“Hello, Armenia”-Syrian-Armenian Raffi conveyed new air to club life in Yerevan

If you love the club life, then surely you have heard of Raffi-a Syrian-Armenian who plays jazz and blues with percussions and gives a new and unique impetus to the night with his energy. Raffi has played at several clubs in Yerevan and says club life in Yerevan is different. Here he can play any kind and any genre of music.

Raffi had dreamed of the life in Yerevan and living here for a long time. The reason was not only his love for the homeland, but also the fact that he spent his years as a young man and student in Yerevan. He confesses that that was the most brilliant period in his life. “When you are carefree and everything is brilliant and beautiful, you feel strong and confident that you can overcome all difficulties,” he says, adding that Yerevan stayed in his memories as such.

Raffi first visited Yerevan to become an engineer in 1987. He studied, but Raffi confesses that his love for music was greater and that he was also studying at the Jazz College of the Youth Palace. Whereas in Yerevan playing music was just a hobby, in Aleppo it also turned into a business. Raffi was a member of several bands in Aleppo and would mainly play Armenian and patriotic songs. Raffi says he and the bands would only earn money by playing at restaurants and would play at churches, schools and culture clubs for free since that was the path that they had chosen for carrying out charity acts.

When he was mature, he visited Yerevan twice. After each visit, he would decide to move with his family, buy a house and settle next time. “Coming to Armenia wasn’t the way that I had dreamed of coming. We escaped the war. Leaving Aleppo in that period was difficult. Our friends died, and we lost our neighbors. Aleppo is my hometown. I am used to the walls, the air and the atmosphere there. Leaving Aleppo during the war was very difficult,” Raffi says, adding that he left almost everything in Syria. His parents, as well as his brother and his family are in Syria. According to Raffi, his wife and children adapted to the life in Yerevan quickly, and his wife loved the rosy city. However, the hard part was still ahead. Unlike Aleppo, the music industry in Yerevan is more advanced and there is a lot of competition, and one needs to work endlessly in order to have his or her place under the sun.

Sounds of Art-this is the name of the band that Raffi plays with. The five-member band rehearses in the small philharmonic concert hall named after Arno Babajanyan. They have given concerts and are now thinking about going big. Besides playing for the band, Raffi also plays at Stop Club. He says this helps him saturate his spiritual appetite. The audiences are always good, kind and tasteful. The band chooses its songs and performs them with love and motivation.

Raffi says he left his house, riches and memories in Aleppo, but found the European life in Yerevan. He says he had been seeking the “mix” of these two for years and adds that the existence of one seems pointless without the other. Raffi isn’t thinking about the future. He doesn’t answer any questions about the future and says he doesn’t know what will happen and how it will happen. Raffi says he didn’t used to be so uncertain. He would always make plans and knew what was going to happen next. However, the war changed a lot of things in his life as well. “We survived, but we could have died. When you sleep and don’t know if you will wake up in the morning or not, your life changes a lot. You no longer think about the distant future. War changes a person’s mindset, behavior and even personality. I don’t know what the future will be like,” Raffi says, adding that his children haven’t made a final decision either. He asked them once and didn’t get a decent response. Raffi says he will ask again when he has clearly made a decision about the future.


Photo by Tatev Duryan


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