You can purchase my debut self-produced album #TheWorldtoCome on May 15th. I will share the links then! It will be available for purchase via @iTunes & streamable via @AppleMusic @Spotify @TIDAL & more. Don’t forget to also watch the video for #Lavash – the single off the album, below! You can also here the second single off the album #OntheInside (Love & Pomegranates) below. Show dates, merch & more available at www.DannyKrikorian.com. Stay tuned for an official write-up/review on my album & artistry. Thank you for your patience & enjoy!
Produced by Danny K (Krikorian & Company) (c)
Man I’m humbled to take the stage with these magnificent musicians of all manifestations. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my sufi revelations with you // special thanks to Red Lion Pub for having us:
new piece: ‘Ottoman Child’ … listen!
art & music by moi
There are so many opportunities I, and many like me, were denied due to institutional obstacles for immigrants, even one like me, who has lived in the US since he was 6. That was in 1996. It’s now 2016, and I’m 28. I still have no status anywhere except Syria, my home country, which for the most part, has been ravaged by yet another global war.
My story begins in Riyadh. I was born there because like most Arab expatriates, my father found work in Saudi. I am of the so-called generation from Riyadh.
When I moved to the US, it was for similar reasons – cultural freedom, economic opportunity – the sort of scarce liberalism you could not find in the Middle East anymore. Especially after the fall of the Shah, the Lebanese Civil War, and the post-WWII era which saw a combination of colonialism, religious extremism, sectarianism and political primitiveness in the form of authoritarianism – hopes for freedom of any kind were wishful thinking.
Now, I’m 28, searching to establish my footing in America – specifically here in Orlando, FL. Though I know I belong in New York, or LA. I need to be there now. I wish to act too, and direct – put this novel[s] of mine into action. I have come across obstacles here too though, in America. They have been social and economic, since in the free world, democracy limits conflict between civilians – at least to a certain degree relative to non-democracies, where law and order are swept under a dirty rug of lies blood and slander. What I mean is, democracy means we compete without violence – but that doesn’t guarantee justice. Unfortunately nothing or no one can – but God. Trusting any man or group of men with too much power is dangerous though. In the West, struggles are social – against conformity and pressure, and financial coercion [socio-economic]; whereas in the East coercion is more socio-political.
But I was born to be free. Like all humans. Only, I knew, that unlike all humans I must somehow gain the courage, by God, to rise above the average, and fulfill my individual destiny, completely, and wholly. I pray each human can accomplish it, but bearing such a burden is not my responsibility. In fact that has precisely slowed me down. Because people know what I am capable of, and instead of allowing it to flourish completely, they wish to allow it only flourish subtly which I cannot afford because that is not my destiny. I know that. I have always believed it, but they have tried to convince me otherwise. The so-called “THEY” does it – as DJ Khaled calls it. I cannot flourish economically or artistically or morally if I am not to be myself fully and that person is not who my so-called partners but actual competitors do not understand. I do not care anymore. I must flourish. I understand that freedom also means people fail – but I believe in my destiny. It is true, that might either believe it blindly, not possess any talent and so forth – but in my case I don’t think this is so. That is my conviction. I do believe that existence and being is perfect and that destiny triumphs in the end. That being said, I must present particular products and sell them as they are intended, eternally.
That could not be done anywhere but in the freest of the all nations – America.
But even here, I have also encountered political distress, mainly because, after 9/11 the immigration process disenfranchised people like me living inside the US, and people outside. The truth is I am now realizing what it means to be an American citizen, while still being so distant from that reality.
It’s like a ship sailing away from the statue of liberty, but always remaining close enough so that the passengers onboard can still see it.
That is the metaphor of my position.
And even then, I have still striven. I have been persistent and ambitious. In the face of my social dilemmas, and competitors, who, through peer pressure, seek to stifle my growth and potential. I have striven in the face of inhumane institutionalized delays and political injustices. I am the child of immense political injustices [Armenian Genocide; Syrian Crisis], a history stained with much betrayal [Autocracy; Zare; Courage]. I was denied financial aid of all sorts, scholarships, grants, basic public aid – due to my immigrant status.
