My Road

Repat Story
Marine Manasian about music, repatriation and love for Armenia
Marine Manasian about music, repatriation and love for Armenia
Today we will tell you about the life and work of Marine Manasian, a composer, singer, and musician. Marine Manasian has recently returned to Armenia, and it is very interesting to learn not only about her work, but also about her experience of returning to her homeland.
As a teenager, you lived in 2 countries - Russia and Armenia. What was it like? How did it affect you?
In retrospect it was hard times. First you find yourself in one new place where you have to adapt to new everything, then you come back again and learn again how to be in another place. This means the language and, of course, the people around you. And this happens about 10 times in 10 years. I read somewhere that for a non-adult person, one painful move is equal to the loss of two loved ones in terms of the level of injury. The impact of moving on my life is enormous. But I can't say with certainty whether it influenced me to become strong or I was already strong enough to be able to overcome these challenges.
Having lived in Russia for many years, how much are you Russian and Armenian?
Not for a single second of my life did I feel Russian, despite the fact that I lived most of the time in Moscow, despite the fact that I adore Moscow, my best friends are Russians and this list goes on. But at every opportunity and moment, I tried to tell everyone about Armenia. When you live in a different place, the desire to share about your country becomes an obsession. Maybe we, who are far from our homeland, thus try to be closer to it, with our stories and love for it.
How did both countries influence you as a musician?
I can answer this question in different ways. The first answer is no way, because on the path of becoming someone, faith in yourself helps, and this is an exclusively personal spiritual work. On the other hand, they had a huge impact. In the beginning, the desire to make music was influenced by Russian rock bands, which opened the door for me to music in general, later to foreign rock music, then music in general from classical to electronic. This is an outside influence.
And the inner is the influence of the roots. This influence for me became obvious not at once. Maybe because I was uprooted. Or maybe it was discovered due to the fact that I was far away. When you dive deeply in yourself, it brings you back to the roots. In my case, this is the discovery of Armenian songs in me, which happened quite intuitively. Whatever I write, it is saturated with Armenia.
How did you choose such a difficult musical direction? Can you describe your music in more detail? Because I perceive it as traditional motives in a very cool modern way.
It seems to me that there is something that a person still does not choose, but is born with it, that can either be developed or destroyed. This is just a choice. It is the same with the musical direction, I will never be able to answer that I chose it, this is what I was born with, or, to be more precise, what was given to me by God. I would not describe it by genre or otherwise, any description is not accurate enough, turn it on, close your eyes, open your heart and listen. This is a return to home.
Where were your works born? Did you visit Armenia for the inspiration? What inspires you in general, regardless of time and place?
Most often they are born in my room, where I am alone and no one interferes. This room can be in Moscow or Yerevan - it doesn't matter.
No, I didn’t come to Armenia specifically to get inspired and write music. It doesn't work that way for me. Recently I`ve read a book by Hermann Hesse "Gertrude" about one composer. His description of the emergence of music inside is very close to me, it has not yet been written and does not even sound in your head, but you already feel it. And then the time comes and you sit down to write it. It's a miracle. So I started writing the album "1303" on the verses of Yeghishe Charents, which will be released in March 2023.
It is difficult for me to always answer what inspires me, because it can be some inconspicuous little thing that encourages me to compose.
Marine, why did you decide to move back to Yerevan? What opportunities did this solution give you?
My return happened quite spontaneously or intuitively again. This summer I left Moscow by car and traveled in Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and sang in the streets. After returning from a trip to Yerevan, I realized that I wanted to stay here.
It is difficult for me to answer about the opportunities, they definitely appeared and will appear more and more, but we can talk about them some time later.
If not to talk about music, but about what my return to Yerevan gave me - the treatment of the biggest trauma, the separation from my motherland for decades. And yet, being here, I realized that it was impossible to devalue the life that was outside of Armenia.
How is the music industry developed in Armenia? What prospects for your development do you see here?
The music industry is missing here. There is good music, but no industry. And the prospects - it all depends on my faith, attitude, a person creates their own reality, what I create in my head - it will be.
How has Armenia changed? How do you feel about it after the move? How is it different at every stage of your life?
The Armenia of my childhood is the "dark years", meaning the 90s, when the Soviet Union collapsed, an earthquake occurred and a war broke out between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh). They are considered dark, among other things, due to the lack of heating, water, electricity, work, etc. Nevertheless, these are the years where the people around me were the most kind and helpful.
Armenia of my teenage years - my 7th and 8th grades at school, which I considered until returning here this summer the best time of my life.
Armenia today is something that is not like my past here. And I'm getting used to it, or rather, I'm in the process of accepting it. But these descriptions are very inaccurate, if not to say that Armenia is always love and mountains. Every time you see that same mountain, you are surprised that such a thing can exist and that such a thing can happen to you for real. After all, until recently in Moscow, every time Ararat seemed to me in the clouds.
If you were given only 1 day to stay in Armenia, what places would you visit?
Any church. One of the treasures of Armenia is the time, which is hidden in every stone of every church that is over 1000 years old. In Syunik there is an 11th century temple Vorotnavank. Abandoned. A snake lives inside the church. And once a minute you can hear her hiss.
What is Armenia like? What are Armenians like?
Armenians are different. The worst and the best. I will tell only about the best - kindness. This is what is disarming. In any case, personally me.
Recently, I was thinking that many people who emigrated to Armenia this year perceive their move as a forced one. In this chaos of the world and their thoughts, many do not understand where they, “forced” ones, ended up. You need to realize that once you are here, you should stop, even freeze, and breathe in all the love and sacredness that comes from the earth.
Elizaveta Merkulova

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