TmbaTa: "Gaceq teseq" (Գացեք տեսեք)
Smiles creep onto the performers’ faces as they catch each other’s eye, their uninhibited joy infecting the crowd. After all, they have come from practicing at an after-school program in Armenia all the way to performing on the National Mall of the United States.
The young performers in TmbaTa, led by the Armenian rock star Arik Grigoryan, honor their musical heritage while inventing new traditions, using inspiration from all over the world. “Armenia is a very old culture, so [folk songs] are a bridge between generations,” they explained in an interview prior to the Folklife Festival. They shared the stage during a Sounds of California evening concert with Armenian Public Radio, a band from Los Angeles with very similar goals.
TmbaTa grew out of TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, a free access resource center for youth in Yerevan, Armenia. At TUMO, youth from the ages of twelve to eighteen have the chance to learn creative and artistic skills such as video editing and music. The center is one partner in My Armenia, a collaborative project between the people of Armenia, USAID, and the Smithsonian.
Camera: Angela Calonder, Andrea Curran, Joshua Davis, Helen Lehrer, Michelle Mehrtens, Lillian Schneyer, and Ryan Shank
Editor: Ryan Shank
Text: SarahVictoria Rosemann