music, poetry, film, etc. When you add all that up, it’s a great fit with our two main objectives of raising awareness of April 24 and contributing funds to needy charitable causes.
Asbarez: What needs to take place for this concert to be successful and have an effective impact and what for you is the best outcome?
A.K.: In some ways, it is already a success by virtue of the support we have received thus far. Everyone remains very grateful for the community and organizations that back this event. We will feel even more fulfilled as long as we can maximize attendance to help these causes as much as possible, in addition to cultivating an environment where attendees can enjoy the concert and experience a sense of inspiration and passion to do something positive for the Armenian Cause in one way or another. The best outcome would be an entertaining and enjoyable evening of good music and a strong sense of purpose knowing we are helping those in need through our efforts.
My 11-year-old daughter and I brought two tickets in the second row. The concert was fantastic and the atmosphere inspiring. Thanks to the organizers, performers, and those who attended for several good causes.