ANKARA: `This is Radio Yerevan and you’re listening to Kereme Sayed’

Today’s Zaman, Turkey
April 26 2009

`This is Radio Yerevan and you’re listening to Kereme Sayed’

Kereme Sayed has delivered the news in Kurdish for Radio Yerevan since
the station was founded in 1955.

"Erivan xeberdide, guhderen eziz, naha bibızın deng u
behzen teze" or, "Radio Yerevan presents the news. Dear listeners you
are now going to hear the news." When this cue was broadcast on
shortwave, everyone would turn their ears to the radio to listen to
the latest developments in their banned native language.

Women who could not speak any other language but Kurdish were the most
eager for the news to start.

For 49 years, sometimes with the support of an assistant radio
announcer, Kereme Sayed introduced music and delivered the news in
Kurdish on Radio Yerevan. Sayed has enjoyed the fame that no other
Kurdish radio announcer has had. He is unique. We visited him at Radio
Yerevan, where he has been working since the station was founded in
1955. Sayed, now 70 years old, still works there. His quiet and
sophisticated bearing attracts the respect of others as he walks
through the dimly lit, high-ceilinged corridors of the station.
Although it upsets him that his radio program has been reduced to 30
minutes as a result of financial problems, Sayed said the time
allocated for all programs, including Armenian ones, has been
reduced. Sayed lives in his own world. In fact he is so preoccupied
with other things that he cannot even listen to Kurdish news on what’s
happening around the world. He is not aware that a lot of water had
passed under the bridge in Turkey, where he used to have the largest
audience. He is not aware that there are private radio stations that
broadcast in Kurdish in Turkey, let alone Kurdish programs that are
aired 24 hours a day on a state-owned television channel. He still
wears the medal for best journalist awarded to him by the president of
Armenia Serzh Sarksyan in 2007.

He is not only the oldest Kurdish announcer but also the oldest worker
at the station. The radio employed many people between the 1960s and
1987, a period when radio was very popular and aired an
hour-and-a-half program. Now, Sayed’s son Titale and his daughter
Leyla present 30-minute programs on the radio. Programs that used to
be developed as Soviet Union propaganda now represent the official
news regarding Armenia. The news is compiled, translated into 12
languages and given to the speakers to read on the radio. During the
years when the radio was used as the media outlet for the Communist
Party in the Soviet Union, Kurdish listeners were not very concerned
with news on the Cold War or intercontinental rocket launches. Names
such as Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev and
Mikhail Gorbachov were foreign to Kurds. They waited anxiously until
the hour came when the radio would broadcast folk songs and news in
Kurdish.

Songs that aired on Radio Yerevan became legendary for the Kurdish
audience. Take, for example, the song called "De Miho," which
described the legendary love of Miho and Telli, the daughter of a
Kurdish master. No one knew Fatma Ä°sa who sang the song back
then, but when her voice was transmitted to battery-operated
transistor radios not just in Armenia but in Arbil, Sulaimaniya,
Diyarbakır and other Kurdish-dominated regions, Muslims and
Kurds rejoiced and shared the same sentiments.

Ä°sa, who won the hearts of many with just that one song, was
discovered during a talent search in Kurdish-speaking regions in
1972. She came to Radio Yerevan, sang her song, did one recording and
left, not pursuing a singing career. But that one recording was worth
everything; her song was recorded onto cassettes and played on radios
for many years. Today, Radio Yerevan has a large archive of Kurdish
songs recorded there. According to the station’s General Director Amir
Amirian, the station has one of the most important archives of Kurdish
music, a collection it takes great pride in. More than 15,000 songs
that were recorded at the station are still being stored.

Radio Yerevan has hosted many renowned names such as Mame Ele Etmanki,
Lawike Metini, Mirzike Zaza, DerweÅ?te Evdi, Asliqa Qadir,
Å?ivan Perwer, AyÅ?e Å?an and modern Kurdish music
composer Ciwan Haco.

Although they do not have interactive broadcasts, there are recordings
that contain more than 150 hours of listeners’ requests, and the
letters sent in are countless. What distinguishes Radio Yerevan from
other radio stations such as Radio Urumiye and Baghdad is that it
broadcasts Anatolian-style music containing traditional Turkish
instruments that Kurds in Turkey are more familiar with, whereas other
stations broadcast music played on Middle Eastern and Arab musical
instruments.

26 April 2009, Sunday
SERVET YANATMA YEREVAN

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS