singers . . ..
"They are gold and diamond from beginning
to end, a supreme work, their song is like honey,
their every breath and movement is a divine conduct."
So says Petros Alahaydoyan, an American-Armenian
arts specialist in admiration for singers and
sisters Anush and Inga Arshakyans. The art critic
is not the only one who has been smitten by the
sisters' talent. Their performances are typically
met with thunderous applause from fans who show
their appreciation through gifts and praise.
The young women (Anush is 24 and Inga is 22)
modestly receive the accolades for their talent
at bringing the pure music of Komitas and Armenian
melancholic psalms to a new generation.
The deep, gentle sounds of the sisters are an
embrace of melody, from two voices united by a
common blood. They started singing when they were
children, but also became proficient in violin
"We loved singing, and each time working
in the kitchen we would make up and harmonize
improvisations and fall into oblivion. Then we'd
become aware that our mother was calling us, and
we would continue washing the plates," says
It never even occurred to them that something
that turned housework into pleasure and then to
the admiration of family gatherings, would finally
put them on the public stage and gain the approval
of professional musicians.
"I was glad and astonished when in this
age of bad taste everywhere, I heard Anush's and
Inga's performance. They sing Komitas so delicately
and correctly and when singing psalms they looked
like real saints," says composer Eduard Mirzoyan.
The sisters were first noticed outside the family
circle in 1999, when they were discovered by popular
singer Shushan Petrossyan.
"Shushan told us that by all means we have
to go to the State Theatre of Song, which is a
very important school for singers' formation and
self-confidence," says Inga.
The girls took the veteran performer's advice,
entered the State Theatre of Song in 2000, and
held their first concert in the theatre hall in
"The hall of the State Theatre of Song is
rather uncomfortable, since no matter how you
stand there still there is audience behind you,"
the sisters recall. "So during one of the
rehearsals we asked Theatre director Artur Grigoryan
what to do not to stand with our backs to the
Grigoryan answered: "Why are you so sure
there will be people sitting back there?"
During their concert in May all sides of the
hall were full. The sounds full of difficult musical
nuances overfilled the hall, attracting people
from off the street to the soulful presentation
of girls who were not yet known.
Soon the sisters were planning tours that would
take them to Tehran and Los Angeles.
In 2002 Anush and Inga released "We Are
These Mountains", a CD of 11 songs that became
popular and produced sales inside Armenia and
abroad. All the girls received for their effort
was one copy of the CD.
When the girls asked the producer when they'd
be getting payment for their work, they were told
that income from the sales had been given to Pyunik
Union for the Disabled.
The sisters say they would only be happy to help
the disabled with their art, however the donation
seemed questionable since neither they nor Pyunik
knew anything about it. And on this sad note,
their cooperation with Yerevan's State Theatre
of Song was over.
After leaving the theatre Inga and Anush haven't
had a concert of their own. They are looking for
a sponsor who can underwrite production costs.
"Inga and Anush are delicate creatures and
it will be extremely hard for them to carve their
way in a sphere were there are neither moral nor
legal rules, but due to their talent they will
take a permanent place in the dome of art,"
says music specialist Marine Mirzoyan.
They don't lack for appearances, however, as
the sisters are popular performers at State receptions.
They have performed at such functions for Russian
President Vladimir Putin, for conductor Yuri Bashmet
and for violinist/conductor Vladimir Spivakov.
They have also been invited to Paris to participate
in celebrations of singer/actor Charles Aznavour's
80th birthday in May.