Istanbul Concert by André and Sibil Attracts Hundreds

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.

Sibil and Andre
Sibil and Andre

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.”


Lilly Torosyan

Lilly Torosyan is the Assistant Project Manager of Hamazkayin’s h-pem, an online platform to engage young diasporans in Armenian art and culture. She holds a master’s degree in Human Rights from University College London and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University, where she served on the ASA Executive Board. Her writings primarily focus on highlighting unique facets of, and approaches to, identity, community, art and youth events.


  1. Nice to hear events about events about Armenian art and culture in Turkey. It is also more interesting to let people know about what is going on today as well.

    • But, Umit, Armenian art and culture has been present on their ancestral lands, including during the Ottoman centuries, from the times immemorial. Now, when the historical and indigenous of the Armenians is savagely eliminated by the Turks in 1915, I believe it is “nice” to hear about events about Armenian art and culture in Turkey. Armenian art and culture has always been there—whether it was called Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire or Ottoman Turkey—until 1915. Have the Armenians not been mass murdered and forcibly deported by the Turks, our art and culture, as well as our trade and businesses, architecture and sciences, cities and villages, schools and seminaries, graveyards and cross-stones—all would have remained and flourished. Now, it is, of course, might be “nice” for the Turks to enjoy Armenian art and culture after the very presence of the Armenian as a nation and as a homeland has been barbarously eradicated by your ancestors.

  2. As an Armenian I would never set foot in Turkey. I don’t even consider myself a patriot since I live outside Armenia, but setting foot in Turkey for me is a great taboo. Especially since I know how hostile contemporary Turks are towards Armenians. I don’t understand Armenians who go to Turkey for vacation, concerts or whatever reason. This country has one goal: the obliteration of Armenia.

    • I totally agree with you. These Armenians have riches and property in Turkey and they don’t want to leave. How can anyone go there when they are not welcomed whatsoever.

  3. I had the pleasure to be present at this wonderful concert , full of armenian beautuiful songs and armenian atmosphere, full of armenian people dancing singing with our beautiful , talented Sibil and Andre . People who think that it’s wrong giving concerts in Turkey ,are greatly mistaken,and they ignore the huge Armenian diaspora living in Turkey and making every effort to maintain their cultural heritage ..
    I I live in Turkey, thousand of armenians live in Turkey and nobody has the right to critisize us for that , and beleive me I’m not less patriot than any of you talking big… Proud of you my dear Sibil , i wish everyone had a heart like you.. And THANK YOU FOR THIS UNFORGETTABLE CONCERT!

  4. I think some people does not read the article very well and understand what is written there. Andre was invited by local Armenians who are keeping their culture and language very strong. Why to ignore their existence and, the effort that thy are putting to keep the Armenian culture alive?I think poor judgement makes some people to write meaningless posts.

  5. Cheignantex
    It may be a taboo for you to set foot in Turkey, but you can never generalize it to include all Armenians. On the contrary, I think Armenians should make every effort to make their presence felt in Turkey. Apart from the indigenous, lively Armenian community in Istanbul, there are huge numbers of hidden Armenians who are increasingly unmasking themselves without fear, there are the Hamshen Armenians, there are the Diarbakir Kurdish city authorities with highly friendly attitude towards Armenians who have cared to reinstate the Holy Giragos Armenian church, there are the growing number of Turkish intellectuals who are criticizing their government for its policy of denial etc. This all does not mean of course that the Turkish government has changed course, but what you suggest is contrary to normal human practice.

  6. I think you misunderstood me, Lusine. I was not talking about bolsahays who are born and raised there. I am referring to non-Turkish Armenians, for example hayastantsis or non-Turkish Armenians living the West, who go to Turkey on vacation.

    In Yerevan you can see publicity for such vacations in the form of commercial posters. I have hayastantsi and parskahay friends, living in the West, who went to Turkey on vacation when they just as well could have gone to, say Greece.

    If you are bolsahay, then you were born and probably raised in Turkey. So you are not the one I am crtisizing here.

  7. Ciganantex or some such concocted up name..up above.
    it is pretty obvious you are trying to stirr up conflict and disturb us here…
    Armeniasn are in Instabulla,whether we like irt or not.Not by choice but THEY WERE THERE EVEN BEFORE THE TURCO SELJUKS CAME IN…
    And notwithstanding the 1908 1915 1923 Armenian mass massacres Genocide as later dubbed by Lemkin…we are there pLUS a million or MORE ISLAMAIZED HEMSHENTSIS AND OR KURDIFIED…BUT STILL …. t h e r e.
    Those who could afford and wished to live freely immigrated.Those who meeded jobs*recent Armenians from RA. came there and mainly work at Armenian households etc.,
    After all thse days we are living*supposedly a civilized world and they would not really wish to commit yet another ENORMOUS CRIME AND BE THE LAUGHING STOCK AND REPROACH OF THE BIGGER CIVILIZED WORLD.Besides armenians are also getting geared up by adn by and would wish to establish official CONTACT ,Govt. to Govt. like trreid but so far not succeeded.It is another thing to keep this method open….that is cultural and business as well.Latter under the table so to say…not official but there. Armenians have to know that Pakistna and India hav e a face off too.
    So do or will do the Palestinians and Israelis…these aare natural modes of conduct, not pleasant at al but that’s how it is…why////indeed why…
    Simply because Armenians wish to have great Turkey accept realities ,beg pardon adn make restitutions…like Z Germans did to Jews!!!!!
    then our relations may restart.of course there also exists the KARS Treat and Sevres Treaty and what not yet again another the lausanne one.latter is the one that the Mustafa Ataturk’s time one that they though they had Evicted ,murdered enough Armenians to have THE CASE CLOSED!!!!
    Time to come to settlement -even we know Turkls like it yavahs yavash…will do it by and by…eh…
    We are there waiting!!
    Then more cultural contacts and diplomatic relations will be encouraged.
    Like Khatchik Mouradian ,editor of this Web page and Newsweekly expressed in very civil and convincing modality in Ankara not too long ago.Rectnly ,actually.Stiull no reply.Here and there some echos by Turkish non denialists writers yes!!! but we need the Gov.t to acknolwedge it.

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