Sirusho's First Rehearsal on Eurovision Stage on YouTube

Watch the Armenian participant for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, Sirusho, performing the song “Qele Qele” during her first rehearsal on the official Eurovision stage in Belgrade.
Meanwhile the Boycott blog has removed the text of boycott call, where it was suggesting the Armenian diaspora to boycott the Eurovision song contest and instead of spending money on SMS-ing Eurovision, to donate that money to the families of the 10 people who died in the aftermath of the March 1 violence in Yerevan. The blog says the text has been removed to avoid extremist points of views, however, the plans to boycott Sirusho are still underway.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Boycott – shmoycott! She’s very cute.

  2. …and speaks English very well! 🙂

  3. Is it the dance rehearsal or the proper live-singing rehearsal? I’m thinking the former and want to hear her sing live as some have raised concerns about hitting the high notes.
    Regardless, and although it might not be a very popular thing to say, she does come across as very sweet despite some rumors circulated to the contrary.
    I hate Eurovision, although the quality has improved since the entrance of the top stars from the countries of the former Soviet Union, and while I hope people vote for who they like the most, good luck to Sirusho.
    Wow, never thought I’d ever say that. 🙂

  4. R, yeah… she’s lovely 🙂

  5. By the way – for those who don’t want to Google search, Sirusho has her own website: and there’s a Wikipedia entry on her now:
    Onnik – they’ve used your photo without credit!!! I just complained, but it looks weird.

  6. […] The Armenian Observer posts video of Armenia’s entry into the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, Sirusho, rehearsing in Belgrade. Although there have been some concerns whether the song is too demanding to sing live, the young singer comes across very well in the clip. […]

  7. No, no. They asked permission. If you click through the credit is on a page for the image along with text from my email message allowing its use. Wikipedia is very fussy about copyright issues and has its own standards for open-sourcing but does also check on whether permission is granted which it was. As I don’t know how to respond can you remove that complaint?

  8. Observer, Sirusho lived in Canada when she was younger. Her English is fluent.

  9. Indeed, she is an excellent representative for Armenia. Let’s hope she wins. I could care less about Eurovision, but agree that lots think highly of it…so be it.
    Go Sirusho!

  10. she is lovely and pleasant alright, she has a wonderful voice and is fluent in English alright but that dancing of hers and the stage skills of hers are at the lowest level I have ever seen. That is just terrible staging out there. Is that what she will be wearing? Is that the moves that she will be doing? That walk across the stage was so heavy and unnatural that I had hard time believing that a lovely girl like her could do that. Hopefully she will improve in this department, otherwise the truth is that no pop singer is judged by his or her singing skills. That usually works only for opera singers and the likes. She really urgently needs dancing classes.
    Having said this however, I was pleasantly surprised by her 2005 album. Just wonderful stuff, a lot of forgotten Armenian tunes, and I might even get it soon.

  11. amota amot, nersum irrar utum enk drsum mek azg enk.
    Mer nerkin harcere evrovision ov chenk voroshelu.

  12. I still dont understand what’s behind the Arabo-turkish and mugam tendencies in the Armenia Eurovision songs? No wonder the Turks give high votes. The sincerely like it.
    Cant we do better?
    I think it should be boycotted only to act as a wakeup call to change the music.
    On the other hand who cares, Eurovision is a big joke.

  13. Update information.

  14. HN, I’ve yet to hear an Armenian pop song that doesn’t involve such tendencies. Maybe this is because “pure” Armenian music (if there is such a thing with the exception of Komitas and a few others) is not really to translate into something you can dance to. Besides, no culture is pure and many borrow from others. And then we can also get into the argument of Eastern versus Western Armenian traditional music.
    The latter obviously has more elements of the East in it, but until someone can actually define Armenian pop music and create a new sound, Armenian music either sounds Western or Middle Eastern. Perhaps that’s a sign of what Armenia is as a geographic entity, I don’t know. Besides, fusion is not a bad thing — all nations do it — and the secret is to make it similar but also different at the same time.
    Given our neighbors that would make sense as well, and to be honest, this song has achieved that. Incidentally, the composer of the song is apparently a Canadian-Armenian DJ, Der Hova, who is also a blogger. Perhaps he can weigh in on the argument although I know he’s already posted about attempts to make Armenian pop music sound more “Armenian.” I guess one main issue is first of all define what is “Armenian” away from church choirs, lamenting duduks and Komitas or Sayat Nova (both of which were also active in other national folk genres).
    None of those, however, are particularly good tunes to dance to and anyway, even Armenian folk songs from specific regions of Turkey have their overlaps in Turkish and Kurdish. Incidentally, one visiting ethnomusicologist says that traditional Armenian music has more similarities to Kurdish than anything else, but one supposes the Turkish and Persian influences will also be there as well. And vice-versa.

