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MUSIC >System of a Down to play first gig in Armenia to mark genocide centenary

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse

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This October 2, 2011 file photo shows US singer Serj Tankian as he performs with his band 'System Of a Down' during the last day of the Rock in Rio music festival, AFP Photo

This October 2, 2011 file photo shows US singer Serj Tankian as he performs with his band 'System Of a Down' during the last day of the Rock in Rio music festival, AFP Photo

U.S. rockers System of a Down will play a free show next year in Armenia to mark the centennial of the World War I-era mass killings, recognized by many countries as genocide.

The California hard rock band, whose four members are of Armenian heritage, announced a performance in Yerevan's Republic Square on April 23, a day ahead of the country's main commemorations.

System of a Down has long campaigned for recognition of the 1915 killings as genocide, but the performance will be the band's first in Armenia.

Lead singer Serj Tankian said that the band hoped to raise public consciousness through the performance and previous European dates, on what he called the "Wake Up the Souls Tour."       

"The important thing is also justice. If someone killed my family and burned my house down and I'm running after them for 100 years for them to turn around and say, 'Sorry,' what does that mean?" Tankian said in a video message released Nov. 23.

System of a Down have had a series of successful albums over the past decade and has often had a political edge, with the song "B.Y.O.B." notable for its criticism of the Iraq war.

The Beirut-born Tankian recently also wrote a symphonic piece to commemorate the genocide with New Zealand composer John Psathas.

November/26/2014

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