“Nightingale of the Middle East" still in exile 14 years after his death

“Nightingale of the Middle East" still in exile 14 years after his death
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A small ceremony was held in Aram Tigran’s cemetery in Brussels to commemorate his legacy that spanned across Armenian and Kurdish cultures and bridged divides through music

Renowned Armenian artist Aram Tigran, known as the "Nightingale of the Middle East" among the Kurdish people, was commemorated at his gravesite in Brussels on the 14th anniversary of his passing.

After placing roses on his grave, a minute of silence was observed.

"Mamoste Aram built bridges between the Armenian and Kurdish peoples with his songs and life. He had wished to be laid to rest in Diyarbakir, but the ruthless enemy did not allow it. On the day we liberate our lands, we will fulfill his wish and move his grave to Diyarbakir," Hozan Semdin, a long-time friend of Tigran said during the commemoration.

The small ceremony concluded after Aram Tigran's songs were performed.


Born in 1934 in the city of Qamishli, Aram Tigran (also known as Aram Melikyan or Aramê Dîkran) was a prominent Armenian artist who left an indelible mark on the world of music. His musical journey was not only defined by his exceptional talents but was also intricately woven with the threads of his heritage. Tigran's family found refuge with a Kurdish family during the turmoil of the Armenian Genocide in 1915.

Tigran's artistic inclinations began early, as he started playing the ud at the tender age of 6, receiving his initial lessons from his father. After completing high school in Qamishli, he pursued higher education for three years. Immersing himself in the world of music.

His debut concert took place on the occasion of Newroz night in 1953. A short while later, he transitioned from playing the ud to the cumbus, another instrument frequently used in Kurdish music, known for its higher tonal range.

In 1966, Tigran and his family migrated to Armenia, where he began working for the Kurdish section of Yerevan Radio. This marked the phase of his initial formal music education. By crafting compositions and arrangements that resonated with both classic and modern Kurdish poetry, he introduced a novel style in Kurdish music, referred to as "Arami," reminiscent of the choral traditions of Armenian music.

He continued his radio work until 1984, and in 1995, he left his homeland for Europe. Settling in Athens, he visited Diyarbakır in 2006 for a festival, where he humbly paid homage to his father's birthplace. His 14th album was released when he was 74 years old.

On August 6, 2009, he fell seriously ill in Athens and was admitted to the hospital, passing away on August 8 at the age of 75. His wish to be buried in Diyarbakır, a city close to his heart, was thwarted by the government.

Tigran found his resting place in Brussels, and as a poignant symbol of connection, soil from Diyarbakır was scattered upon his grave. His songs, such as "Bilbilo," "Ay Dîlberê," "Te Ez Kalkirim bi Ciwanî," "Dîlber," "Şev Çû," "Dîyarbekir," "Zimanê Kurdî," and "Ax Lê Eman," became deeply ingrained in the fabric of Kurdish culture, resonating across the entire Kurdish geography. Even now, these compositions hold a revered place within the realm of Kurdish music, standing as its cornerstones.

Aram Tigran was not only proficient in Kurdish but also in Armenian, Arabic, Russian, Greek, and English. His multilingualism was a testament to his cosmopolitan spirit, which transcended borders and united cultures through the universal language of music.