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Raffi Wartanian on the history of Armenian music



Senior Fellow Raffi Joe Wartanian is a writer, educator, and musician. Recently, he followed the oud through the history of Armenian music. The result was “Variations on a Theme,” a new article published in Lapham’s Quarterly.

Raffi is the grandson of Armenian Genocide survivors. Therefore, as he disclosed, distorting history is for him “familiar territory,” explaining his passion for the Armenian culture, music and history. “The oud was history incarnate and a vessel to chart my own passage through this inheritance,” Raffi added.

In the article, Raffi shared not only his personal story of learning to play the oud, but also the intertwined history of Armenia and Armenian musicians. Armenian communities “had to determine how much their melodies and lyrics would reference a past both glorious and traumatic,” Raffi explained.

To read about the rich history of Armenian culture and music, read Raffi’s article on this Lapham’s Quarterly page. For more of Raffi’s writing and music, visit his website.