ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W,)—On Jan. 21, popular Armenian singer André Hovnanyan—known by the mononym “Andre”—performed at the TİM Maslak Show Center in Istanbul with Turkish-Armenian singer Sibil (Pektorosoglu). The concert was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Armenian Vardanants Church and the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Merametdjian School in Istanbul’s Feriköy district.
The collaboration between the artists began a year and a half ago in the same city, where André met Sibil. It was a meeting of chance—“I was in Greece at the time, and decided to go to Istanbul. We were acquainted with each other before, but finally met there, and have become great friends,” André told the Armenian Weekly in an interview. Later that year, the friends became a duo in the “We and We” (“Menq u Menq”) project in Yerevan, singing eight songs together.
The concert in Istanbul featured a medley of traditional Armenian tunes, as well as songs from the singers’ own repertoires. “With nearly 30 musicians on stage performing alongside us, great lighting, beautiful stage design, and a wonderful audience, the concert could not have gone better,” André explained. Sibil’s impression of the event is just as positive. “After making my album, ‘Sibil,’ this was to be my first huge concert. I had next to me the most wonderful singer—and most importantly, the most wonderful man. In any case, we were both very happy with the concert,” she said in an interview with the Weekly.
The success of the show has prompted invitations from diasporans in New York and France for another joint performance. Their immediate hope, however, is to perform in Yerevan and Artsakh, says André.
One of the most popular singers in Armenia, André is now splitting his time as producer of the Armenian version of “The X Factor” television series and recording his sixth album, for which there will be a new music video soon, he says. The singer represented Armenia in the nation’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, with his song, “Without Your Love”; its eight place finish secured Armenia’s automatic qualification into the finals the following year. His performance also garnered many new fans, especially among the diasporan community. “I have always felt the love and warmth from the diaspora. I am lucky that I have always had a following among the community,” he said.
Sibil’s venture into singing began at an early age, as a choir singer in an Armenian church in her native Turkey. She released her self-titled CD, featuring all Armenian songs, in 2010. She broke new ground by becoming the first singer to air a music video in the Armenian language in Turkey. Since then, she has been invited to perform in venues in Armenia and the U.S. A second CD is in the works, as well as a solo concert. Sibil is eager for more collaborations with Armenian artists, telling the Weekly that “it has been [her] lifelong dream to meet and sing with Charles Aznavour.”