Soviet stamp from 1962 devoted to Sayat-Nova's 250 anniversary.
June 14, 1712
Tiflis, Kartli, Persia
|Died||November 22, 1795
Sayat-Nova (Armenian: Սայաթ-Նովա; Azerbaijani: سایاتنووا / Sayat Nova; Georgian: საიათნოვა) (born as Harutyun Sayatyan (Armenian: Հարություն Սայադյան; 1712 or 1722 – 22 September 1795) was an Armenian poet, musician and ashik, who had compositions in a number of languages.
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Sayat-Nova's mother, Sara, was born in Tbilisi, and his father, Karapet, either in Aleppo or Adana. He was born in Tbilisi. His mother tongue was Georgian and he first wrote exclusively in Georgian, though he eventually learned Armenian. Sayat Nova was skilled in writing poetry, singing, and playing the kamancheh, Chonguri, Tambur. He performed in the court of Erekle II of Georgia, where he also worked as a diplomat and, apparently, helped forge an alliance between Georgia, Armenia and Shirvan against the Persian Empire. He lost his position at the royal court when he fell in love with the king's sister; he spent the rest of his life as an itinerant bard.
In 1759 he was ordained as a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church. His wife Marmar died in 1768, leaving behind four children. He served in locations including Tbilisi and Haghpat Monastery. In 1795 he was killed in the monastery by the invading army of Mohammad Khan Qajar, the Shah of Iran, for refusing to denounce Christianity and convert to Islam. He is buried at the Cathedral of Saint George, Tbilisi.
In Armenia, Sayat Nova is considered a great poet who made a considerable contribution to the Armenian poetry and music of his century. Although he lived his entire life in a deeply religious society, his works are mostly secular and full of romantic expressionism.
About 220 songs have been attributed to Sayat-Nova, although he may have written thousands more. He wrote his songs in Armenian, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Persian. His compositions assume the form of traditional Armenian songs. Most of his extant songs are in Azeri Turkish.
In popular culture
- Composer Alexander Arutiunian wrote an opera called "Sayat Nova" about him.
- The 1968 Armenian film Sayat Nova directed by Sergei Parajanov follows the poet's path from his childhood wool-dying days to his role as a courtier and finally his life as a monk. It was released in the United States under the title The Color of Pomegranates. It is a biography of Sayat Nova but a series of tableaux vivants of Armenian costume, embroidery and religious rituals interspersed with scenes and verses from the poet's life.
- A book on his life and work by Charles Dowsett was published in 1997 titled Sayat'-nova: An 18th-century Troubadour: a Biographical and Literary Study.
- The first translations of the Armenian odes of Sayat Nova in European languages was in France by Elisabeth Mouradian and the French poet Serge Venturini in 2006; the book was dedicated to Sergei Parajanov.
- There is a street and a music school named after him in Yerevan, Armenia; an Armenian-American dance ensemble in the United States; and a pond in Mont Orford, Quebec, Canada.
- There is a restaurant in Chicago called Sayat Nova.
- There is a church choir named after Sayat Nova in Istanbul, Turkey.
- Charles Dowsett, (1997), Sayatʻ-Nova: an 18th-century troubadour: a biographical and literary study, ISBN 90-6831-795-4
- Nikoghos Tahmizian, Sayat Nova and the Music of Armenian Troubadours and Minstrels, (in Armenian), 1995, Drazark Press, Pasadena, Ca.
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- Site dedicated to Sayat-Nova
- Love Song translated into English by Alice Stone Blackwell
- Classical Composers Database
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Sayat-Nova's Armenian, Georgian, Tatarian songs and their Russian translations in digital works collection with famous performances of poems and songs