I thank God for all these feats despite the setbacks, as He makes it all possible. I currently create music as Danny K, my brand, despite many struggles against my competitors as well as with the industry itself. Furthermore, I am enrolled as an MA student at UCF – studying political science, which I hope to utilize in the future in diplomacy, research, writing and teaching.
But the story of my life is of two portions, past and future.
And the future is upon which legacies are made.
The legacy of mine and my family and our Creator shall triumph.
Though troubling, our past has led us to this fine point of no return.
It is time to uncover my personal legend fully. I have delayed it long enough, have I not? For my self and my family, I must do this. But most importantly, for God.
To celebrate this wonderful day, I’d like to give you guys a flashback to one of my favorite songs.
Remember, “Afraid to be King”? That sample though!
Dear world: I’ve decided to rebrand as Danny K, my original title. I do this for my Creator, for my family, and for my home countries, Syria & Armenia [The Middle East at large – Falastin], for my grandfather’s legacy of ingenious, and finally, perhaps selfishly, for myself.
From now on you can follow me on all social media outlets [Twitter, Instagram & Facebook] via @dannyk1988/@dannykrikorian.
New album coming SOON.
It will be available via Spotify, TIDAL & Apple Music/iTunes – this September.
Stay tuned for more updates. Show dates TBA. Visit the store to purchase new shirts for the upcoming album & to preorder a physical copy of the album itself.
Islamic liberalism is not a myth, but to assume that it seeks to mimic the West, ignores that the West itself has shortcomings in the realm of authentic liberalism.
It becomes difficult to gauge really what is the so-called problem ailing the Middle East, when one does so from a perspective shaped by Occidentalism – which has academics arguing that individual rights were born in the West.
The premise is based on the birth of individualism in the 12th century on to the 18th century. This period saw an emergence of anti-elitism.
But development and modernization, which swept the West, but drastically missed the rest of the world, to varying degrees.
But the West’s vast advantage in development is not because of its individualism. Instead it is because the West is more inclined toward a culture of subjugation and exploitation – instead of enriching itself and others. As a result, it has developed faster, often building upon the miseries of others, illegally.
Furthermore, the Middle East’s struggle with foreign intervention, or colonialism, or imperialism, or neoconservatism, or whatever you want to call it these days since words these days lose meaning, has even worsened and confused our understanding of religion.
People forget really what the Prophet Muhammad’s initial message was about. This gets confused with sensitivity and motive. In my case, the pursuit of truth is my motive, whether that upsets me or not. But my faith is strong, in Allah, and so I do not fall to doubt.
Islam, is a culture. But the culture itself has become domineering. We can blame Muslims, but that ignores history. The Middle East suffers most from this. It is underdeveloped but most importantly, it is ravaged by instability and violence.
The Middle East is vibrant. It is the home of many religions, stories and nationalities.
While Islam is a rich part of that history, it is not the only part.
More importantly, religion should be neither compulsive nor imposing.
If the Middle East embraced Abrahamic monotheism more closely, it would find that judging others is unholy. In fact, to judge is to assume the role of God – the exact sin of the devil. We forget Iblis sought to play the role of God’s spokesperson?
Dogma has engulfed the Middle East. Individualism has been made scarce. That is because religious sensitivity, political instability and envy have together, created a scenario of perpetual unrest, casting a shadow over individuals of excellence in the Middle East, and instead, bringing into the limelight, the radicals, fools and those who slander the region’s reputation.
If Western countries were not nitpicking at the Middle East’s every corner, there would be an opportunity for modernization, no matter how different. Instead, the Middle East was infiltrated by misleading pursuits of glorification.
The West juggled fascism and communism, and injected them into every corner of the world.
How then can the West be the harbinger – the origin – of liberalism?
Do you think African-Americans, or Native-Americans believe that narrative?
How about Muslim-Americans?
The world is struggling between cultures.
And the so-called “rational world” which is in reality merely a civilization built on voluntary exploitation. The spirit of domination fuels the Western cultural and political machine. This has given it the courage to exploit. It injected communism into China. It injected fascism into Europe and South America. In the Middle East, it has played into the hands of fascism.
