Hélène Ségara talks Armenian roots, Aznavour and upcoming plans after mesmerizing Yerevan performance

Yerevan, May 29, 2018.

She had a unique love for music since early childhood. Her Armenian mother opposed her girl in becoming a singer, but at the age of 11 the future star took part in her first competition – and won!


At 15, she left school and began singing in clubs and restaurants of France. Her debut CD failed to gain commercial success, but the singer didn’t lose hope and her first failure was followed by multiple successes.

According to international press and critics, the best actress of the role of Esmeralda in Notre-Dame de Paris (musical) is Hélène Ségara.

In an ARMENPRESS exclusive, Hélène Ségara talked about Armenia, her Armenian roots as well as her collaboration with Charles Aznavour and Michel Legrand, the Notre-Dame de Paris musical and other topics.

Hélène Ségara arrived in Yerevan for the Republic Day celebrations on May 28. She performed two songs at the May 28 grand concert in Yerevan’s Republic Square. She sang Charles Aznavour’s  Pour Toi Armenie and the old Armenian Dle Yaman song.

Helene Segara in Armenia

‘Visiting Armenia makes me emotional’

I get the same feelings each time I come here. When I came here for the very first time I had the feeling like I’ve been here before. It seemed like the blood of my family had awakened. The grandfather of my mother was born in Mush. He fought under the command of General Andranik, fought for his fatherland. And this makes me emotional each time I come here.

‘My mother didn’t want me to sing’

She was afraid that show-business would be dangerous for a young lady. But I told her that singing is my passion and I have to pursue my passion. My mother went to school with Charles Aznavour’s daughter. She met Charles Aznavour years later. After meeting him my mother told me that she is very proud of my career.

Helene Segara in Armenia

Tears of Charles Aznavour and Hélène Ségara

We met for the first time when I was making my first steps in my career, I was very shy. Charles needs time to discover people. We didn’t talk much the first time.

Years later we visited Armenia as part of an official delegation. I and Charles were out for dinner together. During the dinner, a singer sang Dle Yaman. When I heard this melody I began to cry. Charles said: “I know, this song makes me cry too”. This is why I included this song in one of my albums, I wanted the French to discover this song. It is also one of the favorite songs of my mother.

When I first came to Armenia with Aznavour, I wrote a song about the story of a family, about the Genocide, it is called Dans Nos Souvenirs. I wrote this song for my daughter. I said that it has the following message: “Doesn’t matter if you haven’t been to Armenia, one day you will come here with me, and you will understand how we have struggled, how we have lived. This is why you are here today.” When I performed this song in Yerevan, I cried. It is hard to sing when you have so many emotions.

Charles Aznavour told me that he discovered Armenia late. The more you stay here the more you discover about your family and roots.

Helene Segara in Armenia

In the context of love and peace

I give concerts in different countries of the world. I take the message of love and peace with me. I sang Ave Maria from Notre-Dame de Paris musical on my knees even in Arab countries. Ave Maria is a prayer, a message of love. I don’t understand why people wage war because of faith….

Notre-Dame de Paris

I like Notre-Dame de Paris musical a lot. When I was little, my mother used to call me Chingine, because I wanted to be a Gypsy, I didn’t wanna wear shoes. When I was offered to play Esmeralda, I told myself – God, this is me”. Garou, me and other members of the team had a truly magical chemistry going on. I like the songs of the musical a lot, I want to perform them during the course of my entire life. This is one of my best memories…

Bocelli, Legrand and other artists…

Every time I have a concert somewhere people say: you must sing your song with Andrea Bocelli [Vivo Per Lei duet]. We are still very close. I am lucky to have had the chance to sing with him. He has one of the most beautiful voices.

I’ve collaborated many times with Legrand, we are very close, I sang with him. We have recorded a duet together – La valse des Lilas.

There are so many artists with whom I would want to collaborate. I am very close with Celine Dion, we sang together for a TV show, but we don’t have a recorded duet. She is a very pleasant person. I like Barbra Streisand’s voice. I also like the so-called less popular singers.

One of my favorite bands is Radiohead. I also like the famous System of a Down.

Helene Segara in Armenia

‘I want to protect my daughter’

My eldest son is 28 years old, he is a musician, my second son is 15, he is a fan of science and math, and my daughter will turn 14.

She sings very well. If she will want to pursue singing, I hope I will be able to protect her. I want her to remain my little girl, and that no one hurts her. A singer’s profession is very hard, it has both good and bad sides.

Upcoming plans

I am working on many projects now. I am on a global tour, I came to Armenia from Ukraine. In the recent years, I am among the jury of France’s Got Talent, I’ll be among the jury until Christmas. In addition, there are many TV shows and I am preparing a new album.

#CultTalk is a new ARMENPRESS exclusive featuring interviews with both Armenian and foreign artists, singers, actors and other show-business stars.


