Interview with beautiful Armenian singer Mariam Matossian

Mariam Matossian
Mariam Matossian

How did you start? (Music career)

I have been singing for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, our home was always filled with music, my mother was always singing and I grew up loving music and expressing myself through singing.  Singing has always been a part of my life.  I took formal voice lessons when I was older and loved it.  I would give recitals and sing in church or at community events.  Audience members would always come up to me after I had performed and tell me that I should pursue music.  But I wasn’t sure if that was the path that God wanted me to take.  Some years later, I was thrilled to receive an Arts award from Canada Council who had selected my music from many other submissions and awarded me with a grant to record my music.  Once I had recorded my first album, I was invited to perform at festivals in Canada and I began to perform professionally.  

Tell me about your family, please.

I am married to a wonderful man.  He is an amazing husband and I love living life with him. We have three precious children – two daughters, ages 6 and 4, and a son, who is 15 months old.

Have you ever visited Armenia?

Yes, I have been to Armenia twice.  I worked in Yerevan as a volunteer on both occasions, working with children and adults.  I love the country and I can’t wait to return!  I love the people, the breath taking scenery and the food!

I know that your grandma’s name was also Mariam .What role did she have?

I never met my grandmother; she died long before I was ever born.  But I am named after her.  So I feel a very close connection to her.  Mariam Markarian was my mother’s mom.  My mom and aunts have told me about my grandmother:  she was a woman who loved Jesus, who loved her family and loved to serve others.  She loved to sing and was always singing in the home.  She was a hard working woman who had a joyful spirit and a genuine faith in God.  She is one of my inspirations.

It is known that your grandma has survived from Armenian Genocide. Next year will be 100 years of Genocide. How is your preparing for that?

We live in a small city in the United States where the Armenian community is very limited in number.  We maybe have only a handful of Armenian speaking people here.  I would like to help organize an event to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Genocide, but I will have to reach out to non-Armenians, because the Armenians here are so few in number.  I would love to see a community wide event, where people of many different cultures come out to remember and honour the victims of the Genocide and pray for hope for the future.

What is Armenian music for you?

Armenian music for me is soulful, hauntingly beautiful, the expression of my soul…  I love the sound of Armenian words.  I love the old songs, I love our liturgy… there is such beauty in our music… in the way the language, which is so melodic itself, sounds even more so when set to music…

Armenian music delights my heart because now, where I live, I don’t hear the language spoken much at all.  My husband and I both speak Armenian and we are teaching our children who are fluent in Armenian and English.  But sometimes I long to hear Armenian outside of our home… and during those moments, I put on some Armenian music, and watch my children dance and my heart is lifted up.Armenian music also represents a deep connection with my heritage, with my grandparents, our ancestors… it connects me to their stories…

Why do you prefer Armenian folk music?

I love the ancient songs of our culture.  There is something absolutely beautiful about them.  I love the melodies.  I love the pure message. I love the words.  I love the picture that is painted with the words and the music together.   When I sing the folk songs, I feel even closer to my grandmother because I know that she used to sing these exact same songs.

Mariam_Matossian

What do you feel when you sing?

I feel a deep sense of joy.  I love using my voice, expressing my heart and soul through song.  Sometimes, if a song is a sad one, my heart feels that pain.  Singing is a very vulnerable act for me…I cannot hide when I am on stage.  All the emotions come through when I sing.  I want to be honest for the audience and let them feel the emotions.  

I pray so much before I sing, and when I sing it is an act of worship to the Lord.  My faith in Jesus is intertwined in every aspect of my singing.  He has given me my voice, my love for music.  He gives me the opportunities to sing.  For me, singing is an expression of how great God is.

Do you have favorite singers, musicians from Armenia?

Right now my favorite singers are ones who are singing children’s music because my children are so young and they love listening to music.  But I adore musicians from a while ago, John Berberian and Lusine Zakarian.

Are you informed about life in Armenia?

