Songs in Many Tongues: “Ari Im Sokhag” (Armenian)

No list of Armenian folk music is complete without the inclusion of the classic lullaby, “Ari Im Sokhag” (“Come hither, my nightingale”). The song speaks about a mother who tries to lull her crying baby to sleep. She calls on the dove, the sweet nightingale, and the lark to help, but to no avail. It was only when she calls the hawk – who sings a song of war – that the child finally sleeps. This unexpected twist in the story is what elevates Ari Im Sokhag from a mere lullaby to a David and Goliath parable of the sufferings of the Armenian people.

Seri Tankian from the Armenian-American heavy metal band, System of a Down recorded a duet of this song with Larisa Ryan for the film “1915” about the Armenian Genocide. The result is a touching, melancholic delivery, made more heart-tugging by clips from the film and the two performers singing stoically in almost total darkness. The parallels between the Armenian situation depicted by the song and the Israeli situation at this historic moment is uncanny.

“Ari Im Sokhak” – Duel by Serj Tankian and Larisa Ryan

Leave a Reply