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Gevorg Nalbandian: an Armenian who Wrote an Anthem for an African Country

There are countries in the world, where there are not so many Armenians, and thus the "Armenian trace", at the same time, but often the contribution of Armenians to the development and prosperity of this or that country is quite obvious. One of such countries is Ethiopia, with which Armenia has longstanding historical and spiritual ties.

The small Armenian diaspora in this exotic ancient country has always occupied an important place in all areas of state and cultural life, notes.

At times, the number of the Ethiopian Armenian community reached a couple of thousand people, today there are hardly a hundred Armenians in Addis-Ababa. But the amazing thing is that you can tell a lot about such a small diaspora. The variety of activities for which the Ethiopian Armenians became famous is simply amazing. One of the most interesting facts is that the anthem of Ethiopia was created by Armenian Gevorg Nalbandian.

Gevorg Nalbandian was born in Antheb. He received his primary education at a local school. He taught music in the schools of Zeitoun and Kilis. He played the canon, violin, wind instruments, sang and wrote music.

In Constantinople, Nalbandian studied the theory of Armenian music by Komitas. Returning to Kilis, he organized a brass band, teaching students the harmony of instruments that sounded together. In 1919 he moved to Aleppo and continued his pedagogical activity. He was awarded the honorary order of the French government "Crown of the Academy."

Moving to Jerusalem in 1924, Gevorg created a brass band from pupils of the orphanage of the Armenian Patriarchate. In the same year, the future Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, visited Jerusalem and, attending the church feast in the Armenian Patriarchate, listened admiringly to the performances of Armenian orphans. After the festivities, he asked the patriarch to give the orchestra to him, promising to take care of them in a fatherly way. The patriarch could not refuse, and the regent and heir to the throne, by adopting 40 young musicians, took them with him to Addis-Ababa. Here, under the leadership of Nalbandian, they organized an imperial orchestra. Haile Selassie really gave everyone education, housing, provided with work, writes.

And the top of Gevorg Nalbandian's work was writing the national anthem of Ethiopia, written by the request of the monarch, which was performed until 1992.

The much respected and talented composer Gevorg Nalbandian died in Ethiopia in 1963.

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