Ara Malikian: “Feels a war and I believe it’s present in my music”


The Lebanese musician, who is in charge of the artistic direction of the Musical Walk at the Royal Botanical Garden, reflects on his childhood memories, success and concerns.

Ara Malikian lying on a tree before performing the Musical Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Ara Malikian at the Royal Botanic GardensAlberto Di Lolli
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Ara Malikian (Beirut, 1968) Smiling blushingly. Her curly hair barely swayed in the morning breeze. He has his hands in his pocket and his gaze wanders in front of a dozen photographers and cameras as he poses in one of the forest’s 1,500 trees. Royal Botanical Garden,

The colors and plants of this enclave have inspired him to create a musical proposal that will flood the space in a new edition of the Musical Walk from May 19. “The ideal music for this energy generated by the Botanical Garden is Vivaldi“, he assures.

Italian composers of the 18th century, he explains, were pioneers in translating everything heard in nature into music, and a clear example of this was the concert four seasons, “They mimic the sounds of birds, wind and leaves. It’s wonderful and so I thought it was the perfect music for this project.”

Ara Malikian during the performance of the Musical Walk
Malikian in the presentation of his projectAlberto Di Lolli

Malikian Aaye madrid, incidentally, 22 years ago. “I came in for a very strange reason; the apartment where I lived in Germany burned down and I lost everything except my violin,” he says. While they were rebuilding their home, they decided to spend the summer in the Spanish capital. But the energy of the city and its “open and very hospitable” people fascinated him to such an extent that he did not want to leave anymore. “It is true that every time I return to Madrid I feel like I am coming home.”

testimony that comes from today Ukraine They remind him of many things that he felt when he was just a child. He grew up in Lebanon, very close to death, amid bombs and thunder. Once he was able to escape that reality, he tried to forget it. it ain’t easy because guera She sits down and he unconsciously finds her in his music. “Although I don’t control it, the aggression is there,” he reflects.

When he was young, he lost his mind practicing with his violin, I could do it for 12 hours without a break. Today he rehearses every day without exception, but he has learned to set limits.

He knows he’s been called many times talented of music. “Obviously I don’t believe them,” he says with a laugh. He has “a lot of roads” and also “a lot of failure” which has helped him “keep his feet well on the ground”.

With a calm and deliberate tone, violinist Lebanese assure that there is no secret to them SuccessJust rediscover yourself and work because there is always the worry that his illusions and motivation will be lost.

You gave your first concert when you were 12, when did you get your own style?
I think I’m still looking for it.
You have said in many interviews that you did not have a childhood because you grew up in the midst of the war in Lebanon. What childhood memories do you see reflected in the evidence that comes to us from Ukraine today?
It is true that I recognize many of the things I have felt. Spending days and weeks in basements and shelters. It was like a double life that you had, you lived in the basement and suddenly they said: “That’s it, they can go up.” You got to the surface and it seemed like everything was normal, but it wasn’t because you realized the damage from the previous bombing and you felt lucky if no bomb had entered your house or if No acquaintances or relatives were dead. And that was life. In my case, when I came out of the war I stopped talking about it from one day to the next, it no longer existed for me. Now I speak it because they ask me. But it means that in my subconscious I wanted him to be forgotten as soon as possible.
Which music is at war?
There is music in war and in fact there are many composers who have had an era inspired by war, such as Shostakovich or Prokofiev. They are musicians who have been greatly affected by the darkness and fall of war, and this is reflected in the music. A very dark and depressing melody, but also very beautiful. One feels war and I believe it is present in my music as well. Although I don’t control it, aggression is there. When I compose, from time to time, it inadvertently takes me there.
You have a son today. What decisions did your parents make that you think you didn’t before?
very. The truth is that the way my parents were, they had nothing to do with what I am. But not only in my case, I think it has to do with the society and the times in which we live. My parents raised me so that I could survive. What I see as distinct is that today I no longer need to teach my son to survive. I want him to live happily. Today I work so that he has a happy childhood, that he plays and enjoys his friends.
Your partner, Nata Moreno, said that for the documentary she made about your life, she had 79 hours of footage and had to leave many things in spite of herself. Which experiences that were recorded are not seen in a feature film?
Many but you have to ask him, I don’t know. When he made the documentary I said: ‘Who would be interested in a documentary about me?’ It was making his life quite impossible. She was doing almost the same thing without telling me anything and in fact the interviews she did with me were practically a few hours away. One day he told me: “I need four hours, tell me when and dedicate them to me.” In those four hours he shut me down and questioned me.
And what was the toughest question he asked you?
He crushed me because it is true that it is difficult for me to talk about the past. I find it difficult to talk about things that I have already classified on my hard drive because they are not pleasant memories. He graded them in an attempt to forget and he took them out of me. Sometimes it was like therapy. It was tough but also great, because I felt like I needed to. I needed to remember these things so that I could enjoy what I have today even more.
Aran Malikian smiling as he performs the Musical Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Malikian presenting a musical walkAlberto Di Lolli

What’s the secret to keeping the masses captivated after so many years of experience?
The truth is that it is difficult to unravel this secret. In fact, there’s always the worry that what I have now is about to end; My illusions and my inspiration are about to end. you have to work because nothing can last forever, The secret is to recreate yourself. Thinking that what works for you now will not work for you tomorrow. Every day I find one style and the next day I find that the style is no longer valid and I have to find another style.
When they tell you that you’re a musical genius, what do you think but don’t say?
They tell me a lot: “What a genius! You are a genius!”. Obviously, I don’t believe them (laughs). But when you go on stage – and I do it a lot because that’s what I do – so many people applaud you, they stand up and admire you… it’s not good for the ego. And you say: will I be a genius? But success came to me slowly. didn’t have time to get over my head, I’ve been on the road a lot and I’ve had a lot of failures. My feet are well on the ground, I know who I am. I love my profession, but I know my weaknesses too well.
What is the cost of success?
Success takes time to do the things you want to do with your child, with your family. Take a walk in the Botanical Garden for example, but it also gives you a lot of things to do. It gives you satisfaction, especially on stage. It gives you the feeling that life doesn’t give you. When I wasn’t on stage for two weeks I realized I needed to, It is not a question of success or not, it is just happening on stage. I liken this to the state of meditation, which is going into a samadhi. When I am there, I make music while I meditate. It’s not like if I do it at home, I enjoy music but on stage I feel like a magical thing happens that happens when you go back and forth with 10,000, 1,000 or 100 people.. They send you that energy and accompany you. The energy you receive, tries to motivate itself, gives it back. This is an inexplicable thing.

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