Armenia-Azerbaijan: how music brings nations together

Armenia-Azerbaijan: how music brings nations together

It is believed that from all art forms, music has the greatest impact on a person’s perception, on his emotional state. While Azerbaijani and Armenian diplomats prepare peoples for peace, they need to pay attention to the points of contact between two cultures, which can be traced in music of famous singers and composers. This is especially important if one considers that for more than a quarter of a century the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has ceased to be a purely political problem, and its consequences affect the mental perception of the conflicting parties.

During the years of the deepest emotional crisis, by criticizing each other, the parties repeatedly challenged the historical past and legacy of peoples, ranging from archeological monuments to the gastronomic heritage. However, folk art cannot be divided and can become part of the spiritual world of any nation.

With the development of modern digital technologies in the Internet era, it becomes much easier to learn about musical cultures and participate in intensive information sharing than a quarter of a century ago. The current ideas about music can form a multicultural space that allows you to incorporate knowledge about various cultural environments and traditions that can smooth sharp corners in relations between nations.

Speaking about the Armenian-Azerbaijani musical traditions, it is worth noting that quite recently, common taste preferences could be found in masterpieces of composers known all over the Soviet Union. The 'Golden Fund' of Armenia and Azerbaijan contains immortal works created in the creative unions of prominent figures of the Soviet creative intelligentsia Andrei Babayev, Rashid Beybutov, Muslim Magomayev, Arno Babajanyan. Andrei Babayev - a Karabakh Armenian who worked at the Baku Philharmonic in the late 1940s, even after moving to Moscow, he continued to actively cooperate with Azerbaijani performers, in particular with Beybutov. As for the Babajanyan-Magamaev creative tandem, it is considered to be a gold standard in the entire post-Soviet space.

But there was also music not broadcast by Soviet television, for which no place had been found on the radio, but nevertheless which can be rightly heralded as "common property". We are talking about "Baku chanson", which could be heard at weddings and restaurants. One of the brightest representatives of this genre was Boris Davidyan, better known as Boka. Comic, rather rude, sometimes not meaningful musical compositions with a colorful accent could not be heard from the official Soviet scene. But they were often coming out of tape recorders in the courtyards of South Caucasian cities. Even today, Boris Davidian's songs are not alien to the present generation of Azerbaijanis - Boka remains a Baku Armenian, who repeatedly declared his love to his native Baku in his songs.

Creative collaboration can contribute to overcoming the negative cultural consequences of the conflict, can act as a kind of language mediator. Meanings laid into music serve as the basis for intercultural communication, while language mediators (melodies, performance, accompaniment) build appropriate cultural reference points, using which you can turn to the listener. Language mediation should not be confused with the practice of text translation, since in language mediation the participation of two or more languages contributes to intercultural enrichment and the formation of a common value perception.

Finally, creating an atmosphere of cultural tolerance in the context of unresolved conflict stimulates the restoration of international relations. It is impossible to prepare nations for peace without paying attention to the socio-psychological factor that prompts interpersonal relations to cooperation, connects nations with each other, facilitating the making of compromise decisions. Thus, with the help of persuasion, attraction and creative cooperation, culture, including folk art, acts as "soft power" in international relations.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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