  15. I could never understand the whole fuss about Eurovision.
    It’s a stupid show, the music sucks, and usually the worse the performer
    the more their chances.
    So I am equally indifferent both to Sirusho and to the boycotte.

  16. Onnik
    Thera re many Armenins who tried to bring the Armenian folk music to the music standards or whatever you wont to call of their times.
    Examples are Komitas, Aram Khachatryan, Arno Babajanian.
    It seems that this hasnt been done for the Eurovision level or pop songs. the only way to make this happen is to reject this kind of Rabbish and that’s trhough boycotting it.
    Therefore boycotting this song will be a wakeup call to produce a higher level songs.
    Well anless the majority of the Armenian society likes the turkoArabic junk.
    There is nothing wrong in likeing that crap its a metter of taste but then these same people should stop their empty anti-turkish and nationalistic rherotics.

  17. According Radio Liberty, Sirusho, with Dima Bilan (Russia) and Helena Tomashevich (Serbia), is among 3 favorits in William Hill bucmakers office rates.

  18. HN,
    Lighten up dude. It’s pop music. By definition its ‘popular’ and that can mean a lot of influences.
    Talk of a boycott ‘to produce a higher level of songs’ is ludicrous.

  19. R
    If you like to be perceived as a turkic nation in europe than i have no argument againts you.
    Also don’t patronise.

  20. Onnik, Have you heard Khachaturyan’s Spartacus or Gayane ballets? You should do that, it is amazing dancing music, and I suppose it should be possible to turn it into a pop music.
    But Khachaturyan or Babajanyan aren’t Armenian composers for me. Babajanyan was more like a soviet pop composer, and Khachaturyan was the greatest composer ever who understood the beauty of folk music and incorporated that into classical music. Because of this he is a world composer not Armenian. True, some of his music is based on the regional folk tunes and etc, but he should be viewed as a world composer not an Armenian composer. Common guys, there has never been a better waltz than Masquerade and there has never been a more popular classical music played by basically everyone, rock musicians, classical musicians, and etc, as Sabre Dance. He is a world treasure that occupies a special place in our culture.
    I think the talk about Armenian music is pretty much nonsense. Even Khachaturyan’s music, from the same Spartacus or Gayane are not typical Armenian tunes but are regional (as many experts claim). I don’t have much time to write more here, but the thing is that all the people of the region share a common base culture and all of them have their own strings attached to this base culture. Turkey, shouldn’t be viewed as an enemy. It is actually because of Turkey that the culture of the region became more unified and a lot of things like Armenian coffee, mostly known as Turkish coffee these days, spread to the west. There are accounts that Turkish people did nothing but to take the good things of this or that minority and turn it into something better (this is more visible in the food culture of the region). Now, we couldn’t do that they could so we better make piece with it and instead use the amount of advertising that Turks did for us. There is not a single western country that doesn’t know what shish kabab is, so instead of slamming Turkey for stealing our culture lets use their advertisement and, in the case of Eurivision, support to advance our own culture.
    Sorry had no time for a shorter post.

  21. there is need for many perspectives, not everything (and usually nothing) is an either/or proposition. a boycott like this can be a healthy addition and can spark discussion about what seems to be the total dissipation of Armenian culture. on the other hand, this is pop and doesn’t claim to be the only choice of Armenian music now and forever.
    grigor, be careful….you sound like a traitor and turkophile and other ridiculous shite. oh wait, that only counts when talking about reasonable approaches to foreign policy.

  22. The Turkish music is much more diverse than what most of us think. The German-Turkish director Fatih Akin captures and presents this diversity pretty well in his 2005 movie/documentary “Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul”, that I would strongly recommend.
    I think we better stop defining ourselves by who we are NOT or who we would NOT want to be (Turks, Kurds, Russians, Arabs, etc. – unfortunately the list is pretty long), and be a little bit less arrogant towards other people. For most of its history, Armenia has been a bridge between various cultures and traditions, and has assimilated various influences. This can be a source of cultural enrichment if we accept and support diversity in artistic and cultural life. And spend our energy on promoting creative projects than on boycotting this and that.