Presented by Roza Grigoryan

Photo credit – Mkhitar Khachatryan


Austrian Chancellor Kurz urges to stop Turkey’s EU accession talks


Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz condemned Turkey’s military operations in Syria and urged the EU to stop that country’s accession talks, Sputnik News reports.

“The talks on membership between the European Union and Turkey should be ended taking into account the systematic violations of human rights and essential democratic values, and because the Copenhagen Criteria [rules defining if the state is ready to join the European Union] are not implemented anymore”, Kurz said in an interview to the Welt magazine.

But the Austrian Chancellor added that Turkey still remains the EU’s key strategic partner with which the cooperation should continue within the policy of good neighborliness.

English – translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan


Armenia on the path to sustainable tourism development


In order to ensure sustainable tourism development Armenia, local self-governments, state bodies and private sector should cooperate for better outcomes. Mekhak Apresyan – first vice president of the State Tourism Committee, told reporters, Armenpress reports.

During the discussion titled Tourism Development Issues in Armenia, Apresyan said Armenia is in the process of implementation of the goal on sustainable tourism development.

“If we talk about the problems, it doesn’t mean that we are in a bad situation. Armenia has significant achievements. Armenia, being a very young tourism country, managed to reach significant increase in number of incoming tourism visits in this period of more than a decade. Over the past ten years the number of incoming tourism visits to our country has tripled reaching 1 million 500 thousand” Apresyan said.

According to him, Armenia provides high-quality service in the field of tourism, but it must not be limited to this.

He told reporters that according to the Government’s program, the number of incoming tourists to Armenia must be reached at least 3 million by 2022, complex actions must be taken and the service quality must be strengthened.

“In addition to development of infrastructures and the country’s accessibility, a great importance is attached to the development of human resource, in particular, providing the field with personnel in accordance with the high demand. Actions must be taken in the education system aimed at solving this issue, in other words, there must be cadres who will comply with the demands”, Mekhak Apresyan said. 

He also highlighted the need to study foreign languages – Persian, Russian, English and etc, especially among the tour guides and those who conduct service in tourism field.

“Our markets gradually expand, and this is one of the tasks of the state policy. Today already for us China is a targeted and promising market. The issue of visas for Chinese people has further been facilitated with the country, they can receive visa on the border, also online. And thus we will need people specialized in Chinese. Korea as well is a very interesting market for us”, Apresyan said, adding that this year the first charter flight from Korea will launch.


English – translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan

EU Frozen On The Issue Of Karabakh Conflict

YEREVAN, MARCH 6, ARMENPRESS.  Italian news outlet eastwest.eu has published an article about the “frozen” position of the EU on the hot conflict of Nagorno Karabakh.

ARMENPRESS reports author of the article Valentina Brini writes, “They call it “frozen conflict”, but 30 years after the first attempt to detach from Azerbaijan, an exhausting trench warfare continues to kill people in the self-proclaimed republic of the Caucasus. So far Brussels has turned away, but is now getting closer to Armenia and things start moving in Brussels. The self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR) is the only one standing up for itself, wrapped in the silence of others, including the European Union. A distant name, a small piece of land between two former Soviet republics, Armenia and Azerbaijan where since 1994 – at the end of a conflict that began in 1988 and claimed the lives of about 30 thousand people – soldiers and civilians have been dying in a trench warfare.

The post-Soviet conflict is today a sort of Crimea the EU does not look at. The European External Action Service declares that it is incompetent on the matter and limits its contribution to the financing of certain NGOs – under the aegis of the EPNK – and to the support of the Minsk Group”.

Afterwards, she quotes the positions of EU officials on the conflict. “There is no military solution,” EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said in February. “The resumption of high-level dialogue in Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva is an important development”, she underlined, calling for the parties to “intensify the negotiations and reduce the tension on the line of contact”. “We believe that the status quo is unsustainable. We need a political solution, in accordance with international law “, she added.

A sense of historical justice is what the people of Nagorno-Karabakh needs Czech journalist Jaromir Stetina said this during a conference in the European Parliament (28 February), conference organised by the European Friends of Armenia and AGBU Europe.

“Supporting de-mining activities in the region, one of the world’s most mined areas, and monitoring the respect of human rights is the least we can do,” said military surgeon Eleni Theocharous.

“Direct involvement of Nagorno-Karabakh at the negotiation table with Armenia and Azerbaijan is a way to achieve something,” said Frank Engel and Lars Adaktusson.

Ten concrete proposals to overcome paralysis: from a space for exchanges between Azeri and Armenian civil societies, to NGOs meetings in both Yerevan and Baku. And then again, programs on health, education in support of the communities affected by the conflict on both sides of the line of contact, monitoring activities for human rights, impact on the younger generations.

Journalist of Armenian-Bulgarian origin, Tsvetana Paskaleva said: “The people of Nagorno-Karabakh want to be part of this world, I am proud to know them and I know that they are ready to be recognized”.

English –translator/editor: Tigran Sirekanyan