Today the world mourns the death of legendary French-Armenian artist, Charles Aznavour. Like water, music knows no boundaries, and Mr. Aznavour’s music was a testament to melodies and lyrics diffusing their emotions through borders, continents and even through generations.
I am proud of my Armenian heritage and upbringing, which introduced me to Aznavour’s music at a young age. Today, it warms me with nostalgia as I remember my parents and our journey from one nation to another- his voice bringing back the feeling of home, and his lyrics touching a very special place in my heart. Though all his songs define musical brilliance, my favourite must be his signature piece “La Boheme” which described the life of painters in Montmartre, who could rarely afford to eat, but whose lives were sustained by art and love.
While he sang for kings and queens and even the Pope, he also raised money for charity, launching the ‘Aznavour for Armenia’ appeal in response to the 1988 earthquake in the country, and always retained the common touch. A true philanthropist and global citizen, in his eight-decade career, Aznavour released albums in French, English, Spanish, Italian, and German, selling over 180 million records along the way.
French president Emmanuel Macron posted a tribute to Aznavour on Twitter stating, “Profoundly French, viscerally attached to his Armenian roots, known across the world, Charles Aznavour has accompanied the joys and pains of three generations,” Macron wrote in French. “His masterpieces, his timbre, his unique radiance will survive him for a long time.”
Those who have had the chance to see him live in concert, were undoubtedly charmed by his phenomenal presence and his undying love for performance. A dedicated artist right until the end of his days, Aznavour had concerts planned even at the age of 94. Although his musical journey ended today, his inspiring work and divine contribution to our world will forever be treasured.
Monsieur Charles Aznavour, you are formi, formi, formidable.