Serj Tankian is set to release a new folk/classical song titled “Amber” sung in his native Armenian language this Wednesday, June 8, to audiences worldwide. It was written with Tankian’s cultural homeland in mind. The song title “Amber” (pronounced ‘ahm-be’r’) actually means ‘clouds’ in Armenian and is allegorical in context. Pre-save the single HERE.
Tankian explains: “’Amber’ was written in 2017 after I visited Armenia along with my friends Atom & Arsinee Egoyan and Eric Nazarian as members of the coalition ‘Justice For Armenia’ to serve as election monitors for the Parliamentary elections. I was so distraught by the slick theft of the elections before ever reaching the ballot box that I wrote this song as a response. The lyrics however seem to be more poignant today when Armenians are divided politically and socially following the devastating attack on Nagorno-Karabagh and Armenia by Azerbaijan and Turkey in 2020 and the continuous fallout over negotiations with those two dictatorial regimes. ‘Amber’s’ message is that of unity and harmony. Those are the only truly powerful weapons of the Armenian nation.”
The final version of the track was completed in 2022 and features additional vocals from Sevak Amroyan, another notable Armenian singer performing alongside Tankian. Amroyan is revered in the motherland and throughout the diaspora for his soulful crooning of traditional and modern Armenian folk songs.
On his decision to include Amroyan on the definitive version of “Amber,” Tankian states, “Sevak’s voice has a unique strength harking back to our people’s native lands. I loved listening to his songs like ‘Yarkhushta’ so when we met I was excited to work on something with him.”
Amroyan, who is based in Yerevan, has grown up through many of the highs and low points of Armenia’s burgeoning democracy since the collapse of the Soviet Union. His decision to join Serj on singing of “Amber” is explained in his words, “NaturalIy, I have listened to Serj Tankian’s music since childhood and always with a sense of pride. After getting acquainted with him, I realized that in addition to being an iconic musician he’s also a very proud Armenian. I am happy about our collaboration and thankful to Serj that we’re singing ‘Amber’ together. It’s a great honor for me.”
Directed by Hrag Yedalian, the music video showcases Tankian and Amroyan flanking each other in frame singing their parts while a young boy (Darren Chilingirian) takes center stage on screen with a sketchbook in hand. As the video progresses, the boy begins flipping through the sketchbook to reveal handwritten phrases and contextual images from within the song’s Armenian lyrics. As “Amber” crescendos, the boy begins to crumble up the sketch book pages, and throws them to the ground. While the final notes of the song are performed, the camera pans down to see that the crumbled-up pages have formed into the map of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh (known in Armenia and the diaspora as Artsakh). Lyrics (in both Armenian and English translation) for “Amber” can be found on Serj’s YouTube page for the video (https://youtu.be/xb99fX7e3GI).
Tankian has pursued justice for many socio-political causes globally throughout his personal and professional career, often using music as a tool to inspire and unify voices for thoughtful change. “Amber” is the most recent chapter in this lifelong effort.
About Serj Tankian
A singer, poet, songwriter, visual artist, film producer, activist, and composer; Serj Tankian has always created music as an outlet to express his thoughts and feelings with a level of passion and consciousness that few in today’s world of music can rival. An Armenian born in Lebanon and re-rooted in Los Angeles, Tankian was introduced to the melding of cultures, ideas, and ideals from a very young age. The principles learned from this integration and adaptation have led to his understanding of the oneness of all things and have since maneuvered and transfigured into the music and art that he lives to create. As the lead singer and songwriter for System Of A Down, Serj has released five studio albums, winning a GRAMMY Award in 2006 for “B.Y.O.B.” and selling over 40 million albums worldwide. Despite this success, Serj has never grown complacent with his art, always striving to open up new channels of sound and arrangement to articulate his artistic expressions. He has released multiple albums of solo material, beginning with 2007’s chart-topping hard rock album Elect The Dead. His sophomore solo album Imperfect Harmonies was released in 2010, followed by Harakiri in 2012. 2013 saw two distinct releases from Serj, the first being the critically acclaimed Orca Symphony No. 1, released in June of that year, followed up with the very unique Jazz-Iz Christ one month later. Throughout 2021, Tankian released a treasure trove of new music beginning with his critically acclaimed rock EP Elasticity. Cool Gardens Poetry Suite came next, which was an amalgam of cinematic music and Serj’s recital of his own poetry. This was followed up by a two-part collection of instrumental music dubbed Cinematique Series: Illuminate and Cinematique Series: Violent Violins. The year closed out with the release of Live in Edmonton, a raucous live performance Tankian and his backing band The F.C.C. recorded shortly after the release of Elect The Dead.
Over the past few years, his time spent in the recording studio has been focused on creating musical scores and compositions for film and video game projects. Serj recently lent his vocals to a modern-day cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s rock classic “Godzilla” for the blockbuster Michael Dougherty film Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. He also recorded a modern version of the Armenian folk song “Sari Siroun Yar” along with the Authentic Light Orchestra for the film The Promise, directed by Terry George and starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac. Serj was also brought on by Survival Pictures, the producers of the film, to serve as an Executive Music Consultant.
His most recent cinematic works include music for current Netflix Original series Crime Scene – The Times Square Killer created by Oscar nominated director Joe Berlinger, with multiple additional Netflix Orginal series projects slated for release throughout 22’ and 23’ that will be announced in the months to come. Tankian also composed the full musical score for award winning documentary I Am Not Alonedirected by Garin Hovannisian and Live Nation Productions film Truth To Power, which chronicles Serj’s own journey through the crossroads of music and activism. In 2017, he composed music for Emmy nominated Intent To Destroy, a gripping film directed by award winning documentarian Joe Berlinger. That same year he created an intense score for the epic Russian action film Furious – The Legend of Kolovrat, followed by his 2018 musical score for award winning film Spitak, directed by Alexander Kott. Additionally, Tankian composed the full musical score for independent films 1915 and The Last Inhabitant, an original composition for Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore Henry and video game musical scores for Midnight Star and its sequel, Renegade, which were created by one of the chief architects of the famed Halo game franchise.
Serj’s resume also includes the formation of a record label, Serjical Strike Records (established in 2001), which has released albums from many critically acclaimed artists, including Fair To Midland, Buckethead and Death By Stereo.
Along with fellow musician Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Serj co-founded the non-profit organization Axis Of Justice in 2002, which strives to bring together musicians, music fans and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice. He has also dabbled in the world of broadcasting as co-host of the Axis Of Justice Radio Network, which can be heard via Sirius Satellite Radio and KPFK in Los Angeles. With a mission of spreading diversity and understanding through music, poetry and activism, Serj Tankian will continue to surprise and enlighten those who listen to his music and hear his words.
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