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We Thrive

Written by: Lisa Hagopian / Eric Harabadian |   Directed by: Lisa L Hagopian / Eric Harabadian |  Genre: Documentary
Reviewed by Rick Murrin.

“We thrive” is a documentary about Armenian culture and its relation to the Armenian music scene in Detroit. Well more like the music history as well as what is going on now – anything about music excites me because I also happen to be a musician. Now, to say that I know anything about Armenian music is a huge overstatement. A common theme that runs through this music is the Armenian genocide. 600,000 to 1.5 million people were killed between 1915 to 1922. The musicians interviewed in this film are all very passionate about their work. Music is a healer for them. One of the first musicians to speak tells how the first time he performed, he was so nervous, but within two minutes of playing, that feeling was long gone. This is something I can totally relate to. Armenians have embraced all forms of music. Two twin girls have gone so far as to rename themselves in the name of Rock! How cool is that! Another artist tells of working with the co-writer of “Heart of glass” (by Blondie) before he passed away. It’s the music of the church that seems to resonate the most with the whole community, even though the church itself has had its own divisions over the years.

A lot of Armenian music has a very Middle eastern vibe to it and is easily mistaken as such. This is not the most popular style of music as it reminds them of terrible times. I’m always amazed at communities that work together. They are all usually bound together by tragedy and by the church. It’s a fact that music can heal. Even those with dementia can remember their favorite songs. I also want to note that there are way too many musicians to name in this film. All are from the Detroit area. Some non-Detroit Armenian musicians happen to be System of A Down and, of course, Cher. This is a very informative film about a very cool scene that will live as long as hearts are beating. Great interviews, great editing, and wonderful footage – both past and present. I give this film a 4-star rating. Thank you for reading.

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