Wavy is the Sea, Momma

Haig Aivazian and the Beyoğlu Holy Trinity Armenian Church Choir, present Wavy, Wavy is the Sea of Bolis, O Mother. Walking up the stairs of the Galata Greek School, the choir reinterprets a song by oud master Udi Hrant Kenkulian (1901-1978) —itself a reinterpretation of a folkloric song from the town of Egin. Kenkulian, a blind musician and composer, was a significant contributor to the Türk sanat müziḡi repertoire, a salon music derived from the Ottoman classics but central to the Modern Turkish Republican identity. The Beyoğlu Church Choir is one of the few remaining in the world to still keep to the monophonic Armenian Liturgical tradition —all but disappeared since its polyphonization during the Armenian drive to modernity in the late 1800s. Aivazian’s project extracts from Kenkulian’s laments about love and heartache, themes of illness, exhaustion, exile and death. As the voices of the performers fill the abandoned school, the crevices in their timbre reveal melodic, cultural and linguistic, severances, creolizations and preservations. As their bodies flood the staircases, they resonate within them the displacements and amnesias, as well as the resiliencies and remembrances that continue to shape Istanbul with unsettled waves.

Performed on the 2nd, 4th and 5th of Sept, 2015 as part of the Istanbul Biennial.

Translation of lyrics:
First floor:
Akh, in foreign lands I have built a home, momma / Only to sit in it alone / You have made haram (deprived me) of food and drink, momma / It will be a ajab (wonderful) day when I get my

Stairs: Dalga, dalga (wavy, wavy) is the sea of Bolis (Istanbul), momma.
Second floor:
How sweetly blows the wind of sevda (love)

Stairs: Dalga, dalga (wavy, wavy) is the sea of Bolis (Istanbul), momma.
Third floor:
Night and day, you hich (never) leave my mind, momma / As soon as I put my head onto my pillow, you come to me in my dreams.

Stairs: Dalga, dalga (wavy, wavy) is the sea of Bolis (Istanbul), momma.
Fourth floor
If God would only grant my nasib (destiny) that I may go to her, momma / That I may take my murad (what is intended for me) so that I may fall into the sea.


Choir Members in order of solo appearance:
Murad Içlinalça, Yoel Vahram Kesap, Nisan Çalgiciyan, Vahram Çalgiciyan, Hovsep Kuyumciyan, Sevan Sencan, Sercan Gazeroglu, Murad Menekse