I try to stay informed through friends of mine who live in Armenia or who visit more often than I am able to.  I stay connected through social media and try to keep up to date.  

Will you have concerts in Armenia? When?

I hope to have concerts in Armenia one day!  That is a dream of mine.  We just have to figure out the way to make it a reality.  That would be incredible.

Who are your inspirations?

My grandmother, my mom and dad, my husband and children.

What is important for you in life?

My relationship with Jesus is the essence of my life.  His grace is what gives me strength to live each day.  Knowing that I am loved by the Creator, that He knows me by name, that He wants to know me even more intimately… this moves my heart.  This is the reason I live.  Everything we do as a family is done in light of Jesus Christ.   After the Lord, my husband is important to me. He is my beloved, my best friend, my life partner.  I love living life with him.  Our children are also so important.  Just watching them grow and develop before my very eyes is a privilege and joy!  I love being their mama.

What can we expect from you in the future?

We will record again, we have the songs, and we are just waiting for the right time. And then we will perform more regularly again.  Currently, my focus has been on being with our precious children who are so young.  So we have not performed as much as in the past, but as the children are getting older, we will begin to perform more regularly audiences again.  

 

 

Website: mariammatossian.com/site/

 

 Msheci ( Ani Karapetyan)

 

A Small Paradise Called MUGHNI

The sun in that place always greets visitors with a kiss. Time in that place comes to a halt. The church bells in that place make the flowers bow their heads. One of Armenia’s sacred sites is in that place, the Church of St. Gevorg in Mughni.

Mughni by Msheci

The Mughni church is surrounded by a heavenly garden maintained and taken care of by some village people, not for payment.

While we were strolling in the courtyard and helping ourselves to the wet nuts of the walnut-tree, we were joined by the pastor of the church, Father Yeghishe  Barseghian. He told us that he takes part in the grape harvest every year and, as the church tradition has gone for centuries, performs the blessing of grapes in the courtyard of the monastery.

In the Middle  Ages the monastery was quite famous for the relics of St. Gevorg (St. George), one of the Pan-Christian Saints. The churchof St. Gevorgwas built on the site of an earlier edifice as one of the remarkable structures of 17th century Armenian architecture. The first reference to the church can be found in two records, the copies of which date back to 1278 and1280. A perpetual fire burns near the relics of the Saint with an entrance limited to those who bear the name Gevorg. Only those people are allowed to add oil to the fire.

St. George, by Msheci

The Monastery of Mughni was rebuilt in the 17th century. From 1632-1655, the prior of the monastery, Bishop Martyros demolished the old church and built a new four-pillared church with adjacent structures and walls. Unfortunately, that church did not survive long since it was assembled with untreated stone. In 1664, the new prior of the monastery and the cousin of Bishop Martyros, Hovhannes, who was one of the outstanding religious figures of the time, sanctioned the complete demolition of the unsightly old church and proceeded with the construction of a new one with finished stone, sponsored by Hakob Jughayetsi. The construction was accomplished in 1670. The church we see today is in the shape it was built back then, only with partial renovations.

St. George in Armenia, by Msheci

TheChurchofSt. Gevorgis located in the central part of the monastery complex enclosed within a mighty wall. Adjacent building stand closer to the walls including the refectory, the warehouse and a freshwater spring. The church itself is a rectangular domed basilica made of tuffa stone with incredible black and orange hues. Concurrently

With the church, the hall with the triple-dome rotund bell tower and twelve pillars were built. Special attention was given to the tympanum of the western portal decorated with an ornament of luxuriant foliage and vases typical of West European baroque style, allegedly reflectingArmenia’s trade ties withWestern Europe.

Interestingly, as opposed to other medieval structures of this kind that have window openings towards the four corners of the world, the windows at Mughni do not obey this rule. The distinctive striped drum below the conical cupola is externally decorated with five belts of orange-red stones and, alternating above the windows, the carvings of the Cross and the symbols of the Four Evangelists; man, bull, lion and eagle.

