By Paul Chaderjian
The woman who set the standard for introducing and reacquainting Diasporans and non-Armenia’s all over the world to Armenian songs and Armenian culture is returning to concert halls in the US and Canada with new songs–her biggest hits–dazzling costumes–and that recognizable voice which captures the drama–emotion and perseverance of the collective–enigmatic Armenian soul.
She is known simply by her first name–Nune–and those who like her music all agree that they can’t get enough. As a matter of fact–thousands congregate when she appears anywhere. Her summertime concert at the Cascade in Yerevan attracted fans from all corners of Armenia.
A week before the Children’s Day concert in Yerevan–Nune traveled to the remotest corners of Russia–where Armenia’s families have created small communities and financially support their cash-strapped extended families back home. Her Russian tour took her to the cities of Gorky–Perma–Samara–and Tumen.
"They are migrant workers–Armenia’s who have been far from home for months or maybe years," says Nune. "They are homesick. Some feel disconnected from their families. So–our music and concerts are very emotional for them. It’s a way for them to feel a connection to the homeland."
Tiresome train–plane–and car rides to the various venues are a drastic contrast to her concert at the plush Kodak Theatre in 2002–when the premier concert hall was full of well-dressed and well-to-do fans–including Kirk Kirkorian. Even the New York Times wrote about the concert–telling the story of an Armenian singer luring young Armenia’s back to their roots and culture.
Before leaving for Russia–Nune recorded her latest hit song "Dleh Yaman." Her rendition of the Armenian classic features Djivan Gasparian and debuted on April 24 in commemoration of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
The "Dleh Yaman" music video features Djivan–24 young dudug players–and Nune–all dressed in black–performing in front of an ancient monastery and in a studio in front of images from the great catastrophe. The song and music video have been among the top ten most requested continuously all summer.
"Dleh Yaman" featuring the intense drama and haunting range of the singer’s voice is also a hit with fans who listen to Nune Radio via her nune.am web site. The majority of listeners are from the US–and among the 47 countries from where fans tune in range from Latvia to Kuwait–Turkey to Azerbaijan and Chile to China.
The hit song will be part of Nune’s new CD–which features nine new songs and is due out by the end of the year. Fans may hear these songs during Nune’s upcoming North American tour. The retrospective concerts will focus on Nune’s journey–travels and experiences during the past decade-and-a-half. They will feature her hit songs and videos since her debut in 1989.
Bringing colorful–eye-catching–fresh designs and haute couture to Nune’s North American tour will be the Tarloyan Haute Couture House in Paris. The Tarloyan twin brothers–Vartan and Kevork–who are considered by mainstream media to be among the hottest designers in Europe–created Nune’s concert costumes and gowns.
"I am thrilled and can’t wait to start this tour," says Nune. "We have created a show that I hope will share a few drops of my inner world–my blessings and personal journey with my fans and audiences in North America."
Nune’s first appearance in the US will be at the annual Armenian Youth Federation 2005 Olympics celebration on September 2nd in Washington–DC. Thousands from around the world are expected to celebrate Armenian Youth at the annual week-long gathering at the nation’s capital.
Nune’s tour will continue on the East Coast and in Canada with appearances marking the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Relief Society in Chicago on September 10–Detroit on September 11 and Boston on September 18.
"We are very excited and pleased to have Nune celebrate with us this milestone," says Mayda Melkonian–chair of the ARS Leola Sassouni chapter in Boston. The Sassouni Chapter was one of the first ARS chapters established in 1910. Since then–the ARS has been working to help the Armenia’s through various humanitarian projects worldwide and in Armenia.
"Who would be more appropriate than famous singer Nune to celebrate this occasion with us," says Melkonian. "Nune sings from her heart and touches the hearts of her audience. With her songs she portrays the Armenian people’s love–courage and nationalism. She captures the audience with her dynamic presence on the stage."
Joining Nune on stage at the Watertown High School Auditorium will be the Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston. The award-winning dance group received rave reviews during Nune’s last appearance in Boston three years ago. Performing with the singer in Chicago and Detroit will be members of the phenomenal Vartan and Siranoush Gevorkian Dance Group from Los Angeles.
Nune’s East Coast tour will continue with a one-night appearance north of the border in Montreal. Organized by the Armenian Community Center–Nune’s Canadian concert will take place on September 17.
Following her East Coast concerts–Nune returns to Southern California and the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on October 16. Information about Nune’s North American tour dates and locations–and access to Nune Radio may be found at the www.nune.am web site.