  23. Rabiz music is very original too. The word itself originates from (rabis – in russian “rabocheye iskustvo”), but armenian street and garage bands and singers have made it into a whole new style! Those who ignore and reject it, should also reject, pop, rock, rock-n-roll. I’m not a big fan of rabiz music but I think it has a good quality artists and creators. The Armenian pop during soviet times was very jazzy and russian pop styled, today it has evolved into something new capturing all existing movements, including rabiz.
    Sayat Nova could be the best rabiz artist of his epoque since he was doing a mellange of Armenian, Georgian, Turkish, Arabic and Persian music. So be little bit less categoric on your judgments. When it comes to the Turkish music, it was itself influenced very much by Persian, Arabic, Greek, Armenian music. And even today the Turkish musical scene is still eveolving. You cannot categorize the Armenian music as Turkish. It is not ;))) But you can always find inter-influences and similarities. It’s normal we live in the same region! And there is nothing to be ashamed of.
    What really bugs me is when I hear Armenians involved into political crap calling for boycotting Sirusho because she is related to the ruling power. How stupid can you be! By boycotting Sirusho, you boycott Armenia! And shoot a bullet into your own feet! When it comes to a shame. This kind of calls are shameful for me. You can dislike Sirusho, but calling for a boycott is a pretty stupid act!

  24. By the way, I have watched Sirusho’s second rehearsal clip on youtube and I can tell that she was stunning and spectacular. She can make it! I really like her performance. You should have seen the tape. The girl just nailed it. Don’t forget she’s young just 21 years old and by far one of the most self-confident and smart girls on the Armenian pop scene. She has a voice, composing talent and she’s beautiful on top of it! Vote massively for her. For once we have an excellent entry to be proud of. Eurovision 2009 in Yerevan is doable! Get united to bring this fabulours event to Armenia and make our homeland know around the world. We will be happy to host all 43 countries and we can make a great show 😉

  25. miayn mi verchin xosq, sranic heto, el chem anhangestacni dzez, lav kliner vor hayastane ir barcr dzaynere tar fransian, portugalian kam el norvegiain, bayc voch te rusastanin, ukrainain kam hunastanin, iranq es tari bolore linelu en sirusho amena canr mrcakicnere, yev yerb hayastane iranc talis e 12, 10 kam 8, voncvor sirushoic et ketere ichacni, etenc ban mi areq! Tveq dzer dzaynere francian kam hollandin kam belgian, iranq mez misht barcr tver en talis, bayc iranc krelu shansere kich en kan rusneri, huyneri, serberi kam ukranacineri, duq karcum eq, inchpes serbian haxtec evrotesile, chishta lav yerk unein, bayc koxkic el iranq haxtelu strategia unein, U haxtecin! Apren iranq!

  26. Grigor,
    I guess when I was referring to dance I meant in a club and not in a ballet. However, while Khachaturian isn’t really my thing (too triumphant and emotive whereas I prefer “darker” classical music), I agree with you about Masquerade. It is quite excellent.
    Anyway, I’ve yet to hear an Armenian pop sung that can be descibed as more “Armenian” than “Eastern” without it sounding like something traditional. Rock and jazz as genres are perhaps something different, however, as different ethnic melodies are often incorporated.
    BTW: I have to admit that Armenoids did something interesting with some of their tracks. However, while that successfully incorporated Armenian folk melodies, they went and spoilt it with some annoying and badly sung rap in English.
    So, I suppose it is possible to produce “Armenian pop music,” but it’s not easy. Meanwhile, there’s no doubt that Eastern-sounding pop music is better for the young things to dance to, and is popular in Europe.
    Indeed, Western pop stars will incorporate it too, but nobody condemns them for it.
    I suppose the reason people either like it or dislike it therefore is based on the shared history of the region — in both good and bad respects. Still, I think we should all understand that the culture of this region often overlaps and that it’s probably natural all the countries have similarities and also assimilated.
    Is there anything such as a “pure” contemporary culture anywhere? Personally, I doubt it, although its true that Armenian contemporary pop music is still trying to shape its identity. Regardless, good luck to Sirusho. I think she looks and sounds a great cultural ambassador for Armenia.a

