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ONCE UPON A TIME IN ARTSAKHIn 1995, we were in Artsakh to perform in front of soldiers with the Alaverdi band “Lazur” (we had been there during the war). We gave concerts in all defense districts for about 10 days. For the last two days we performed in the military units of the 5th Defense District. On the second day we went to Mataghis and Talish, but after performing in the military unit located in Mataghis school, they were not allowed to move to Talish, because an enemy subversive group was observed (later it turned out to be intelligence). It was already dark when we moved, and some polytechnic boys and girls were with us, who had come to see their fellow worker. There were more than 20 people in the Gazelle escort, they approached the car on a stretcher, an injured young volunteer who had broken due to falling from a height. They were in pain, but with each fall of the car, the condition of the wounded worsened. We put his stretcher on the backs of the benches on the aisle and kept it from falling. It was dark, we were all silent. There was a heavy atmosphere in the air. Suddenly, one of the girls from the polytechnic started whispering, “The caravan is coming.” The people on the bus, most of whom were musicians, accompanied the girl, and a wonderful choir was formed. The wounded man reduced his groans at the end of the song he asked to sing again …

In enemy-watched areas, the bus turned off its headlights, and faintly visible ghosts from the window made our way even more mysterious. It turned out to be an unforgettable trip, and the wounded man stopped moaning. It was the powerful force of the song, it crossed my mind.

We reached a military unit. The soldier was taken to hospital by ambulance. By the order of the commander, a military dinner was prepared for us. The day before, he had attended our concert, rejoiced, and even danced.

Although it was late, they said dinner was a must. I assure you, as in all military units, it was difficult to refuse here. They joked that they would block our way with machine guns.

It was midnight when we moved. It was raining a little in the fall, it was cold. There was a blockade a few kilometers away from the village. You do not know where a soldier came from and signaled to stand with his hand. The bus stopped, I got off.

“You do not have a pass. You can not move forward without a pass,” said the soldier.

I started to convince the soldier that we are artists, that we gave a concert in their military unit yesterday, hasn’t he heard about it?

Then we heard someone say, “Who would let us go to the concert?”

Not far from the sound, I noticed a hut, which was the body of a truck. While the soldier was in contact with the command, I went inside. It was dark.

“Is there any light?” I asked, the same voice answered no.

I bought a box of candles in Stepanakert because the lights in the hotel were turned off regularly. I got back on the bus and brought the whole box. There were two bunk beds, three soldiers lying on top of them, covered with their armor. There were muddy boots on the wet ground. It was cold. Despite the intensifying wind, the sound of raindrops falling on the tin roof could be heard.

“Who are you?” the watchman asked.

“Folk music group. One of the soldiers joked that there was no concert for us?”

“Why not?” I said and left the hut and headed for the bus. I asked duduk players Zhora, Harut and drummer Sergey, singers Gohar Davtyan and Nazik Aghajanyan to come down. Somehow we settled in a military shelter. The “concert” started. Zhora’s “Hover fell” replaced Gohar’s “Masren”, then Nazik’s happy performance and … so on. The shouts of the soldiers spread and the applause corresponding to the beat of the song. That desolate area has just come to life. I was on the verge of real and unreal with feelings. I was standing outside, excitement was gripping my throat …

The “concert” lasted for half an hour. An order came from the headquarters that we could cross. Before leaving, we gave them all we had: chocolates and cookies, homemade jam and headed to Stepanakert. For the boys lying on the iron bed in the mysterious shelter, who may have been weaving their crystal dreams of the future, it was like a childhood miracle performed by Santa Claus, in the middle of the night some musicians appeared, lit a cold, shabby hut for a while. This, is probably is the power of art …



Category: #09 (1380) 10.03.2021 - 16.03.2021, Army and Society, Spotlight