Armenag Shah-Mouradian

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Armenag Shah-Mouradian (1878-1939) is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Armenian singers of all time. Born in Moush, the son of a blacksmith, he was known as the "Armenian Caruso" as well as the "Nightingale of Daron" (Daroni Sokhag). He sang at the Paris Opera. He was a personal student of Gomidas, the master of Armenian music, and was considered the greatest interpreter of Gomidas' songs. He made many 78 rpm records in his time, some with Gomidas at the piano. These records are rare today, but a reissue of his and Gomidas' singing has been put out by Traditional Crossroads. Many Armenians in the 20's and 30's owned these records, and the first diaspora-born generation which grew up hearing their parents play them were enchanted by Shah-Mouradian's voice as a call from the "old country." The Armenian-American writers William Saroyan and David Kherdian, among others, both allude to this and Saroyan even wrote a poem entitled "To the Voice of Shah-Mouradian." Shah-Mouradian also toured the various Armenian communities of the Diaspora before his death in Paris, at the same hospital where his teacher Gomidas passed away.