Azerbaijani folk song “Aman Tello” has nothing to do with Armenians – agency

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The performance by ethnic Armenians from the American rock band “System of A Down” of the Azerbaijani folk song “Aman Tello” and its distribution in social networks have led to discussions and public discontent.

From historical, etymological and musicological point of view, the Azerbaijani folk song “Aman Tello” has nothing to do with the Armenians, the Copyright Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan said in a statement.

“As the Armenian sources themselves point out, the Armenian musicologist Komitas, traveling to Azerbaijani villages in present-day Armenia in the early twentieth century, collected samples of Azerbaijani folklore and recorded them. One of these songs is “Aman Tello”,” said the agency’s message.

The statement says that as professor Kamran Imanov wrote in his book (“Armenian Foreign Tales”, Baku, 2008), not only in the early XX century, but even in XVII-XVIII centuries “it is difficult to find Armenian manuscripts dating back to XVII-XVIII centuries, and even more so to XIX century, in which the old Azerbaijani songs and melodies wouldn’t be encountered,” the agency’s commentary says.

“The texts of most of them are stored in the Matenadaran and other archives of Armenia. Those melodies are widespread and the absolute majority of Armenian folk songs and melodies (about 90 percent) are based on Azerbaijani ones,” the agency said.

“The ancient Azerbaijani tunes were not only widely used in Armenian life, they were not only collected and kept in archives and were not only translated, but they were also widely published by Armenians, like our other folklore samples,” the agency’s commentary said.

“As a rule, in foreign sources the Azerbaijani masterpieces were claimed to be samples of Armenian art. The publication in Paris of the book entitled as “Armenian folk tunes” can be mentioned as an example. The lion’s share of the songs in this book was Azerbaijani folk melodies with their original texts,” said the agency.

It can be learnt from the “Encyclopedic Music Dictionary”, published in 1959, that Komitas is presented in the book as “the genius of Armenian music”, who rewrote more than 3,000 songs, and about 500 of them are stored to this day. In fact, Komitas laid the foundation for the Armenian musical plagiarism, turned into a source of references for future Armenian plagiarists and performers.

In order to deepen knowledge of folk music and folklore, and, as time showed, to “develop” future plagiarism, as recently as in Soviet times, in 1925, a special division was established under the Institute of Science and Art in Yerevan, whose task was to collect and study folk music and folklore.

“Contemporary Armenian musicologists and performers continue to walk along the paths of cynical plagiarism laid by Komitas. This time they are using Azerbaijani folk song “Aman Tello”, rewritten by Komitas in notes in the early XX century and the same-name Azerbaijani author song “Aman Tello” (lyrics written by the Azerbaijani poet V.Aziz: “…Bulaqların gözü doldu, İncitmədim özü doldu” (“…The eyes of springs filled up, I didn’t hurt them, they filled up themselves”) etc.) composed in the 1980s by the Azerbaijani composer Kazymi,” said the agency.

“However, the truth is that the song of Kazymi “Aman Tello” and the folk song “Aman Tello”, subjected to plagiarism, are completely different works from a musical point of view. Thus, according to the point of view of the agency’s expert, the People’s Artist of Azerbaijan, Professor Faig Sujatdinov, the song “Aman Tello” (music by Oktay Kazymi, lyrics by Vahid Aziz, performed by Bagirzade) is written in the style of Shur mugham, and the folk song “Aman Tello” is written in the style of Mahur mugham,” said the agency.

“In addition to the Azerbaijani version of the song “Aman Tello”, there are also several folk songs with this name in Turkey. For example, the folk songs entitled as “Tello”, “Tello, Tellocan”, or “Tello Gider Yan Gider” (“Tello walks aloof”), which even by its melody is similar to the Azerbaijani “Aman Tello” song. This is a sign of the common origin of these songs,” said the agency’s statement.

“Moreover, the “Aman Tello” folk song was performed in 1908 by a choral ensemble that included such famous singers as Jabbar Garyagdyoglu, Kechechioglu Mohammed, Meshedi Mohammed Farzaliyev and others,” said the agency.

Hasankhan Madatov, director of the Azerbaijani State Archive of Recording told the agency that this choral performance was recorded on a single disk by the “Varshava sport rekord” studio in 1909. In addition, the Azerbaijani folk song “Aman Tello” also appears in the catalog of the same archive dating back to 1912.

“In the popular speech in the territory of Azerbaijan, as well as in Anatolia, a caressing suffix “o” is added to the end of many names, for example, Telli-Tello, Gullu-Gulo, Nazli-Nazo, etc. There is the word tel- թել – thread, thread, silk in the Armenian vocabulary. No doubt, this word is one of many Turkic influences in Armenian vocabulary. But this word is not used in Armenian vocabulary in such a sense as “strand of hair”, and even more so as the adjective “telly – having a beautiful strand of hair”,” the agency said.

Thus, from the historical, etymological and musicological point of view, it becomes clear that the Azerbaijani folk song “Aman Tello” has nothing to do with the Armenians.

“It couldn’t have happened otherwise, since the “Telli” name does not exist on any list of traditional female Armenian names, which, in fact, is the object of the song’s dedication,” said the agency.