The Music Inside the Film .. about Music

My mantra throughout the process of making Guardians of Music was to respect and honor the lives and work that the refugee and first generation Armenian musicians contributed in Detroit, Michigan. Period. It is a simple statement that I stuck to throughout – from beginning to end.

Each photo, film clip and especially the interviews – I wanted to make sure I used (to the best of my ability) the finest and most respectful clips that captured the essence of the musician. I even went as far as to promise each musician that if I felt it would show them in a negative light – I would scrap it. It was a good process for me to mentally follow throughout making the film.

The same mantra held  true for the actual music I used in the documentary. You have no doubt heard or read that music makes the film. So what does that mean for a film about music? It becomes indispensable for a project like Guardians of Music.


Album cover for Simon Javizian’s Travelling with Kef.

Music creates emotion and sets an important tone. Music and film have gone together from the beginning of movie making, way before the talkies entered the motion picture industry. The organ player in the theater would play music and adjust his dynamics depending on the scene — romance, chase, thrill…you get the picture.

I felt that it was important to use the same philosophy in deciding which portions of the documentary had the appropriate type of music. At times, you might hear duduk playing and at others you might a thrilling fast Armenian clarinet solo!


Dertad Tookian Ensemble

I was able to locate original musical clips of both Dertad Tookoian (Photo on the left, Tookoian is int he middle playing clarinet) and Yervant Grjekian. Original homemade recordings never before released to the public.

I do want to take this opportunity to give a special thank you janikian21and shout out to a good friend of mine. Leon Janikian is a phenomenal musician and an Associate Professor and Director, Music Industry. I know Leon’s love for the music is quite extensive and he shares my vision of preserving and sharing the music to allow future generations to enjoy what we grew up enjoying. Leon was instrumental in helping clean and digitize some of the rare music footage from the Tookoian and Grjekian archives. Thanks Leon – you are a rockstar!

A pristine copy of Simon Javizian’s only LP release, Travelling with Kef was utilized and special thanks to Richard Megregian who provided that wonderfully clean copy.

I wont give all the special musical treats away until you have had a chance to watch Guardians of Music, this Monday, March 16th @9:30pm EST on Detroit Public Television. 

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