The Mysteries of Mughni

There are several cross- tones in the backyard. The oldest of them dates back to 932 and the newest one was carved in 1975. My steriously enough, this last “Khachkar” was placed in the yard at night, and therefore nobody knows who by.

A secret passageway, one kilometer long, was built from Mughni to the Kasakh Rivercanyon to serve for escape in dangerous situations, to save the manuscripts and to carry water to the monastery.

In older times the church was a legendary sacred site. People with various diseases have healed themselves in the church. Allegedly, even Muslims have come here to make sacrifices.

The Churchof  St. Gevorg has a Sunday school today. It also has a newspaper that leads the struggle with sectarianism. During our conversation, Father Yeghishe recalled that in older days it was extremely difficult to bring the Shlushkan Gospel (also know as the Mughni Gospel, 11th century) to Mughni from Matenadaran, the institute andMuseum ofAncient Manuscripts. Now it is brought every year.St. Gevorg’s Day is observed on the last Saturday of September.

A nice tradition is observed here. Before deciding to get married, young couples visit theChurchofSt. Gevorgto get the Saint’s blessing and only then go home to break the news to their parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Msheci (Ani Karapetyan)

How to Fight INSOMNIA

Winston Churchill was confident that men should sleep six hours, adolescents seven hours and only woman and fools should sleep longer. There has been no validation of what was said about the fools, but it is a known fact that woman should sleep longer to look good.

In older days people used to think that sleep was like miniature death, but modern science proves that even in sleep was like miniature death, but modern science proves that even in sleep our brain continues to work, regulating the other parts of our body.

Human sleep consists of four stages and the brain only really “takes a rest” during tree of theme, although that statement is also relative because even in this stage the brain continues controlling the functions of other organs and in the meantime  carrying out its function of body restoration and strengthening of our resistance capacity.

Periodic insomnia (two or three times a week for more than one month) weakens our immune system, destabilizes hormone production and disturbs the nerves. When we sleep-deprived, our body and brain are dulled; our eyes are swollen and insipid. The hormone of age is produced during sleep to help children and teens grow and to regulate fat generation in the adult body. In order to maintain youthfulness and health people need to sleep as much as they want.

The amount of sufficient sleep varies from person to person. This may depend on the time of the year or the length of the day. In any case people should awaken feeling refreshed and rested. Incidentally, today our contemporaries sleep two hours less than our ancestors because of stress, tension and psychological disturbances.

Below we have represented some tips that will help you fight light insomnia (in the event of psychological problems and periodic insomnia you will have to consult appropriate medical experts).

  1. It is highly important that you stick to your habits, i.e. going to bed and awakening at the same hours;
  2. Smoking is not recommended three or four hours before sleep; the same refers to food rich in proteins and fat, chocolate and other food products that increase activity;
  3. A hot relaxing bath with aromatic oils will slacken your muscles, although there are people who maintain that a hot bath stimulates their body;
  4. Likewise helpful is placing you feet in hot water enriched with marine bath-salts;
  5. It is not recommended to ponder over serious issues and problems before going to bed or spend hours in front of the computer because our body mistakes abundant light for daylight and “does not want” to sleep;
  6. To help the brain relax, instead of watching TV you could listen to soothing music like, for instance, the sound of the sea, the forest or the rain;
  7. Making love also helps.

Interestingly, some food products also contain natural tranquilizers. For instance, the banana is a wonderful sedative that helps relax the muscles. Chamomile tea does not only relieve nervous tension but also stress. Warm milk is also sleep-inducing and contains a lot of calcium. Quite helpful is a tiny amount of honey added to your tea or milk. Natural tranquilizers are contained in almonds, turkey meat, potatoes, yoghurt and other products. For better sleep modern research recommends a half-hour walk before sleep, going to bed in a ventilated dark room, changing the position of sleep etc. Wish you sweet sleep:)

Msheci (Ani Karapetyan)

Beware, there are energy vampires around

Contemporary theories abstain from confirming or totally rejecting the existence of vampirism because it is more of a mystical phenomenon.

