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The “Dreamers” film found 48 years later


The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting
The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

The “Dreamers” rock band
The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

The “Dreamers” rock band
The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

The “Dreamers” rock band
The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

The “Dreamers” rock band
The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting
The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting
The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


A film about the Armenian “Dreamers” rock band shot in 1969 by the Armenian TV appeared on the web on July 9. It has been considered to be lost for nearly 50 years.

Here it is:



The “Armenian” “Beatles”

In 1966, for the first time music lovers bought tickets to the concert of the “Dreamers” rock band. The concert was held at the House of Composers in Yerevan. Inspired by the world famous band from Liverpool, in 1965 Armenian students Hrayr Kotoyan, Zaven Sargsyan, Hakob Petrosyan, Yervand Yerznkyan and Slava Buniatyan (who was later replaced by Armen Zakaryan), founded their own band. Their first gigs took place at the Engineering University. The band also performed at various events, and many people heard the Beatles’ songs from them for the first time.

The “Dreamers” rock band The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


“The Beatles made a revolution in the whole world. They changed us, and we changed the others. Here in Armenia we were perceived as the Beatles, because their songs were mostly unknown to the public. Back then I was teaching a group of 20-30 kids to play a guitar. They were playing the “Girl” or some other famous song and singing along,” the lead singer of the band, Director of Sergey Parajanov museum Zaven Sargsyan recalls.
The “Dreamers” rock band The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


The “Dreamers” got the Beatles albums from international exchange students mainly. The band members were listening to these low quality records and trying to play the tunes by ear and learn the words. But since they didn’t speak English well enough, it was not an easy task to handle.

The “Armenian” “Help”

When Director Anatoly Mokatsyan watched a movie about the Beatles named “Help” in Hungary, he got an idea to shoot a short film about the “Dreamers”, and John Kirakosyan, then the Chairman of the State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasts of Armenia, approved the innovative idea.

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


The scenario was quite simple: to spend a day with the band members in Sevan. It took 2 weeks to film “one day”. Zaven Sargsyan recalls all the problems which accompanied the whole process. They had no proper equipment and it was hard to tune in and just sing.
The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


“According to the scenario we were supposed to stop cars on Yerevan-Sevan highway. But there were quite a few cars on the roads back then and these were mainly trucks. So we asked the police to stop the cars, gather them in one place and then send them on their way one by one, thus creating a fake traffic.”

Five well-shaped girls

So, the guys headed for Sevan singing Hrayr Kotoyan’s “Dream with us” on the whole drive. The shooting was to take place on the beach.

“Today it sounds unbelievable but it was impossible to find a beautiful, well-shaped girl wearing a swimsuit in Sevan back then. Most of the women were wearing robes, not swimsuits, and the others did not match our criteria. So we brought five girls from Yerevan with us,” Zaven Sargsyan recalls.
The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting The “Dreamers” in Sevan during shooting

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


Seven songs were used in the film: two were written especially for the band, one was from the Beatles’ repertoire and the others were the interpretations of Komitas.

“How can one distort Komitas?”

The film about the “Dreamers” band was finished in 1969. But unfortunately at that time John Kirakosyan left the position of the Chairman of the State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasts of Armenia and the new leadership banned the screening.
The “Dreamers” rock band The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


“The “Dreamers” should work hard instead of growing their hair and strumming their guitars.”

The film was shown only once at the Armenian House of Art Workers.

“The film was criticized, mainly because of the new and interesting interpretations of Komitas which were made by Hrayr Kotoyan and Yervand Yerznkyan. The authorities were strictly against touching Komitas and distorting his heritage, as they claimed. As a result the film was banned and never aired.”
The “Dreamers” rock band The “Dreamers” rock band

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


It was not the first time that the play list became a problem for the “Dreamers”.

“If you had ever wanted to go on a tour you should have had your play list approved beforehand. We could have never stated that we were going to perform the Beatles’ songs. Hrayr Kotoyan’s father, composer Vagharshak Kotoyan, was authorized to approve the roster. We cheated a little stating that we were going to sing the English coal miners’ song written be Lennon and McCartney.

Photo: from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive


Who understood the specifics back then? We also put down a couple of song names which we had never performed. Thus, in 1965 we traveled to Moscow and had several concerts there. In 1967 we had a concert in Kharkov. The girls were waiting in lines to have our autographs,” Zaven Sargsyan remembers.

The loss and the reappearance of the film

After the “Dreamers” was shown at the Armenian House of Art Workers, the film was lost. Almost 50 years later Yervand Yerznkyan and Zaven Sargsyan discussed the issue with the Chairman of the Council of Public TV and Radio Company of Armenia, Ruben Jaghinyan.

A couple of days ago Ruben Jaghinyan called Zaven Sargsyan and told him that the film had been found and digitalized. Zaven Sargsyan emailed it to Hrayr Kotoyan in San Diego and Armen Zakaryan in London. Zaven Sargsyan watched the newly-found film with his wife and museum co-workers, as well as his grandchildren. “It was very exciting,” he says.



Lusine Gharibyan
Photos from Zaven Sargsyan’s archive

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