Armenian News Network / Groong
The Critical Corner
September 20, 2020
By Bedros Afeyan
Rapping Under Fire is a 27-minute documentary shot in Mardagerd, Artsakh. A glorious fusion of our history, Lin Manuel Miranda, now reincarnated through the red curly stormy hair of a director’s playful vision which is that of the overabundantly talented Ms. Taleen Babayan.
The central characters of this epic poem to the Armenian mountainous spirit are three young men Spartak Osipyan, Valeri Ghazaryan and Erik Pogosyan. They comprise the Rap Group ‘Orinag,’ which means sample or example or exemplary sample, or a lawful manifestation.
They are great, as great as their mountains, as deep as their love of country as is their irreverent embracing of the ethos of Hamilton, or Rap, rapid fire protest songs, as their lead troublemaker says, we do not sing about things we like. We sing about things we do not like so as to change them.
Social protest, self-awareness, not lying to oneself through patriotic mumbo jumbo, this generation of rappers is immune to all that. They want a better future for their kids, safety, respite from Azeri intermittent violence, tanks rolling in, their music killed.
They use self-made, plywood coffins to dramatize the dire straits that hang their fates in crosses they bare open in their rap songs. They do not sugar coat their reality. But they smile, laugh, barbecue and smoke, strut, push each other around and hop along this rocky, fertile road, Artsakh, they call a homeland.
This film is free and open to the public. If you'd like to make a donation that will benefit the Armenian Wounded Heroes Fund, the Martakert Cultural Center and the filming of future productions, please visit www.gf.me/u/yy4d9v.
Taleen Babayan knows how to bring out the best in these men. The men themselves are helping the next generation of rappers and that is recorded in this documentary as well. Young girls of 14 rapping their protest puns and plights, arm thrusts, sways, taunts, in unison, in groups and shuffles that spell a better future in the blue sky of demands.
See this documentary! Modern methods for an ancient people narrating styles and strands from Sayat Nova, the troubadour, We Are Our mountains, slogan of the fighting troupes and Taleen and her team, Sebu Simonian narrating in English, Artur Petrosyan editing, all making up the creative family that is Boundaryless Productions. They deserve much credit and applause.
Dance along with their songs. See the world from their point of view. Walk a mile in their shoes. Kiss their foreheads and shake their fists at injustice that must end.
Dr. Bedros Afeyan is a theoretical physicist who works and lives in the Bay area with his wife, Marine.
He writes in Armenian and in English and also paints and sculpts.
He is the current editor of The Literary Groong at https://groong.org/tlg/
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