The Melody of LA

Melody Nazarian

The Armenian Weekly: Echoes of Survival

Melody Nazarian

The narrative of the Armenian Genocide has been on repeat—both in media and in the minds of Armenians all over the world—for over 100 years now. There are countless chilling facts about the atrocities carried out by the Ottoman Empire of 1915, but one in particular has stuck with Los Angeles-born filmmaker Avo John Kambourian since youth.

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On eve of April 24, 1915, hundreds of notable Armenian artists and intellectuals living in Istanbul were taken by force from their homes in the middle of the night, placed under arrest, and eventually executed. That image has been playing like a movie reel in Kambourian’s head since the day he heard it. “I was always aware that art can be a very dangerous thing, but also a beautiful thing that many see as a threat to their political agenda,” the 27-year-old says, reflecting on the poignant killings of intellectual leading up to the systematic massacre of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1918.

Even decades later—and in an attempt to portray how the culture has survived through the work of Armenian artists—Kambourian was inspired to a create a film, a proverbial mixed tape of Armenian artists that aren’t conventionally known in Armenian communities around the world.

“Echoes of Survival,” which debuted during the centennial of the genocide in 2015, follows a group of creative Armenians as they share their unique story of being Armenians raised in the diaspora, specifically the United States.

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