  27. […] entry into the Eurovision Song Contest, Sirusho, is fast becoming a major talking point for many online and off — and with good reason. The 21-year-old singing Qele Qele is one of the favorites to […]

  28. Hmmm, I’ve now heard the full song — I had only listed to the first 30 seconds before as pop music is also not my thing — and I have to take back what I said. I think the song has done a good job of incorporating [Armenian] folk melodies while resisting the temptation to turn into something sounding like a Tarkan song which Andre’s entry did. Not that this would be bad as Tarkan is an excellent example of ethnic-pop fusion.
    Anyway, I wouldn’t say the song sounds “Turkish” although there is an obvious Eastern-feel to the song. However, the Armenian influence is also there. Great job, and yeah, I’m sure it will go down very well indeed in Europe. I dare say Sirusho now stands a very good chance of having success in the international music scene as well. Great news for Armenia, I think, and I prefer her over Andre and Haiko in representing the country abroad.

  29. You know, I am not trying to be a pain on the neck but is it just me or others agree too. She is just too stationary for a song of that temper. I was imagining that they would rock the stage with that kind of tempo song. But all she did was to turn her head around, did that walk across the stage, and there was one really cool moment when she walked towards backstage while the guys sort of remained detached from her. That was cool I think.
    I admit that the second rehearsal is a winner because the Eurovison has low quality anyway, but the staging is just not good. She has improved a lot over the first rehearsal and her moves are lighter and more natural, but she just stands there in a Tina Turner position for the whole time except those few walks she does and just moves her head around and shakes her you know what. I think they could of done much better with staging this song. I for one find the guys completely useless, I mean common rock that stage.
    I also don’t want to create the impression as if I adore pop music, I love everything but my passion is a classical music. I never understood the talk that Armenians tend to do; oh that song isn’t Armenian and etc. This song sounds more Armenians to me then many things I heard before, and I too see no shame in the fact that we have a similar culture as other countries of the region. As soon as we make peace with this, we will start having a much better cultural development. And you know I also never understood those who think Eurovison sacks. Common guys, it is fun, have fun, relax, and etc. There are many pretty ladies singing there as well, so you know ease off and just relax, it will be good for you. You cannot find reason in anything. There is no point in soccer is there? But we all love it, no?
    On Onnik’s point. No I don’t think there is a pure culture anymore. In fact, isn’t that what 21st century is all about? Well, maybe it is an exaggeration but globalization and etc are themes these days, no?

  30. Did you know that both the Georgian song and the Ukrainian song was written by an Armenian? I was surprised.

  31. Karen Kavaleryan is the name. Just the lyrics not the music.

  32. Grigor, your comments about the stage performance have been echoed by some non-Armenian Eurovision bloggers. Hopefully, that will change as the main event draws closer and I say that as someone who normally doesn’t wave the flag in such events and who doesn’t listen to pop music either. However, although I was unimpressed by Armenia’s past entries in Eurovision, I really think Sirusho is a more deserving artist and wish her well.

  33. La musica de qele tiene fuerza. Es una luz encendida al exito.
    Adelante Sirusho y fuerza.
    Music unite people,therefore i celebrate the influences we have,if they are well used.
    I also understand,that as actually a small country,using this influences,we are able to confuse certain countries of our real identity and culture.
    Despite all this ,Sirusho will be receiving a good position.

  34. ASVATZ Ocni Sirushon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. BTW: Although slammed by Eurovision pundits, I really like the Azerbaijani entry.
    Not keen on the Georgian entry.

  36. i really like sirusho and her song qele qele its so rytmic and can make the peoples happy

  37. Sirusho rocked the stage, made the world spin and took everyone captive with her charm, beauty and performance. At only 21, she has the grace of Audrey Hepburn, the charm of Anna Pavlova and the voice that commands respect wherever she is and the stage of Eurovision 2008 is definitely no exception. She also wrote her own song.
    As for the other contestants, some of them definitely seemed like they were stuck in a time warp with their appearance and performance. In fact I had to look at the screen twice to confirm that it was Eurovision 2008 and not 1988.
    Sirusho could very well finish at #1.

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