Through the lenses of poetry and music, this program explores the historic role of Armenian women in the arts, both in Armenia and its diasporic communities, over the past 170 years. Presented in collaboration with the Armenian General Benevolent Union Performing Arts Department (AGBU PAD). Panelists include Armenian a capella trio Zulal and contemporary poet Lola Koundakjian, and moderated by humanitarian Houry Geudelekian.
Founded in 1906, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world’s largest non-profit organization devoted to upholding the Armenian heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, making a difference in the lives of over 500,000 people across Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian diaspora.
AGBU Performing Arts Department (PAD) strives to educate the global audience about Armenian culture through diverse programming worldwide: bringing musicians from around the world to Yerevan each summer with the AGBU Musical Armenia Program (MAP); showcasing the works of Armenians in Film through yearly film screenings at prestigious venues such as New York City’s Lincoln Center; co-hosting the annual AGBU Performing Artists in Concert at Carnegie Hall; spreading Armenian music and poetry through the biennial AGBU Sayat Nova International Composition Competition in Paris and New York. PAD also supports young artists through its Performing Arts Mini-Grants program, granting awards to high-achieving students and professionals from around the world.”
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Zulal, the a cappella trio, takes Armenia’s village folk melodies and weaves intricate arrangements that pay tribute to the rural roots of the music while introducing a sophisticated lyricism and energy. Zulal’s singers, Teni Apelian, Yeraz Markarian, and Anaïs Tekerian, have been singing together since 2002. The trio has performed in such esteemed venues as the Getty Museum, Berklee College of Music, Carnegie Hall’s Weill and Zankel Recital Halls, The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and New York’s Symphony Space, along with performances for Cirque du Soleil and the Silk Road Project. Additionally, the trio has scored the film Stone Time Touch and has three acclaimed albums to its credit. Zulal celebrates the trials and joys of old Armenian village life: girls cast fortunes by the moon’s light, morning smoke rises from the tonir, young brides weave golden threads through their hair as others spin wool into gossip. These images of the past come to life in Zulal’s arrangements, hearkening back to a simpler time, providing tokens of comfort in our increasingly complex, modern world.
Lola Koundakjian is the author of The Accidental Observer and the newly published Advice to a Poet. She resides in New York City. She writes in Armenian, her mother tongue, and in English. She has organized evenings dedicated to the Dead Armenian Poets’ Society since her university days, and has curated the online Armenian Poetry Project since April 2006. A regular reader in New York City and its tri-state area, she has appeared in four international poetry festivals: Medallín, Colombia in 2010; Lima, Peru, and Ramallah, West Bank in 2013; and Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada in 2014. Her translations of modern Istanbul poets have been included in Western Armenian language teaching manuals. Lola has received two grants from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and the Naji Naaman Literary Prize in Lebanon.
Houry Geudelekian is the Co-Chair of Working Group on Girls, UN badge holder for International Federation of Business and Professional Women, Co-Chair of NYC4CEDAW and a member of UN Working Group on Youth and Gender Equality. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, she moved to New York City in the late 70's with her husband. Her professional expertise is in Project Management, Marketing and Public Relations with a passion for Human Rights. In her capacity as UN Coordinator for Armenian Relief Society, she served as Executive Committee on NGO CSW NY for two terms, and was Co-Chair of NGO CSW Forum Planning Committee. As a board member of NGO CSW NY she was a founding member of the Cities for CEDAW campaign as well as Beijing Platform for Action+20. She is always actively looking to partner with international organizations to bring gender equality to global attention. She has also facilitated and partnered with UN Missions and helped ARS get elected as a member at large on Conference of NGO’s Executive Board (CoNGO). She lives in NYC and is most proud of her feminist sons, Tavit, Mika and Alex.
BRIC’s Stoop Series welcomes audiences for dynamic conversations that connect art, performance, media, and other creative fields with big ideas that are important to Brooklynites. The Stoop Series highlights voices we don’t hear enough, creative solutions that deserve more attention, artistic endeavors that make you see the world differently, and tools for enhancing your own creativity.
The Stoop at BRIC House is a public cultural gathering space featuring free, drop-in programming, and offering a place to sit, observe, and participate in multi-disciplinary work.