Serj Tankian premieres the song “Artsakh”

Rolling Stone – Serj Tankian from rand courtney on Vimeo.

System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian was so moved by the resilience of Armenian fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh, during a four-day war in April that he wrote a passionate new folk song, “Artsakh,” in deference to them. The song voices support for the people of Artsakh – the Armenian name for the region – and protests Azeri aggression.

“These people have lived on those lands for thousands of years,” the singer wrote in a statement. “They have struggle but also great beauty written on their foreheads. The whimsical appropriation of land by an empire (Stalin) placed them under Azerbaijan. They have since gained their independence and have lived a prosperous existence for the last 20 or so years. I do not believe in wars and ultimately borders but I deeply believe in self-determination and life without oppression. Therefore it is time for the world to recognize them as the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).”

“It’s a crazy provocation,” the singer tells Rolling Stone. “It’s a land that these people have lived on from the beginning of time, from time immemorial, with children springing from the rivers and generations coming from their mountains. There is a national liberation struggle embedded within their character, their public mask, if you will. It goes on through trying to create peace. We will ultimately win with culture and all this beautiful stuff.”

Tankian made a video for the song, on which he sings and plays guitar, this past weekend.

“Artsakh” lyrics, translated:

We’ve always lived on these lands,
Reaped and harvested these fields,
Generations sprung from your rivers,
Children born from your mountains,

The public mask of tradition,
The struggle for liberation or death,
The enemy’s gaze at your terrain,
Our smiles at your bosom,
At your bottomless will.

We’re going to sing with our fists
With the tricolor flag of justice,
Humanitarian love of peace
With the holy blessing of a child’s face,
We are going to prevail with culture
We are going to prevail with culture
We are going to prevail by being Armenian.

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