The Water Has Found its Crack
Instrumentation: Three Sopranos, Percussion, Violin, Viola, and Cello
I wrote The Water Has Found its Crack while living in Yerevan, Armenia for nine months. The title is a reference to an anecdote shared by Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink about a French-Armenian woman who died while visiting the village of her youth in Turkey. When the question of where she should be buried arose, a man from the village responded “Let her be buried here...the water has found its crack.” It is a story of Armenians longing to be reunited with their indigenous land, not to take it but, in Dink’s words, “to come and be buried under it.” This story reflected questions that Armenians of the diaspora, myself included, have about our idea of our “homeland” as I began my time in Armenia.
Like many Armenians of the diaspora, my family was displaced from Western Armenia during the 1915 genocide, a place where most of the few remaining traces of Armenian life lay in ruins. So, when, as I did, Armenians around the world respond to the call that many of us feel to “return” to our homeland, we go to Eastern Armenia, the modern Republic of Armenia, where Armenian culture continues to thrive even if it differs from the one many of our families know in exile. These thoughts remained in my mind as I tried to answer the question of what is Armenian music and how my own music as a diasporan fits into it.
Throughout my time in Armenia, I absorbed as much Armenian music as I could and, in this piece, let it flow out through my own music, reclaiming my lost cultural heritage. I wove together a text from fragments about water, a recurring theme, in Armenian folk songs. This setting of the Armenian language, a first for me, coincided with my learning of the Armenian language which had been lost in my family through three generations of assimilation in America. I hope that this piece will at least start to answer my questions about where my music fits in the varied category of Armenian music. After nine months in Armenia, I’ve learned a lot not only about Armenianness, but also my place in it. I’m now well on my journey of the water finding its crack.
Read more about the piece on I Care if You Listen: "5 Questions to Joseph Bohigian (composer-performer)"
Listen to Joseph’s interview about the piece on the Ajam Media Collective Podcast.
Watch Joseph's presentation on The Water Has Found its Crack at the Fresno State Armenian Studies Program Lecture Series.