By Carlos Jose Bourdjian
It was 23 September 2008 when my plane from
I was aware a month ago that after her last appearance in 1998,
I was running in the streets of
I spent the weekend with some friends enjoying the beautiful nature of Dilijan in a small hotel called Daravand. Arman Davitian, jewelry designer known as
Nur, told me that he will dedicate one of his masterpiece works to Datevik and was promised to receive two invitations for the concert. So all he has to do is ask for two more; one for me and the second for Dikran Bedrossian, my other friend who was struggling to find a ticket as well.
Ani called. There were no invitations left at the company she works.
My phone rang; it was Nur telling me he managed to get only his tickets though he had requested two more. But then he said: ?Never mind Carlos jan. Just be in front of the entrance, near Aram Khachadurian statue at 7:15 p.m and I?ll help you enter that door. That?s what friends are for?. I guess there was a hope, but couldn?t figure how?
I arrived earlier to the place we agreed to meet. People were passing by me with their invitations in hands and wondering what I was doing near Khachadurian?s statue in a time where everybody was rushing in. Finally Nur and his wife Lilit came, but we need to wait for somebody else. It turned out that Nur had received a call from Dikran Bedrossian telling that Nazeni Hovanesian, actress and National Television H1 reporter had an extra ticket. So Dikran gave up his ticket for me and asked her to meet us at the entrance. While we were waiting for Nazo (that?s what her friends call her), I saw another familiar face from
There was an extra ticket available. Everybody was quiet, looking to each other and thinking the same thing?.. Dikran was called at once, and he joined us within a speed of light.
The beauty came casually dressed and with confident steps…?
Long smooth hair, wild eyes and a big smile? finally Nazeni arrived.
Looking confused for a while then everything came to normal within a minute. She introduced herself to me with a warm greeting and began to talk about the busy day she had.
We all decided to move fast and split to couples. So I took my lovely companion and went directly to find our seats.
After her last concert in
The audience was very excited to enjoy the evening with one of the most beautiful voices that
The opening tune was an instrumental piece especially written for this concert composed by Bob Albanese. This was followed with a repertoire that included a variety of American Jazz standards, ballads and bossa novas in addition to some Armenian traditional and popular songs presented in jazzy and unique arrangements.
With her great proficiency and magical voice Datevik carried us away to a world of pure sensuality and ecstasy. There were no vocal mistakes and not even a single false note during the show. We never felt how time flew because everything was perfect except the annoying lights of the big banner ?Armenian Jazz 70? especially during the acoustic duet with John Baboian ?The summer knows? written by Michel Legrand. I couldn?t understand what was the purpose of placing those silly lights, except to remind us of
In a word, this concert was a big testament that besides her good quality studio recordings Datevik was and still is 100% successful live on the stage with her wonderful presence and great rapport with the audience.
After the show I wanted to congratulate Datevik, introduce myself and give her a CD that I promised my friend to deliver but it was too crowdy to approach the backstage entrance. I left the opera house still thinking how to reach her. Nur said he was supposed to meet her next day to dedicate the special ring he made for her and suggested to join them, but on the next day I lost communication with Nur due to cell phone problems without mentioning the bad weather we had all day.
Days were passing and I still couldn?t manage to find a way to meet Datevik Hovanesian. Some people said she was very busy and it was hard to catch her. Others said she had left to get some rest at the suburbs outside
I was interviewing Suzan Markarian at her house and she asked me how was Datevik?s concert since she was out of the city during that period. She mentioned later that Datevik lives few meters away at her parent?s house. They were neighbors for a long time. The location was
I went to discover the place. There was ?Studio Caf?? at the end of the street and I asked Nana, the caf? owner, if she knows more specific details. She said that Datevik had just finished her drink and left the caf? few minutes ago and I could have caught her if I arrived little earlier. She suggested calling her but unfortunately she was not at home as ?Digin? (Mrs.) Ophelia said but she will check and call us again.
Ophelia Hampartsumian is Datevik?s mother; she was and still known as The Diva of Armenian Folk Songs.
Few minutes later a man called and introduced himself as Datevik?s brother. He said that he was away from Datevik and unable to trace her for the moment. He felt sorry for keeping me waiting at the caf? especially after he knew the reason I was looking for his sister. He took my number and promised to call back at the soonest possible chance.
This reminded me of job interviews where the polite way of rejecting a candidate is by telling: ?We have your number and we?ll call you back?. I guess that was the end.
I was going to leave
I had a late lunch and was enjoying my coffee when my cell phone rang with an unknown number. It was a voice of a mature woman asking if I was Carlos. I was about to deny when she said: ?My name is Datevik Hovanesian and I want to talk with Carlos please?? We talked for few minutes. She knew that I had something for her with me but didn?t figure what it was.
The CD I had with me is called ?Armenian Stories? by a group named Hekiat (story). Houry Apartian, the vocalist of Hekiat, loved Datevik and her art. At the time she was studying Jazz vocal in
Datevik was delighted when she heard the story and didn?t refuse my request. We couldn?t fix a time to meet because she was very busy preparing for her flight back to New York in few days, so she asked me to leave the CD at ?Studio Caf? and they will send it to her. I suggest calling her first once I arrive to deliver it personally, but she confirmed being unavailable during daytime and preferred just to drop it as agreed.
I wrote a letter to Datevik introducing myself with more details. I expressed my admiration to her voice and the art she presented in a time when everybody was able easily to become a singer with minimum vocal abilities ignoring quality issues. She still remained Datevik; unique and one of her kind. I also mentioned that being a reporter to Azad-Hye, it was my intention to interview her but I respected her privacy and her being extremely busy. At the end I wished her a safe trip back home hoping that maybe one day we could meet.
I went to the caf? by night hoping she might be there by chance, but instead I left the envelope that had both the CD and my letter in it.
Usually I become a bit nervous, worried and moody in the last day of my trips.
I was busy packing my luggage, answering phone calls without mentioning last day visitors who came to say goodbye.
I was surprised to receive a call from Datevik an hour prior leaving to airport. She hadn?t heard the CD yet but was impressed with the letter that carried nothing but honesty and sincerity. She simply called to thank me for being very kind and a true fan of her music and promised to hear the CD after her return. She ended the call after wishing me a safe return and I promised to stay in touch with her to find out later whether she liked it or not.
Datevik left to
My name is Vahram Gurjian, I am Datevik's husband and manager. Just wanted to let you know that she returned to
Vahram and Datevik Hovanesian
I did not actually meet Datevik Hovanesian, but attending her concert and the few phone calls we had later were more than a regular meeting or a question/answer interview, because these showed how kind and a simple woman she was in spite of different reviews about her.
People usually expect from an artist to act the same way they do. They get upset if the artist doesn?t respond to them the same way they greet him/her. I agree that an artist is a human being like us but there is something called ?privacy? we have to respect and not interfere whenever we want. Big artists like Datevik are more sensitive and moody, because they live in a world of their own besides the one we live in as well. They have always to keep balance between these two worlds.
At the end I want to thank both Vahram and Datevik for being a true source for some
Click here to listen to 3 songs by Datevik Hovhanesian
Click here to listen to 3 songs by Datevik Hovhanesian
Note: Above two photos are taken by Gagik Buniatian
After the concert from left Nur, Dikran, Nazeni, Louisa Nersesian (actress), Ani Amirian (singer) and Carlos J. Bourdjian: