ISTANBUL - Arto Tunçboyacıyan, a famous musician and composer of Armenian origin who lives in the United States, and Yaşar Kurt, who learned of his Armenian origins after the age of 40, have produced an album in Armenia giving messages ’against hate, animosity’
Kurt, who says it was a shock for him to learn the truth about his identity, went to Armenia in 2007 upon the invitation of Tunçboyacıyan to satisfy his curiosity about his culture, which he knew nothing about. At that time, the assassination of Hrant Dink, editor in chief for the Agos newspaper, occurred in Turkey. Having the sensitivity of a musician, Tunçboyacıyan composed "Nefrete ve Kine Karşı" (Against Hatred and Animosity) and decided to start a joint project with Kurt as soon as they came together.
Tunçboyacıyan and Kurt have started recording with the Armenian Naval Band, which Tunçboyacıyan had formed a decade ago with other Armenian musicians, and completed an album that included the mentioned song. Tunçboyacıyan sang in Armenian and Kurt in Turkish. The duo recorded the album in a short period but met problems when they decided to release the album in Turkey. Although they were covering for all the expenses, record companies were not into the idea of releasing "Nefret ve Kine Karşı," according to Kurt. The duo did not give up hope and finally signed a contract with Arma Müzik. The album, which raises a voice against hatred and animosity in two languages, will be released in the coming days.
Kurt spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review and expressed his feelings. "Big pains were experienced in the past. Those pains influenced my life. I learned about my Armenian roots when I was 40. If we honestly want to reach the truth, as Turks and Armenians, we must eliminate hatred and animosity."
Confession of a great-uncle
"We are from Rize, actually. My family always had considerable differences in their ways and traditions. Since my childhood I have found myself asking my family, ’Who are we?’" Kurt said. "Unfortunately, my questions remained unanswered."
Kurt said he was a fan of Tunçboyacıyan before they met in Istanbul. "Arto’s accent was so similar to my father’s. At first we joked about maybe being relatives but then the jokes increased my curiosity about my identity once again."
Meanwhile, Kurt visited his great-uncle, who was in his 90s, and finally found answers about his identity, learning that his family was of Armenian origin.
His great-uncle summarized the matter with these words: "Actually our roots are from Van but during the events experienced back then our family were forced to migrate to the Black Sea. Some died on the way. Only our great-great grandfather could have managed to survive and he founded the family. But he had always lived by hiding his identity."
Although he received the answers he was looking for at the age of 40, the answers rocked Kurt at the core: "Identity and belonging are about knowing yourself; I have been kept away from that awareness."
Kurt said and described his meeting with Tunçboyacıyan as a great deal of luck. Kurt indicated the extreme importance of them completing such a big project in Armenia. "Neither of us were born in Armenia, our roots are Anatolian but we have done this from Armenia. Making this call from Armenia is as important as making it from Turkey."
Meaning of the rose on the album cover
Tunçboyacıyan and Kurt designed an interesting cover for the album, featuring a rose on it. "This rose represents the flower of peace the two nations should be offering to each other," said Kurt, concluding by expressing his opinions on President Abdullah Gül’s visit to Armenia in September. "I thank Mr. Gül very much on that matter. This step was extremely necessary for ending the hatred and animosity and for the future of both nations."