Her Eurovision participation has come and gone, but Tamar Kaprelian is here to stay. And so is her commitment to Armenia. Just ask the 100 young Armenians who have applied to spend the summer honing their musical talent with Nvak, Tamar’s summer enrichment programme for the country’s up-and-coming musicians, songwriters and performers, which launches later this summer.
Tamar recently caught up with wiwibloggs to explain her motivations and goals with the initiative. You can learn all about it below. And be sure to follow the Nvak Foundation on Twitter @NvakFoundation and Instagram @nvakfoundation.
What gave you the idea for the project and what’s your motivation?
While preparing for Eurovision 2015, I had the opportunity of spending a few months in Armenia—something that I had never had the chance to do prior. I was so moved by the smart, driven, and talented kids that I met during my stay that I wanted to do something to give back to the Armenian community. The goal was to create an arts initiative for talented Armenian kids. I spent the summer after Eurovision networking and trying to meet with as many people as I could, telling them about this project and why I thought it was important for the country. It was then that I got a chance to sit down with Serj Tankian (an Armenian writer, poet, activist, and philanthropist) After that meeting, things started to fall into place. I told him about the project. He loved it and started putting me in touch with the right people.
Who have you partnered with and why did you choose them?
This year, we have partnered up with TUMO — an incredible afterschool resource center in Yerevan, Armenia. What they are doing in Armenia is both progressive and impactful. Kids who participate in the TUMO program can learn anything from web design to 3D modeling, filmmaking, and photography. Their space is modern and beautiful, and their staff is professional and organized. They also have a recording studio and vocal booth. Everything about this collaboration just felt right. They believed in the project and in our vision. All of that was very important to us. AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union), a well-respected global Armenian non-profit, has also have given us a very generous grant. The Luys Foundation, Tufenkian Foundation, and the Opera Suite Hotel have also been incredibly supportive of our initiative. I feel lucky that because of the support of these partners and sponsors, we were able to make Nvak happen in 2016.
How do you choose the students?
The students, first and foremost, must be passionate about music. We are definitely looking for a certain level of seriousness and dedication. The Nvak application was thorough—we asked the kids to submit two original songs. We also wanted to know about their influences and their musical proficiency. I am actually in the process of sifting through the applicants, as we speak. It is going to be difficult to select only 20-25 kids from the hundred that applied.
Do you plan to do this every summer?
Yes—this is an annual summer program. And the kids that participate in the program will be asked to contribute (weekly) to a Nvak Medium page that we’re launching July 31. I want them to feel like they are a part of a creative community 365 days of the year.
How did Eurovision change your view of Armenia?
Eurovision 2015 was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I feel honored that I got to do it. But more importantly, it gave me the credibility to be able to do and start a project like this in the country. I am thankful for that.