There is a reason why Armenians worldwide are respected and have earned a good reputation after being kicked out of their homeland. It definitely is not easy to start from Zero but we sure know how to live and become the hero. Artists, Doctors, Engineers, craftsmen or ordinary hard-working people we owe it all to them and present our endless respect to them all.
Today we would like to introduce you to an Artist who is missed by the age of social media and the internet. His name is Henri Markarian, someone who rests peacefully in his humble graveyard, someone you might hear on oldies shows singing Armenian with a slight French accent, and wonder who it is, because he is not Aznavour.
Henri Markarian, also known as Marc Aryan born on 14 November 1926 in Valence, France, was a French and Belgian singer, songwriter, and record producer born as a French citizen, who also acquired Belgian citizenship after a long residency in the country.
Marc Aryan was the third sibling out of 7 born to Lebanese Armenian parents from Malatya, Turkey. He studied music and piano in Valence and started writing his own songs. In 1957, he left Valence to Paris for better musical opportunities. In 1963, he went to Belgium where one of his sisters ran a nightclub in Knokke-le-Zoute on the coast. He tried his songs on the dance routines at the club gaining great favor. Marc Aryan decided to settle permanently in Belgium, first in Waterloo and eventually to Ohain.
After the successful years 1964 and 1965 locally, the years 1966 and 1969 proved to be his most prosperous years internationally. Marc Aryan enjoyed great popularity in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon and Syria, where he also sang some songs in Armenian language and in Eastern Europe and Latin America. He had some commercial success in Quebec, Canada’s predominantly francophone province.
His singles became very popular in Belgian francophone market and in France. His single “Katy” that was released in 1964-1965, topped both Wallonia and Flanders Singles Charts becoming one of the top selling singles for 1965. He made sold-out concerts throughout Belgium. Other successful singles by him included “Volage Volage” (20 weeks in the Belgian Top 10), “Un Petit Slow” (again a #1 hit), “Angelina”, “Giorgina”, “Parce que je t’aime”, “Si j’etais sur..”, “Quand je te prends dans mes bras”, “Qu’un peu d’amour”, “Mon petit navire”, “La chanson du viel aveugle” and “Tu es numéro 1 au hit-parade de mon cœur”.
Marc Aryan died in 1985 in Belgium from a cardiac arrest. He was just 59. He had written more than 200 songs. There had been a confusion whether he was born in 1935 instead, but the tombstone confirms the year of birth as 1926.