The Middle East is home to Islam but it is also home to religions like Christianity, Judaism, or the more taboo Zoroastrianism, Yazidism, Shiism and so on. These diversities have been eclipsed by imperialism, democratic imposition and radicalization. To battle clerical radicalism, historically states in the Middle East equipped robust security apparatuses. The grievances of the Middle Eastern people include many, but the promise of democratic institutionalism is not their guaranteer of salvation. Democracy is just pretty fascism. The woes of the Middle East are economic, social, and political.
Our rich history, and our eternal future, cannot be cultivated, or secured by social systems designed by ideology and not spirituality infused. The two must respect one another, both science and religion.
Order, merit, stability, institution, and bureaucracy, are not dependent on democracy and are in fact almost threatened by the potential of democracy to lead to mob-rule. Insert Donald Trump or Adolf Hitler quote here.
Ultimately, a careful semblance of absolute rule and popular sovereignty is the best possible system we can design [parliamentarian monarch in the west; shah/majlis in the East]. Anything else almost guarantees the prevalence of dogma and tyranny. The West has arrived at fascist neoconservatism through democratic mob-rule. It has divided and exploited the Middle East, and thus we have an environment absent of liberty, peace and stability.
This is not a case against democracy, but rather, a containment of Western imperial overreach.
The greatest purveyor of social justice, which includes, autonomy, sovereignty, private property, tolerance and personal freedom, has historically not been democratic in the Middle East, but unfortunately more authoritarian, given the dynamic created by foreign powers. Even if the Middle East were the world’s greatest power, it would likely not choose democracy because political representation is not a cultural priority in the Middle East or the Islamic/Arab World. The priorities include family values, religious devotion and national loyalty. Personal ambitions are considered but not wholly.
Only through this recognition can the Middle East be free of subjugation and calamity.
May there one day be peace in the Middle East. Only then will such hope be no longer a fleeting prayer but rather a perpetual reality.
To the world to come.
Let it be known though that I am a Muslim, socially liberal and devout – though I do believe in authority and order – and that both irreligion [libertine] and radicalism [conservative] are two sides of the same coin, sort of like communism and capitalism. The eradication of both, is a triumph for Muslims everywhere, of all orientations.
“He who is conceited cheats himself.”
A quote from my grandfather Yervant, a truly magnificent spirit in all his splendor. He came to this country in 1920 to study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the first ever Armenian-Syrian to do so, but was unable to stay due to troubles at home. I dedicate my pursuit of life’s wonder to him, from whom I have inherited this deeply embedded ambition.
Donald Trump has amassed quite the voter base.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us who understand the historical roots of racism in America.
For those who are in denial about it, it appears more difficult to grasp.
Let us remember that today, minorities suffer the worst economic hardships in America.
Public services are more than limited; and representation in politics is scarce.
Even then, the American people have resisted drastic political changes that might address our domestic inequalities. Furthermore, Americans are blindly obedient to media-disbursed narratives about our national security, which also ignore the complicity of America’s past century of foreign policy decisions that have made us the target of terrorists and provoked the rise of radicalism to begin with.
Donald Trump is exploiting the cultural paranoias afflicting the ordinary white man in America today who is too disillusioned with America’s apparent stagnation.
But the struggles of the white man are incomparable to those endured by the disenfranchised communities of minorities.
Progressivism itself has taken a halt due to the resilience of right-wing nationalism, which has crept into the left-wing too, via the likes of Hillary Clinton and that camp of centrist democrats.
But as previously mentioned this comes as no surprise.
The cultural revolution and awakening in America must address the grievances of immigrants and minorities as it does those of the average white American in order for change to be possible.
Bernie Sanders was unable to rally much of the minority communities, though his run remains impressive. His unconventional policies are ideal, but far from complete.
He hasn’t fully conceded yet, but the likely battle will be fought between Trump and Clinton.
Regardless, Clinton is better for the world than Trump, but she is worse than Bernie.
Our choices are not diverse; and our powers are limited.
Change must happen; but depending on political outcomes; it might get ugly before it gets pretty.