Happiness for me means living a life with Love – Adam Rapa Prominent trumpet-player Adam Rapa performed on September 7 with the Armenian state jazz orchestra in Yerevan. The Armenian audience was admired not only Rapa’s performing style but his works which excite and inspire. If to describe his works in short, the words ‘will’, ‘sun’, ‘hope’ come into mind. Rapa is also a distinguished teacher and has presented CDs with video classes to Armenia’s educational establishments. Nyut.am has conducted an interview with the world famous trumpet-player. - If not a musician, what profession would have you chosen? -There’s no way I could imagine myself being anything other than a musician. It’s just so unrealistic to give a “second option”. I’ve always been a musician, since childhood. It’s not just a career, it’s an entire way of life, a way of relating to the world. Of course there are other things I love doing, but in order for me to not be a musician, I’d have to be incapable of having any career whatsoever. - Have you ever tried to play Armenian duduk? -Although I’ve listened to many recordings of duduk, I never tried playing one. However, I did get one while on my trip to Armenia, so I’ll definitely give it a try. -What did you mostly like in Yerevan? -I enjoyed Yerevan very much. The out-door market was nice, and especially the our-door art exhibition. Very few cities have such a thing. I enjoyed that the city didn’t go to sleep early. There were many restaurants and other things open quite late, which is good for a night-owl like me. I also really enjoyed eating at a wonderful restaurant by the water, where I experienced the wonderful Armenian barbecue tradition in a beautiful, natural environment. -Which is your chief characteristic? -When I decide to do something, I devote myself to it 100%. I fully commit to doing it to the best of my ability. For me, if I can’t be passionate about doing something, it’s not worth my time and effort. And if I am passionate about it, I’m willing to work unbelievably hard at it. Even if it’s something like vacuuming, where there’s really no passion involved, I still do the best job I can. Why do anything less? -What qualities do you mostly value in man? -When interacting or working with someone, I value honesty and kind-hearted intentions above everything else. Even if someone is not kind, as long as they are honest, I’m ok with that. I very much prefer for people to tell me very clearly what they want and what they don’t want. This makes things much ease to interact or work with people. Hidden agendas and unspoken expectations make things much more difficult and less rewarding. I’m always looking for clarity so that I understand what I can do to best effect any situation. This also relates to trust and trustworthiness. Without being able to trust someone’s actions or intentions, it’s impossible for me to enjoy our interaction. And with kind-heartedness, that basically means treating other people the way we want to be treated, even when they have different lifestyles or values that don’t coincide with our own. This is a general principle of respecting everyone, not being judgmental or discriminatory (racist, sexist, etc.) and certainly not violent.
-What’s your idea of happiness? Wow, big question. I’ll try to keep the answer short. Basically, happiness for me means living a life with Love. Having a loving partner, and great friends is most important. Also, having positive musical experiences, traveling experiences and other opportunities for me to make other people happy, which is a big source of happiness for me. -Who are your favorite poets? -Rumi, Pablo Neruda, E.E. Cummings -What do you hate? -Nothing really. I wish the world was free of violence, greed and other awful human traits, but I wouldn’t say I hate them. I recognize them as survival instincts gone out of balance. However, some things I consider terribly disgraceful about the human race are: the America political system, Sharia law, racism, humanity’s short-sighted lack of environmental protection policies, and the way that globalization is wiping out indigenous cultures around the world to make way for more McDonalds and The Gap. To name a few… What do you regret for? I don’t actually have any regrets. If past situations and opportunities repeated themselves in similar situations now, I wouldn’t make all of the same types of choices, but I’m happy with where I am and what I’m doing, so there’s no room for regret. Any regret I may have felt earlier in my life was cleared by my mother just before she died. She very gracefully showed me complete acceptance of who I was, and how I was, while growing up, as well as accepting everything else that happened in her life. That forgiveness and acceptance helped me to accept and let go of many things. It was a very profound gift she gave me. Who are your heroes in real life? Number one is my mother, Sandra. She made so many things possible for me, despite many years of illness and other hardships. Simply put, she is the biggest reason why I am the person and musician that I am today. Very few people are lucky enough to have had such a wonderfully supportive and empowering mother. My friend Mike Welch, who was an incredibly inspiring person before becoming paralyzed from the sternum down, and since then has demonstrated unbelievable strength and perseverance. He has definitely become a standard of personal excellence who inspires and motivates me constantly. Dave Monette, the greatest trumpet maker in the world, and thankfully, the man who makes my trumpets and is also a very close friend. Because he believes in me and my musical vision, he has supported me in many ways. He built two custom trumpets and countless mouthpieces for me, free of charge, despite his usual policy of not giving people free horns. This is the only way I could be playing on such wonderful instruments, because there’s no way I could have afforded to pay for them. This has helped me to experience a higher level of artistry and musical gratification than I ever could otherwise. Also, he has done a lot to help promote me around the world, which has been a huge help for my career. Many people have ideas which are far greater than the money or opportunities they have to bring those ideas to life. Dave has helped make
many things possible for me that I could not have done for myself, which is why he is one of my heroes. You are so positive, which is your motto? I don’t have a motto, but I’ll name a few standards I try to live by: * “The Golden Rule”: “Treat others the way you would like them to treat you.” * In the tradition of Reiki, a healing practice of which I am a practitioner & teacher, there’s a list of five principles to be recited every day: 1. Just for today I will not be angry. 2. Just for today I will not worry. 3. Just for today I will do my work honestly. 4. Just for today I will honor my family. 5. Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings. Nobody is perfect and nobody can accomplish all five of these things every single day, (especially numbers 1 & 2!) but they are wonderful goals to have in mind every day. Author: Aida Martirosyan