Komitas and Dear Shogher


Soghomon Soghomonian — commonly known as “Komitas” — was an Armenian priest and early pioneer ethnomusicologist. Following his ordination as a priest he studied music in Germany, applying Western musical training to his documentation of thousands of Armenian and Kurdish folk songs, such as the one we see in this wonderful video, “Shoger Jan,” an Armenian folk song that tells the tale of our beloved Shogher who ventured out onto the mountain before snow started to fall but, since snow began, has not returned: “Clouds have gathered, snow isn’t falling, Dear Shogher, The boy hasn’t come back from the mountain, Dear Shogher, Rock in the wind, wave in the wind, Dear Shogher, Snow has appeared from the clouds, Dear Shogher.” In 1915 the Ottoman Empire deported Komitas, and thousands of other Armenian intellectuals, to a prison camp, as part of the Armenian genocide. He suffered a mental breakdown and, sadly, lived in psychiatric hospitals the rest of his life.