A star-studded Armenian night in LA: Armenian Music Awards 2009

The annual Armenian Music Awards in the United States this year stood out by the unprecedented number of participants and the presence of world-caliber stars, such as legendary French-Armenian crooner Charles Aznavour, System of a Down rock star soloist Serj Tankian and his father, Khatchadour Tankian, as well as the Armenian star of the Russian variety, Irina Alegrova.

All in all, more than 100 Armenian music stars from different countries were honored on December 13, during the “M Club Music Video Awards” and “Armenian Music Awards” collaborative show in Los Angeles at the prestigious Nokia Theater. Performers were competing in 23 categories. One of the show’s producers, Arthur Kokozian told ArmeniaNow that about 7,000 people attended the Awards ceremony, a near-sellout with tickets ranging from $50-200.

Armenia-based 23-year-old Silva Hakobyan, a 2006 BBC Music Awards winner, won the Best Female Singer Award, and LA-based 29-year-old Armenchik (Armen Gondrachyan) won the Best Male Singer Award. Arame and Nune Yesayan were awarded as the Best Duet for their video clip “The Two of Us”.

During the ceremony the organizers gave Aznavour a Lifetime Achievement award.

The first Armenian Music Awards took place at the 1,381-seat Alex Theatre in Glendale California in 1998. During the first eight years of the Awards the shows were organized by Peter Bahlawanian, who sought to support Armenian artists and popularize Armenian music in the United States. According to Kokozian, any Armenian artist can participate as long as he or she released an album in the prior year.

“Even non-Armenians are allowed to enter if their work is considered Armenian or Armenian-themed. Judging the entries is a changing group of musicians, composers, artists, critics, and recording-industry executives,” says Kokozian.

More information on the night’s events, participants and winners is expected on the official website: www.armenianmusicaward.com