Sayat Nova

Sayat Nova

Death 22 Nov 1795 (aged 83)
Burial Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia
Memorial ID 10126337 · View Source
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Musician. Real name Haroutiun Sayakian. The most revered of Armenian troubadors, he has long been known as Sayat Nova, which means "King of Songs". The son of Armenian peasants, he was born in the village of Sanahin, in the Caucasian nation of Georgia. Around 1725 he moved with his family to the capital city of Tbilisi, where he was apprenticed to a weaver. But his intelligence and uncommon musical skills quickly became noticed. By his mid-teens he was acclaimed as a singer-songwriter and as a virtuoso on the kemenche (a three-stringed instrument played upright with a bow), and in 1740 he was named Royal Musician to Georgia's King Heracles II. Sayat Nova rose quickly at court and became one of the King's trusted advisers. Fluent in several languages, he was sent on diplomatic missions and is believed to have negotiated an alliance between Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in their struggle against Persian domination. He fell from favor because of his love for the King's sister, Princess Anna. The singer's passion was reciprocated, but Heracles feared that their marriage would become a threat to his power. Sayat Nova was stripped of his status and banished from the Royal Court; he never saw Anna again. He spent the rest of his life as a wandering troubador, literally singing for his supper and pouring his worldly experience into songs of soulful beauty. At age 83 he was killed by the invading forces of the Persian Knight, Agha Mohammed Khan, who destroyed Tbilisi in 1795. Today Sayat Nova is hailed as Armenia's National Musician, despite his Georgian nationality. About 220 of his songs survive; some were notated in the 18th Century, but the majority were passed down through oral tradition. They are still performed in Armenian communities throughout the world, either in their original form or in modern arrangements. Sayat Nova's life has been the subject of a number of Russian and Armenian films, notably the controversial art film "The Color of Pomegranates" (1969) by director Sergei Paradzhanov.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 15 Dec 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 10126337
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sayat Nova (14 Jun 1712–22 Nov 1795), Find a Grave Memorial no. 10126337, citing Saint George's Church Cemetery, Tbilisi, Tbilisi, Georgia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .