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Gousan Sheram


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#1 Arpa

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Posted 04 February 2002 - 06:10 PM

Welcome!
Dear Sheram,
I'm sure it would be safe to assume that you adopted your pen name from
the famous Armenian troubadour Sheram Gousan formerly known as Ashough Sheram. Please read on.
Sheram the Armenian poet, composer, story teller and all around entertainer was born in Gyumri 1857 Grigor Talyan and died in Erevan in 1938. He is considered the founder of modern Armenian folk art of the troubadour. He was orphaned at the age of 10 and apprenticed as a carpenter, in a this may have been the beginning of his musical career as as a carpenter he learned the fine art of making musical instruments ( the saz in particular) and learned to play them. As a musician, scomposer/singer he traveled extensively including places like Baku, Tiflis, Istanbul and many other Armenian colonies. His songs are very popular and sung even today.

Why did I call him Gousan Sheram and not Ashough Sheram as he was known during his time. I have not been able to learn why he chose the Sheram pen name except that my guess would be that he considered himself a
composer, a weaver in a sense as the word "sheram" in Armenian refers to
the silk worm which in its own right is a composer of sorts.

The word "sheram", even if a part of our official lexicon for a long time seems to be an accidental error as the original form was meant to be "sheras". It seems that sometime along the way someone mistook the
letter "s" (it looks like the Latin "u") and interpreted it as the
letter "m" (it looks like the "u" with extended right arm). "sheras" is
from the Greek for "silk" "seres", "seolos" from the Latin "sericus" to
mean fabric.

As to "ashough" as in Ashough Sheram, Ashough Jivani and others. A
short time ago someone on this forum was highly scandalized and
frustrated that most Armenian words and names always point to
Persian/Pahlavi and other alien sources. So here is an item to warm
your heart. Since 1970 use of the word "ashough" has been discouraged and
instead the use of "gousan" has been encouraged. I didn't know this but
it seems about almost a 100 years ago there has been a hot debate about
the use of the word "ashough" and as a result Hrachya A. has decided to
look into the matter. Some of us have maintained that even though at
times the origin of words may point to other languages it is altogether
possible that they may have been first loaned out and eventually loaned
back in after a period of cultural darkness, so to speak. What Ajarian
has unearthed may be a confirmation of this postulate. Let us first
dismiss the word "ashough" as it is definitely of foreign origin. It is
a variation of the Arabic word "asheq" meaning "lover", applied to the
poet/singer it simply points to the fact that young lovers would grab
the saz/tar or similar instrument and serenade their sweethearts. Hence
the "ashough/lover" connection. It has been recommended that the word
"gousan" replace "ashough". Here is why. As mentioned above, for a long
time we had assumed that "gousan/gusan" was a Persian word from "kusan".
One reason for this confusion is that even now the Persians do use the
word to mean the same. Without going too much into technicalities, at
closer look at the spelling of the words in both Persian "kusan" and
Armenian "gousan" one would assume that we would also spell it like the
Persian, i.e. :"kusan" but we don't, we spell it as "gusan"(with the third
letter of Ayb Ben Gim). The reason the Persians spell it with the letter
K or Q is due to the inadequacy of the Arabic script. It was originally
meant to be spelled with the letter "kaf" with a diacritical modifying mark to sound as "gaf". There is no evidence to point that this was a native Persian word where there is ample evidence that they loaned it from the Armenian. However the original Armenian word was not merely "gusan" it
was a bit longer and as in many other cases it was shortened just as we
don't say "jart-ar-asan"(eloquent/orator), we say "jartasan". As to the sound of the o v ou it is again due to the inadequacy of the Persian script where the letter "wow/vav" may sound as o or ou depending on the context.

Gusan or more correctly "gosan" is a native Armenian word somewhat
abbreviated from the original "govasan" that means composer/redacter of
"govasanq", that is how the early
vipasan/narrator/poet/singer/musician/troubadours were known which
means an odist, a composer of words of praise and endearment.

#2 MosJan

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Posted 05 February 2002 - 11:56 AM

Arpa jan Thank you -

I guess it's time for Sheram to teal us the story, on how he got this name or Nick name

MOvses

#3 Sheram Comfort

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 02:19 AM

Dear Arpa,

Thank you for the welcome and for the explanantion of my nickname. Just one quick word about the Ashough and Gousan differences: I was always told that one of the names, either Ashough or Gousan, was used if the body of work that that troubador/poet dealt with was exclusively concerned with love. What is funny is that depending on who told me over the years, it would change: someone would say that the Ashoughs were the «Love» poets, and later, someone else would claim that it was in fact the Gousans! So, it is nice to finally have some clarity, at last!

Now, to honour Movses's request, let me share with you how I got my nickname, for I did not choose it, it was given to me.

Let me first begin by saying that I am American born, with my grandparents being Russian and Irish (with a little Hungarian in there, as well). In short, I am definately not Armenian looking! You will soon see why this is an important detail...

Some important background: While looking for duduk recordings during my freshman year at university, I became invloved with the first people to play Armenian traditional music in France (ensemble Jean-Pierre (Bedros) Nergararian in Paris). I bought an instrument, took lessons from the duduk player in the group (Philippe Chabazian), and went to rehearsals just to hear and be around the music. For the next 3 months I practiced at home (with spontaneous, weekly visits by Philippe!) and kept going to the rehearsals just to listen. Then, one night, Bedros stopped one of the rehearsals and told me that Philippe had mentioned to him that I was coming along fine and he then asked me to come up and play damkash with the ensemble. I was terrified, but I joined them, and I played duduk with the group for the next 5 years until I finished my degree and came back to the US.

So, here's the naming story: Two years after I started playing with the group, a very famous duduk player come to town and we (the ensemble) of course made a kef in this honour. It was Abarantzi Valod (who played solo duduk with the Bedagan national ensemble) and it was my first time seeing and hearing a true Varbeti dudukahar from Armenia- this was one of my teachers idols... So, we are at the restaurant in a small seperate room seated at this long table full of people and just overflowing with food and drinks. Valodia is at the head of the table talking and toasting everyone, and I am at the far end of the table seated next to Philippe.
At some point, Valod asks Bedros to play something and everyone gets out their instruments, including me with my duduk for the damkash... So, the whole group plays one tune that Philippe plays duduk on (with me playing the dam that makes two duduks). Everyone listens and toasts to the ensemble when it's over, nothing special. Then, we start to play another tune, but this time Philippe plays shvi, and I of course continue to play the damkash on my duduk. This time, in the middle of the tune, Valod stops talking and looks down the table to see where this duduk/damkash is coming from now that Philippe (the only wind player in the group that Valod knew of) is playing the shvi! He finally picks me out at the end of the table and his eyes practically jump out of his head!
As soon as the song is over, he looks at me and says to Bedros: «Is he Armenian» and Bedros says: «No, he's an American»...Then Valod says to the whole table: «From where does an American learn to play damkash on a duduk! No one is going to believe me back home! Come here and take a picture with me and let's play together!» So, I go up to the head of the table and sit down next to him. Terrified, I tell him that I have only just begun to play and as I am about to go on with my excuses, he just tells me to play five fingers and starts playing! When we were done, he asks me «What is your name?», and I tell him «Shea». He says, «Shea..., no, with you playing the Armenian duduk like that, your need an Armenian name, you're now 'Sheram'» and he then dabs some vodka on my forehead and baptises me with my nickname! After that, he toasted my parents for having had me, and I became Sheram to the Armenians from that moment on.

Anyhow, that's why I use the name Sheram in the forum. Once again, I'd like to thank you for your explanation on the origins of my nickname.

I hope you are well,

Sheram

#4 Arpa

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Posted 06 February 2002 - 08:27 AM

"Dear Arpa,

Thank you for the welcome and for the explanantion of my nickname. Just one quick word about the Ashough and Gousan differences: I was always told that one of the names, either Ashough or Gousan, was used if the body of work that that troubador/poet dealt with was exclusively concerned with love. What is funny is that depending on who told me over the years, it would change: someone would say that the Ashoughs were the «Love» poets, and later, someone else would claim that it was in fact the Gousans! So, it is nice to finally have some clarity, at last!"
=========
Dear Sheran,
Welcome, welcome again!!
=========
"Now, to honour Movses's request, let me share with you how I got my nickname, for I did not choose it, it was given to me.
Let me first begin by saying that I am American born, with my grandparents being Russian and Irish (with a little Hungarian in there, as well). In short, I am definately not Armenian looking! You will soon see why this is an important detail..."
=====
For shame!!! For shame!!!
You mean you are a mongrel among this pure blooded Armenians?
Sometimes I would rather have a "mongrel" (a blond beast) rather than some who claim to be pure.
WE LOVE YOU!!
Now, if I say "I am GREEN with jealousy", will that make me an Irishman?
I have a duduk but I never learned to play it. I congratulate you.
Your story about your "baptism" is one for the books. It is beautiful.
=============
"Anyhow, that's why I use the name Sheram in the forum. Once again, I'd like to thank you for your explanation on the origins of my nickname."
I hope you are well,
Sheram "
========
Very well, thank you, and I wish the same to you.
As to your question about the fine distinction of ashough and gousan;
I must again thank you for bringing it up. Even though, in my original post I may have touched upon it in passing, I must cofess that the the fine point did elude me. I was engrossed in the origin of the words, where as it may be already be self explanatory, it totally escaped me that the "lover" aspect was actually in the etymology of the word(s).
In my previous post I indicated that "ashough" is from the Arabic " 'asheq" (also used in many languages of the reginon in the same sense) which simply means "lover/smitten with love" and that "gousan" is a contraction of a purely compound Armenian word composed of "gov(el)" (to praise) and "asan" (recitator), it becomes obvious that your friends were right to make the distinction that an ashough is a composer of love poems while the gousan is a composer and recitator of "praise/ode to historical heroes", a story teller.
Is there a distinction in the English (Latin)like a "serenator" and a "recitator"?
I also mentioned that there has been a hot debate whether to drop "ashough" as it is an alien loan word, while "gousan" is purely Armenian, this distinction makes it a difficult choice. While the former refers to the praise of love and infatuation of the present and the latter to the praise of past or present heroes of epic proportions???
I ask more questions than answer them
You be the judge!

#5 SAS

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Posted 07 February 2002 - 02:44 AM

Arpa,

slavonnern unen "guslya" ( bambiri nman gortsiq ), isk "guslyar"` ayd gortsiq@ nvagoghn e:

Guslyar-nern el gusanneri nman taparum ein u irenc vep@ hyusum ancats-gnacats oreri u vipakan herosneri masin:

Guce inch-vor aveli xor, naxnakan-vaghnjakan kap ka "GUSani" yev "GUSlyari" mej?

Sa lok sosk harc e?
____

SAS

#6 MosJan

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:25 PM

Ձախից՝ Աշուղներ Ջամալի, Ջիվանի, Շերամ
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#7 MosJan

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 01:27 PM

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