will rock you!
What do rock music and a puppet theater have
in common? In Yerevan last Monday "Mind Power"
rock festival gave an answer to that question.
Simply, the hall was free for use, so rockers
took the place of puppets.
Six Armenian groups sought to slake the thirst
of their young rock music addicts, who rarely
get live concerts. Since independence, few Western
rock groups have visited Yerevan and only occasionally
have there been concerts by Armenian rock bands.
Monday's audience mainly consisted of teenagers
and young adults, who only a few years ago were
young enough for visiting the theater to see puppets
perform. The bravest of them used the free space
between chairs and stage for moving their heads
to the rhythms of music with their forefingers
and little fingers extended forward.
The rock bands were of different styles but had
one thing in common: they were singing in English
and Russian. Only two songs were sung in Armenian.
One musician explained that they are singing in
English because their songs are not oriented to
an Armenian-speaking audience, which is quite
small. Another musician explained that in reality
Armenian rock doesn't exist like Russian rock,
which was formed as a genre.
Mark Rolich, 23-year old vocalist of "Dom",
a band that follows traditions of Russian rock,
said that he is Russian and therefore he writes
lyrics in Russian. Rolich says in the neatest
future he plans to leave for Russia, where he
will find his "real audience".
With the appearance of the band, MDP, it became
clear that language isn't what moves a crowd,
but hard and progressive rock. The capacity audience
of about 300 had little room to move, but came
out of its seats in ecstatic response.
rock concerts have been rare since Independence..
"There is a tradition that rock must necessarily
express protest," says MDP guitarist Henrik
Grigoryan. "However, that protest easily
turns into show business. Doubt is the ideology
of our music and followers will appear later as
only now we've started creating a rock movement."
Another veteran of Armenian rock music was EMPYRAY
band. After their performance all efforts of the
audience to demand an encore were in vain as time
for performing at the festival was equally divided
between beginners and veterans. After the 90s,
when many Armenian rock groups split, EMPYRAY
was one of those rare bands that survived the
"unplugged" days of the energy crisis
and stayed in Armenia, continuing to create music.
The festival was organized by MDP (www.mdp.am),
whose members opened a recording studio in the
"A rock concert is a very expensive thing
and it cannot cover its expenses," says bass
guitar player of MDP Vardan Grigoryan. "We
couldn't rent a better hall and pay for electricity.
Here the hall is free of charge, but we used so
much electricity that even famous singers cannot
afford so much."
Concert tickets cost 1500 drams (about $2.60),
which will go to the Puppet Theater.
Members of MDP say that in Armenia rock is on
the level of singing in clubs and around bonfires.
Their goal, they say, is to raise it up to the
professional level when bands will be performing