2012 "Voices of sorrow: Melodized speech, laments and heroic narratives among the Yezidis of Armenia"

Cover Yearbook for Traditional MusicYearbook for Traditional Music 44: 129-148.

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Among the Yezidis of Armenia, sad thoughts are often narrated in a melodized tone of voice. This specific vocal register, which Yezidis call kilamê ser (“words about”), can be used in ritual contexts, especially funerals, as well as in everyday conversation. The focus of this article concerns the way Yezidis conceptualize voice production, their experience of an emotional investment in melodized speech, and the status of words enunciated in this manner. An analysis of melodized speech reveals a rich aesthetic of suffering in which shared memories are shaped by sound and poetics.

Documents discussed in the article

Example 1

Hasmig's melodized speech. Field recording, september 2006, Rya Taze (Armenia). 

Example 2

Hbo's kilamê ser performance without melodization. Field recording, February 2007, Alagyaz (Armenia).