Sharjah: 12 May 2011
Beirut: 20, 21, 22 May 2011
Anjar: 27 May 2011
Interview with Maggie prior to the Middle East tour
With a background in music, dancing, singing and acting, Maggie dreamt of entertaining children since early age. Azad-Hye explores Maggie's story, one of the best known children's entertainers in the Armenian Diaspora.?
Can you tell us what triggered you to start your project? Was it business or love or a combination?
When I first came to America, I started out my career with children?s entertainer Taline. It was at that time, when we performed on stage, that I first felt the joy that our performances provided to the children. It was then that I decided that I can impart something to the Armenian child.
As to why I do this work today? Because I feel that I have a dept to pay. An inheritance that I want to share. We received it from the Armenians and it is back to the Armenians to which we want to present.
How have you prepared professionally? What is your background and training in?
I attended Hamazkayin?s Parsegh Ganachian Conservatory, where I studied music history, theory, solfege. And my musical instruments of choice were the Piano and Guitar.
I also, danced for 10 years in Hamazkayin?s ?Knar? Dance Troupe in Lebanon. I have also performed and participated in various Choral Groups and Choirs. I have also played lead roles within various Theater Groups. Apart from the many fairs, festivals, public, cultural and civic events and gatherings, at which I perform, I also had the opportunity recently, to appear in an American Studio Television Production with world renowned Reality Show Star Actor and Musician Gene Simmons, during a filming of an episode of his Reality Show ?Gene Simmons Family Jewels?
Since you tour the world, have you noticed any differences in the reaction of the children in different communities?
Each concert has a significant and special meaning to me. There are those though, for instance the concert series we had in Lebanon, at which we had such large numbers of attendees, which have left a unique impression on me.
Children?s reaction towards me, my songs or performances are pretty uniform and universal in all the communities. What is interesting though, is seeing children, who do not speak Armenian, sing along with me because they have learned the words to my songs.
Do you write or compose some of your songs? If no, why not give it a try?
The songs that I have released to date, I have not composed. I have given it an attempt though. However, I have to give it more of an effort to complete and enhance my efforts to this regard.
What is your opinion about today's children and young generation? How do you evaluate their connection to the Armenian music in general?
It pains me to say it, but there is unfortunately a segment of young people who are not familiar with Armenian Music. In my opinion, the seed of an understanding and appreciation for Armenian music should be planted in an individual at a very young age because when they grow up and turn into teenagers, they will naturally be inclined to follow other types of non-Armenian music however in time they will return to the Armenian music. Children, despite their young age, have an innate ability to learn early but manifest, produce or recall?much later on.
Where do you find it more comfortable? In the studio or on the stage?
Of course on stage. Often, regardless of how tired or unenthused or reluctant I feel, it all disappears on stage and a smile appears on my face. When I see the joy in the children?s faces I too become overjoyed and find contentment.
What kind of music do you listen to when you have time?
I want to be, as much as possible, introduced and familiarized with different cultures. It is based on this interest that I listen to all types of music, but I must confess that Armenian music rings dearer to my heart.
How did you plan for the Middle East tour? What cities are you covering during your tour? What are your expectations?
This is the first time I am organizing a Tour of the Middle East. I have however had many performances in Lebanon on various occasions. I currently live in the United States of America, specifically, Los Angeles California, which is where the idea first came to me. Once the idea was sparked in my mind and inspired by the fact that His Holiness Aram I, has declared 2011 as 'Hye Manougi Dari? or ?The Year of the Armenian Child? I embarked without any hesitation or delay on this effort. It is great that this tour has been worked out in such a way that the message of the Catholicosate will be shared with countless little ones, several communities and spread throughout the world during my performances. This tour that will be presented under the auspices of the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia?s Sunday Schools Executive Board?s Director.
The first performance of this tour will take place on May 12th, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, which will be followed by our performances in Beirut, Lebanon on May 20th, 21st& 22nd and in Anjar on May 27th.
Certain performances in other Countries remain unconfirmed due to National security and instability considerations.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to His Holiness Aram I, and the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia?s Sunday Schools Executive Board?s Director, under the auspices of whom, this tour will be presented, along with the organizations and establishments. The performances in Lebanon will be made possible through the generosity of the following sponsors and supporters: Bank Libano-Francaise, Burger King, Sumsung, Ayanian & Sons, Hawa Chicken and Rifai.
Questions contributed by Nanor Mikayelian.
Maggie's website: http://www.maggietune.com/
Maggie's biography in Azad-Hye Directory