Photo by Catanasian
By Diana Hovhannisyan
The mixture of Armenian, Spanish, French and Gypsy cultures gives birth to a unique style of flamenco – Lori Bagdassarian’s flamenco.
French Armenian artist Lori Bagdassarian, known as Lori La Armenia, was born in France, grew up in the atmosphere of Gypsy people, live in Spain and together with her Armenian roots she created her own dancing style.
Photo by Julliard
NEWS.amSTYLE presents an exclusive interview with Lori La Armenia – a talented artist, who is devoted to her favourite job. We are going to speak about her life, career, great passion to flamenco, Armenian roots, future plans and of course, her performances and concerts in motherland.
How did you fall in love with flamenco and why have you chosen Lori La Armenia as a stage name?
"Love at first sight" or love at first "hearing"!
''I grew up into a very rich musical atmosphere but above everything I remember my father listening to Juan Serrano and Paco de Lucia, and I especially remember my Gypsy neighbours playing music all day long. I grew up among them, and they tell me that I started dancing before walking.
But the VOICE. I had a crush on deep singings which are the roots of the whole Flamenco. And dancing is to sing in motion. I went to Andalucía to live and learn from the people of this secular culture for almost ten years.
While I was living and studying in Jerez de la Frontera, one day my Maestra Manuela Carpio hired me into a dance company. She said: "We will call you La Armenia as you carry inside your dance all the strength and sorrow of your people".
Photo by Martinez
Isn't it difficult to express your feelings and emotions in every performance?
Sure! It requires a lot of work. In Flamenco you can never pretend, every single feeling is visible to the eyes of anyone. In matter of feelings... you can't cheat! The secret? The quality and the complicity between the artists. The whole thing is a conversation as singing playing and dancing rimes with each other. It requires a high level of knowledge, concentration and capacity to improvise, as always looking for the "Duende", The spirit of flamenco...looking for the Ôle!!
Is flamenco both work and hobby for you? What do you usually do during your spare time?
There is no difference between stage and floor, hobby and work. Flamenco is much more than music. It is a way of feeling and thinking life, every day art and challenge. Being Flamenco is to know how to "share" a laugh, a meal, to find beauty into ugliness, how to improvise anytime, on the road of the ideal "Compas" (rythm). Anyhow apart dancing, above all I love to cook and joke for my people.
You have worked with different artists. What collaboration will you point out?
I have worked with both very known and unknown people. I would like to point out only one thing: great hhuman exchanges and ggenerosity in improvisation.
Among the most famous i would mention Irina Brook, Guillaume Gallienne, Gerald Papasian, Kendji Girac, Manuela Carpio, Carmen Ledesma, etc.
Photo by Duzert
Tell us about your Armenian roots.
I am 100% Armenian. My roots come from Erzurum, Adiyaman from my Father's side and Konya, Karaman from my mother's side. I am from bboth sides Genocide survivors descend. My grandparents survived and escaped to Beyrouth where both my parents grew up. But the Lebanese Civil War took them to Paris where I was born.
You have visited to Armenia and had an intention to open flamenco dance school here. Have you succeeded?
I visit Armenia as much as I can. I wish I could one day open an authentic flamenco peña (club) where people could play, learn, teach and share.
Photo by P. Briquet
What can you say about flamenco artists in Armenia? Have you worked with them?
Yes sure! I had the chance to meet and work with Hakob Jaghacpanyan and "Los Locos" with whom we became great friends. We share the same passion and this is a lot. Every time I come to Yerevan we play at one of the clubs in Yerevan.
Tell us about your plans. With whom would you like to work in the future?
I just finished ''The BalkAnadalucia'' Tour with Dj Click live band and I am very glad to share musical projects with great flamenco artists for the next year.
From October to January I am with cirque Romanes, an authentic Romanian gypsy circus which is one of the best shows in Paris!
And I am going to be performing and choreographing the D. Tchoukhadjian's Gariné Opera under the direction of Gerald Papasian on November 28th in Paris too!!
Tuesday on November 10th I will be at the Trabendo club for The "Amnesie Internationale" premiere in Paris! Faada Freddy, Tigran Hamasyan, Mathieu Madenian, Dj Click and other artists will be present for this great event to remember and prevent from new Genocides!
Can we expect some changes in your dancing style? Maybe some mixes typical to other cultures?
My dancing style is always very influenced by the artists I meet and the places where I live. Although I have my own style which is deeply gypsy influenced with a natural Armenian touch. I have been exploring different kind of musical and acting forms through my career (hip hop, electro, native American, Balkan music). These experiments always make me to get closer to my own nature and increase in creativity and choreographic research.
Photo by Ondrejko
When do you intend to come to Armenia again and give a concert for your Armenian fans?
The sooner, the better. I have many projects over Europe until July. Why not after that? I heard of the come back festival that calls foreign Armenian artists to present their work. Why not?
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