Onur Gunay and Burcu Yildiz, directors. In English, Armenian, and Turkish (52 min., 2013).
Garod (Longing) tells the lives and musical trajectories of two influential contemporary Armenian-American artists, Onnik Dinkjian and his son Ara. It is, in the directors’ words, “a story of longing”: “longing for a land that lost its people, longing for the homeland, longing for a time that is eternally lost.” This is essentially the longing of Dinkjians.’ It is embedded in their hi/stories of nourishing belonging to a violently disrupted hometown, Diyarbekir, in the diaspora. Yet, Garod also longs. It reflects another longing for a past hometown that has been lost to its contemporary residents; and an effort at re-membering it.
Garod means longing in Armenian. Longing for a land that lost its people. Longing for the homeland. Longing for a time that is eternally lost. Garod is a story of longing. It is about the lives and the musical stories of two Armenian musicians: A father and his son, Onnik Dinkjian and Ara Dinkjian. Garod tells the story of the remaking of a musical tradition and life in Diaspora.
Onnik Dinkjian is one of the most influential Armenian singers with his unique style of singing, evoking Anatolian Armenian sound in America. Onnik Dinkjian’s family was from Diyarbakir/Dikranagert and they had to leave the country after 1915. Onnik Dinkjian was born in France and never saw his homeland until he was seventy-five. Yet he grew up in a neighborhood of Dikranagertsi Armenians listening to the stories and songs of his ‘home.’ Ara Dinkjian is a highly celebrated figure of the world music and one of the top oud players in the world. His compositions have been recorded in many different languages by top singers and musicians throughout the world.
Garod begins with the encounters of Onnik and Ara Dinkjian in, a city that has become a constitutive part of their identity. Tracing past and musical lives of these musicians, the documentary lays a bridge to Diyarbakir. Garod tells the stories of Onnik and Ara through their connections to Diyarbakir, Anatolia, Armenian Church music, and also musical relations with Sid Clark, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, Night Ark, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Sezen Aksu, Kardes Türküler and Ahmet Kaya. The documentary passes through different geographies and countries following the traces of a musical tradition. In this documentary, Garod means not only longing for loss but also remaking of a musical tradition and the life itself.