An Armenian song goes viral in Turkey and Azeris are outraged. The pop song from rapper Super Sako featuring Hayko titled Mi Gna, went viral all over Turkey in the recent months.
American musician John Denver once famously said the following:
“Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.”
This quote immediately came to my mind when I first discovered that recently a certain song from the Rabiz genre by Super Sako titled Mi Gna (meaning “don’t go”), went viral all over Turkey, with remixes and even covers being produced in Turkish.
Rabiz music is often played in Armenia during parties and celebrations. Some people consider it tasteless, but it is marked with playful humor and isn’t suppose to be taken seriously. It’s a type of guilty pleasure music that has parallels in every culture. Perhaps the closest parallel in European music would be the Schlager genre, which is defined in wikipedia as “a style of popular music which is generally a catchy instrumental accompaniment to vocal pieces of pop music with less demanding, often sentimental lyrics.” So perhaps this joyful side spoke to the Turkish audiences as well in this case.
Popular singer Özcan Deniz filmed dancing to Mi Gna during his make up session:
Cover of Mi Gna by Berat Toksöz
I think it’s safe to assume that most Turkish audiences probably don’t realize that this song is actually Armenian and this is perhaps a bigger testament to the irrationality of the animosity against Armenians. After all, without the label “Armenian” or as Turks say “Ermeni”, Turks are very capable of enjoying Armenian culture, which has many parallels with their own due to centuries of cohabitation within the Ottoman empire, to which the Armenian contribution has been remarkable to say the least. With everything from the developments in architecture, military, alphabet or in this case music.
Armenians have played a huge role in both classical Turkish music and contemporary Turkish music. For example Tatyos Efendi is considered among the most prolific composers in Turkey. Hampartsoum Limondjian developed the Hampartsoum notation system, which became the main music notation for Ottoman classical music. Karnik Garmiryan composed over 135 popular songs in the Ottoman empire. Kemani Serkis Efendi composed several famous classical Ottoman musical pieces including “Kimseye Etmem Şikayet”. And the list goes on and on… The Ottoman-Armenian history is quite rich, unfortunately due to well known events and subsequent mutual hostilities it has largely been either forgotten, lost or deliberately hidden. As for recent history, Udi Hrant for example introduced the modern oud to contemporary Turkish music. Onno Tunç was behind some of the greatest contemporary Turkish songs. Cem Karaca was also Turkey’s biggest rockstar and one of the most important figures in the Anatolian rock movement. And many more…
Nevertheless, I think it is clear that there are many cultural similarities between Turks and Armenians and I am not even talking about the obvious genetic similarities.
As often the case though, when Turks display even the faintest affection for anything Armenia related, Azeris are there to cry wolf. Even though one could probably make a good case for Anatolian Turks having closer historic ties to Armenians than Azeris, despite their language or self-designation.
Below are some of the examples of their ridiculous outrage over Turks enjoying a somewhat comical song from Armenia.
Azeri berates this establishment for playing the song.
Azeri vlogger goes all sentimental about Turks enjoying an Armenian song.
At at the end of the day music remains a unifying art-form. Turkish-Armenian quarrels are far from over and a viral song won’t make much difference in this respect. Eventually however both of our nations will have to come to terms with the past tragedies and attempt to build some forms of lasting relations. After all, both of our nations share more history than we’d perhaps like to admit.