Vardanyan is one half of a dispute over
a pop song..
The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has spread
across the political field to the arts.
This week Azeri television and newspapers reported
that Armenian singer Varduhi Vardanyan has stolen
a song from their favorite pop star Briliant Dadasheva.
Seeing the Armenian singer perform on an Armenian
TV channel, the Azerbaijani singer applied to
the head of Azerbaijani copyright agency Kyamran
Imanov who agreed to help her seek justice in
this case of "Armenian plagiarism".
According to "Echo" newspaper, Vardanyan
"has appropriated" Dadasheva's song
"Vocalize" by presenting it as an Armenian
music composition named "Bakhtakhali".
Dadasheva supporters are saying Vardanyan's song
is a blending of Azeri songs "Meidan",
"Baki" and "Novruzum", songs
that are protected by copyright in Azerbaijan
The subject of the argument is a dancing composition
with no lyrics. According to music expert Ashot
Baghdasaryan the song is a blend of Caucasus music
which has been played in different interpretations
by Armenians, Georgians and Azerbaijanis.
"Ten or 15 years ago our State Dance Ensemble
was dancing under that tune and still does,"
According to the singer there's no way Dadasheva
can prove that her song is stolen and "we
can sue her for stealing Armenian songs".
Vardanyan, a favorite in contemporary Armenian
pop, says her attorney has advised against commenting
on legal action. But she was not restrained in
expressing her anger at the accusations.
"How dare they speak about stealing cultural
wealth, when they've privatized all of our culture
and have distorted our songs with their mugham
(Arabic sound vibration of rises and falls)? They
haven't had folk songs at all, and the founder
of Azerbaijani Ensemble of Folk Instruments was
Armenian by nationality, doctor Ionesyan,"
Vardanyan argues. "It was their Uzeir Hajibekov
who stole songs of our Komitas and Dadasheva is
now stealing our songs and bravely includes them
in her CD."
The song Vardanyan mentioned was included in Dadasheva's
"Mach-mach, Gouch-Gouch" CD, which was
released recently by Sistem Muzik studio in Istanbul.
The Azeri pop star says the Armenians "copied"
her song from Turkish TV channels or found it
through the Internet.
"When I heard how non-professionally the
Armenian singer performs my song I was horrified.
The thing is that 'Vocalize' consists of difficult
vocal sound rises and falls and not everyone can
sing it," Dadasheva told Azeri media. "And
that Armenian has distorted the song not being
able to even keep its rhythm."
The controversy has been a topic of discussion
in the forum section of www.bakutoday.net.
Some Azeris upset with the "Armenian plagiarism"
are angry that Vardanyan has also recorded a music
video of the song, while their favorite singer
Lala Huseinova, the secretary in charge of Azerbaijan's
Union of Composers told "Echo" newspaper:
"Armenians can easily falsify any document.
See how many things they've taken. Armenians are
capable of anything. Listen carefully to 'Vocalize',
it's a pure synthesis of Azeri folk compositions.
We are very angry with that fact of plagiarism.
How can they steal our music so impudently and
present it as something of their own. We have
to fight against it
In response, the president of Armenia's Union
of Composers, Robert Amirkhanyan said the secretary
of Azerbaijan's Union of Composers is an administrative
employee and has no right to make such announcements,
adding: "The one who doesn't have, steals
from the one who does. What folk songs do Azerbaijanis
have? We have such a treasury of folk songs that
one singer does not even manage to sing them just
once during his whole life."
Amirkhanyan says if a singer is singing the song
of another nation, it ought to be seen as a message
of peace. But:
"If they have some problems with that, then
our Union is ready to invite their representatives
to a discussion at a round table so that they
clarify for themselves the borders of Caucasus
music and their role and place in it."