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Sheram (Grigor Talyan), known as Gousan Sheram, was one of the most celebrated folk musician/songwriters in Armenia. Like Sayat Nova, Sheram created songs (playes) in pure Armenian tradition.
Born in Alexandrapol (currently renamed Gyumri), little Grigor spent most of his time at his father’s café, which was a gathering place for gousans. After his father’s death Sheram worked different day jobs and on his free time learned to play Armenian folk instruments. Soon he made a small group with like-minded musicians and performed in Yerevan, Tbilisi, Astrakhan and other cities in the Caucasus.
His first song-poem "Partezum Varder Batsvats" was published in 1900, in an Alexandrapol magazine. In 1907 Sheram had his "Love and Fight" songbook published, which included a song about Carl Marx.
Sheram’s music influenced not only generations of folk artists but also many classical composers who were interested in Armenian folklorism. One of them, California based young composer Edward Manukyan, said:
"In Sheram’s music human individuality is almost reduced to zero, its spirit is so profoundly national. It seems he sings from the hearts of all his people. That’s why he is genius, and centuries will pass before people really discover him."