Papuri Փափուռի / Karsi Bar- Armenia, Kurdistan, Turkey


One thought on “Papuri Փափուռի / Karsi Bar- Armenia, Kurdistan, Turkey

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  1. Wow, not sure where to begin.

    Gagik Ginosyan is leading a major effort to revive traditional Armenian dances in Armenia, and now world-wide in Armenian diaspora communities. He has had major impact and traditional dances are part of the school curriculum in Armenia for all children. During the Soviet period the dances were disparaged in favor of balletic ‘national dances’ but they are now respected and taught. For the youth this is both a ‘getting in touch with our roots’ and is also a generational identity maker, distinguishing the post-soviet generation. “These are the dances of our great-grandparents, once lost, now found again. We celebrate our culture’.

    Gagik has created professional recordings of many of the dances he teaches and uses for performances, which are on youtube for downloading. These recordings are free and accessible for all to help promote the dances, so communities in Yerevan, Moscow, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Sydney, etc. all can learn and maintain the dances. An Armenian from Marseilles can go to Ontario and jump right in…they know the same repertoire. Gagik doesn’t bother with commercial CDs and the like. His interest is in promoting the dances, and many performance groups use his Karin Ensemble as their role model.

    The music at the St. Gregory the Enlightener picnic in NOT a Papuri, despite the wrong name on the original John Vartan recording. The music is the ‘Bijo’ from Kharad, and the dancers are performing the Bijo dance, still done in NYC. It is not a Papuri.

    The melody Papuri has two major forms. The older melody was simpler and more repetitive. This is the traditional form that Gagik Ginosyan uses. The dance he teaches is of the Moush/Bitlis style. (there are different versions).

    To further confuse the issues, in the 1950s the Armenian musicians in Philadelphia substituted a ‘Sheikhani’ melody for the older melody. This new version is now the ‘standard Papuri’ in the United States. The musical substitution is now only remembered by people in their 80s and everyone younger assumes that the new version is the traditional Papuri. It is not.

    Then there’s the ‘Karsi Bar’ debacle, which only exists among IFD dancers. No Armenan-American would ever confuse it with a Papuri melody, or do the dance to that melody. It’s strictly an IFD problem. But once the wrong info and music is used it gains a life of it’s own, for better or worse.

    The Papuri performed by Bill and Karen Faust is the traditional “Khorkom Papuri’ but they use the incorrect ‘Karsi Bar’ music.

    The John Bilezikian recording is ‘Karsi Bar’ and a Karsi Bar dance would be danced to it, not Papuri.

    The John Filich syllabus is to a traditional ‘Moush/Bitlis Papuri’, similar to the version Gagik teaches.

    The Tineka Van Geel syllabus is also a dance related to the ‘Moush/Bitlis’ version, but is a bit more elaborate.

    The youtube of the Ontario dancers- the dance is the old ‘Moush/Bitlis’ version, but the melody is the more modern post ’50s Papuri that is played everywhere today.

    As for the Tuscon group’s dance? The melody is ‘Karsi Bar’ but the dance is not. It almost looks like a Syrian Dabka. Whatever it is, it’s from somewhere south of Historical Armenia. I can’t be more specific.


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