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The Aznavour family in Artsakh

Charles de Gaulle once told him, “You will conquer the world, because you can touch one’s heart”. Prophetic words – he conquered the world by his powerful talent, unique personality and perhaps God’s willingness.  The French singer of Armenian descent does not belong to either Armenia or France. The Officer of the French Legion of Honour and the national hero of Armenia belongs to the world. Chansonnier,  composer, actor, public figure and now a diplomat, Charles Aznavour is in the Homeland. But where would the son of Armenian immigrants Michael and Knar Aznavouryan be on his 85th jubilee? Anywhere he wished. So he must have wished to be at home.

The Aznavouryans in Artsakh

On May 22 the great chansonnier turns 85. On that occasion, on May 12 the concert tour  “For you, Armenia” launched in Stepanakert. No honour of the kind can be found in the modern history of our culture – 3 members of the famous musical family. We had a wonderful opportunity to meet two of them a day before the concert. It was a mutually desired moment – they wished to see historical Artsakh while we had eagerly been looking forward to the great event for a year. Dreams come true. There is a tradition in Artsakh to meet honorable guests at the entrance to Shoushi. Tired after the long road but with smiles on their faces, the guests gladly accept all our offers. They confess that they are proud to have this chance. The greater the man, the friendlier and kinder he is.

Seda Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s daughter

  • It’s beautiful here.
  • Are you tired after the long way?
  • Yes, a little because the road was long. It was lovely but long, very long. My impressions? It’s a real experience.
  • How about your mood?
  • Very good.
  • We know a lot about you. Do you know a lot about Karabakh?
  • About Karabakh? Well, I know about what happened. But no more. I am happy to be in Karabakh.


Aida Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s sister


  • How do I find it here? I am very glad to be here. I have never been to Karabakh.
  • How do you feel about being here?
  • I am really excited. And very happy.


Liz Sarian, French Armenian singer

  • I am extremely moved and excited. There is Armenia and there is Karabakh.. So I am really excited and I am sure my concerts will go well.

Charles Aznavour’s sister – Aida Garvarentz – has not been to Armenia since 1963. The excitement at seeing the progress in Motherland is big. She says she has mixed feelings and emotions and all her memories about the hard destiny of her mother from Izmir and father from Akhaltskha  rose again. 87-year-old Aida speaks abruptly about them, but the language of her soul and Charles Aznavour’s well-known “Autobiographie” makes them clear and the power of song – understandable.

Si mon père était chanteur d’opérette
Nanti d’une vois que j’envie encore
Ma mère tenait l’emploi de soubrette
Et leur troupe ne roulait pas sur l’or
Mais ma soeur et moi étions à la fête
Blottis dans un coin derrière un décor
Tandis que devant poêles et casseroles
Mon père cherchait sa situation
Jour et nuit sous une lampe à pétrole
Ma mère brodait pour grande maison
Et nous avant que d’aller à l’école
Faisions le ménage et les commissions
They were to sing about their lives and love. Charles Aznavour’s daughter, Seda Aznavour who is on her third visit to Armenia, attaches great importance to this one. Availing ourselves of the sister’s and daughter’s readiness we used the exclusive opportunity to talk to Seda and well-known French singer Liz Sarian. The graceful French ladies told us the things they wanted to say before the concert in Armenian.

– We are so excited to be in Stepanakert. We were very moved when you received us with traditional bread and salt. Our mothers and grandmothers did that.

– I am happy that I am Armenian and again among Armenians. I came last year and now this year.

– You didn’t visit Artsakh last year, did you?

– No. Last year I came to my son’s wedding with an Armenian girl.

– How do you like your daughter-in-law?

– I like her very much. And my relatives too.

– Did you imagine Artsakh to be like this? Is everything the way you expected?

– This is the first time I have come to Karabakh but about 20 years ago I sang  at ”Hamalir” and we had 7000 spectators in 15 days which made me very emotional. But I think tomorrow I’ll be more emotional than I was in Yerevan. Why? Because years ago I was actively responding to the conflict, the war and you were in my thoughts.

– I knew there was a conflict here but I lived very far, in America and heard some news from Armenia. I had some information. I am so glad you are with me today, I am so tired that my Armenian is bad today. I learnt that you won, I learnt everything. Actually I am not interested in politics but my family are Armenians and my grandmother lost all her family. She used to cry every day. So here I felt very at home. But again, I didn’t like politics that much. But sure, I heard about everything.

– You did more with your art that politicians could ever do for us..

– I don’t think my art is Armenian. My family – yes, but not my art. I grew up with my grandparents who instilled everything Armenian in me. My sister and brothers don’t speak Armenian. I am the eldest daughter. I grew up with Mrs. Gravarents’ mother and father. Sorry for my Armenian.. My patriotism comes from my grandparents, I have had it since my childhood.

– Seda, we cann’t miss the chance to speak about your father.

– Sure.

– How is he as a father?

–  He is a very good father but like I told the other TV station but he’s very busy. But he is a good at home as he is outside. He is the same. My father is a saint for me. I haven’t said that to him because…

– He will become too proud..

– What about your characters? Are they alike?

– Very. We are a little crazy. Like me, he is a bit shy. It’s not often seen as he is a great man, a great singer but he is. Not everything is the same, of course. He is more talented. God gave him a big talent. But not me. We can’t have everything. But i have other things.

– Surely..

We don’t need to say that we thought it was going to be an amazing show full of surprises. It was organized by Liz Sarian’s husband, Telemak Kavezyan who conducted the Armenian – French Orchestra with Frederick Manoukyan.

Liz Sarian, French-Armenian singer

– I think it went very well. We tried our best with Aida and I hope the people of Karabakh enjoyed it.

Aida Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s sister

– I think the same! We were very happy.

– Were you happy to be on the stage with your brother and see him honoured so much?

– Very happy and proud.

Seda Aznavour, Charles Aznavour’s daughter

– The audience loved us. I have wonderful impressions. They received us with so much love. I understood that what is best for them, is best for us. It’s all for our good.



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