Throughout the day, coming into contact with a variety of individuals, people exchange, lose or receive energy, the vital driving power of their life. It is quite possible that during such contacts you encounter people who are real “parasites” who consciously or unconsciously absorb and drain out your energy, disposition or ideas…

In the presence of a panic vampire people feel defenseless and strained, against their own will. Energy predators can manifest themselves in a variety of forms and appearances

( “the sob sister”, “the blamer”, “the eternal victim”, “the blamer”, “the blabbermouths”, “the drama queen”, “the perpetual miserable”, “the joke-teller” and many others); therefore the instruments to fight them are diverse, too.

But before we proceed to the weapons against psychological vampires, let us consider some of the behavioral patterns and themes used by these people. Typically, energy vampires constantly complain about their, their living conditions and everything else to create a negative ambience around theme. Their life is always packed with problems and represents an endless maze of unsolvable predicaments. A vampire thinks of himself/herself as an unfortunate person who is unable to find a way out of the state of absolute despair.

Psychologists use alternative terms for the energy vampires: “difficult person”, “psychic predator”, “ energivore ” or others, but they all refer to the same phenomenon  with inconsequential differences. Psychic predators are everywhere: at home, at the workplace, among friends, etc. interestingly, the most important thing for an energy vampire is the reaction of the interlocutor. For the sake of that reaction the vampire would be ready to touch the most tender strings in a person’s heart. Contact with an energivore leaves exhaustion and a feeling of utter emptiness. There can even be a feeling of guilt for the vampire’s problems, whereas the vampire walks away in a better mood and energized because of the energy “stolen” from the other person with nothing given in return.

It is worth mentioning that everyone goes through the phase of vampirism, but some people manage to come out of that “state” with cheerfulness and joy, whereas others remain vampires till the end of their days.

The mentality of vampirism forms in early childhood, an essential factor being the attention and care from the family and concord between the parents.

Psychologists recommend different techniques to overcome the repercussions of interaction with a vampire, including silence, sarcasm, riposte, impenetrability, distance, self-esteem and others. We have presented below some of the doctor-recommended methods and options that may help protect yourself from people that feed off your vital energy during the encounters described above.

  • Loosen the tension:

Make a physical effort to control your emotions and regulate your breathing; recall all the “bad” words that have been said and memorize them until you stop caring about them;

Humor is a great tool to ease the tension. Typically, people tend to conceive the “proper” response a little later than needed, so it should be reinforced with sharp jokes that may turn out to be quite effective in the combat against the energy vampires;

  • Stop thinking about it;

This is a command to your brain that should be repeated every time you think about the energy predator or the vampire how unpleasant and repulsive his/her behavior is;

  • Confrontation:

This is an effective tool to oppose the energy vampire by telling him/her what you really think about the things he/she said. When using this method your voice must sound emphatic and clear;

  • Disputing:

Sometimes arguing may be the only way to oppose an energy predator. The setback here is that your anger may you be so overwhelming that you may have to shout to release yourself from depressing emotions;

  • Love and kindness:

Sometimes people turn into vampires due lack of caring and tenderness; therefore the only way to subjugate this kind of people may be to show kindness and affection;

  • Imaginary game:

Try create a mental picture that you are beating up the energy vampire or that the energy vampire or that the vampire is a tree year-old baby. The rule that applies here is that you can imagine any ridiculous situation that is able to easy the tension;

  • Stepping back:

If none of the methods described above works, then you should simply step back from communicating with an energy vampire and just walk away.

According to some theories, you can talk to an energy vampire with arms crossed across your chest, or you may look out of the window pretending that you are listening but picturing that you are in a pleasant place, etc. However, none of the methods may be effective if you do not explore into yourself for the features that attract the vampires. After all, it wound to be totally unreasonable to blame innocent people for every casualty or accidental failure and accuse every single person of vampirism.

Msheci (Ani Karapetyan)