YEREVAN - Djivan Gasparyan, a world-renown duduk virtuoso, has a peace message for the Turkish and Armenian people: 'No matter that you are Muslims and we are Christians. The holy thing we worship, and all the paths to him, are the same'
"Come, let’s share our pains," said the musician, 81, known for his skill on the duduk, an ancient, nine-holed wind instrument with a double reed that is traditionally made of apricot wood. "No matter that you are Muslims and we are Christians. The holy thing we worship, and all the paths to him, are the same."
Gasparyan’s family owes its life to a Turkish family, he said, explaining: "The roots of my family date back to the Anatolian city of Muş. My grandfather had six children. In 1915, our Turkish neighbor saved the life of these children by hiding them under the fodder in the barn."
His grandfather spoke about this Turkish family with love and respect until the end of his life, Gasparyan said, adding, "The biggest wish of my grandfather was to see this family before his death and give them his blessings, but his wish did not come true."
Performing for President Gül in Yerevan
"My biggest wish is for the border gates between Turkey and Armenia to open as soon as possible," Gasparyan told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review at his home in the Armenian capital of Yerevan before he embarked on a world tour. This would accelerate the dialogue process between both countries, he said, adding, "I want to see our peoples make peace before I die."
Gasparyan performed a special concert in the Armenian Presidency Palace for President Abdullah Gül when the Turkish leader went to Armenia to view a football match between the two countries on Sept. 6. "I performed many songs," he said. "Gül thanked and a presented a plaque to me. It was a historic moment."
If anyone is a citizen of the world, Gasparyan is. He is a citizen of both the United States and Armenia, and has houses in many countries. Despite his advanced age, he still goes on world tours too. "I have finally come to Armenia, which is my homeland," he said. "I feel at peace in this country. But my heart is in Muş, where my grandfathers were born. I want to come to Turkey and visit Muş as soon as possible."
Taking the stage with many world-renown names, Gasparyan said it was a significant step to perform with Turkish artists. "Maybe we cannot speak a common language, but we can create a global one with notes and music," he said.
From time to time, Gasparyan said, the ownership of songs is debated in Armenia, just as it is in Turkey. "There are big similarities between some Turkish, Armenian and Iranian songs," he said. "For example, ’Sarı Gelin’ (Yellow Bride) is always the focus of discussions. But it doesn’t make sense to politicize songs. It is nonsense to debate the ownership of anonymous music."
Public artist of Armenia
Djivan Gasparyan became Armenia’s first and only "Public Artist" in 1973 and has been awarded four gold medals by UNESCO for his contributions to world culture. He has produced music for 39 films all over the globe, including in Hollywood, and has become well known for his collaborations with Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Lionel Ritchie, Michael Brook and Hans Zimmer, among others. For his contributions to international music, Gasparyan was presented in 2002 with the WOMEX, one of the most prestigious awards in the world of music.