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Karapetê Xaço or Karabêtê Xaço or Gerabêtê Xaço (Armenian language: Կարապետ Խաչո ) (September 3, 1900[1] or 1903 or 1908[2] - January 15, 2005), was an Armenian singer of traditional Kurdish dengbêj music.

Karapetê Haço was born in the village of Bileyder (now called Binatlı, Batman, in Batman province, Turkey) in the Ottoman Empire to an Armenian family in 1900. In 1915, he witnessed the annihilation of his village during the Armenian Genocide. Xaço, his brother Abraham, and sisters Manuşak and Xezal survived the massacre because a soldier said Let's free them and allow them to go as he had lost his parents. He was saved by his knowledge of Kurmanji and his singing talent.[3]

At a young age, he began taking a liking for music and would sing old Kurdish folk songs that were passed on through generations. He worked as a mercenary soldier in the French Foreign Legion for nearly 15 years.[4] He married Yeva of the Azizyan family in the Syrian city of Qamishli, where he was a legionnaire in 1936.[5] They had four daughters and a son. He and his family migrated to Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and settled in Yerevan in 1946.[1] He formulated his experiences of the genocide.[6] Karapete Xaço worked for the Kurdish language service of Yerevan Radio[4] and was popular among the Kurdish people.

Xaço later became one of the greatest recorders of Dengbêj music, a form of singing that often tells a story. He died on January 15, 2005.[4]

The hundreds of Kurdish dengbêj songs are considered to be one of the key elements in preserving Kurdish culture and history. Xaço was best known for singing and recording the traditional songs "Ay lo mîro", "Adullê", "Çume Cizîre", "Xim ximê", and "Lê dayikê". Since he recorded them, variations of these songs have been recorded by several different artists to this day.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Salihe Kevirbiri, Bir Çığlığın Yüzyılı: Karapetê Xaço, Si Yayınları, İstanbul, 2002, ISBN 975-6560-13-4, p. 66. (Turkish)
  2. Abidin Parıltı, Dengbêjler: Sözün Yazgısı, İthaki Yayınları, İstanbul, 2006, ISBN 975-273-279-8, p. 128. (Turkish)
  3. Christopher de Bellaigue, Rebel Land: Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010, ISBN 978-0-7475-9676-9, p. 171.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Salihê Kevirbirî, The Armenian Origin Master Dengbêj in
  5. Kevirbiri, Bir Çığlığın Yüzyılı: Karapetê Xaço, p. 61. (Turkish)
  6. Nanci Adler, Memories of Mass Repression: Narrating Life Stories in the Aftermath of Atrocity, Transaction Publishers, 2009, ISBN 978-1-4128-0853-8, p. 185.


  • Mehmet Aktaş, Dengekî Zemanê Bere: Karapêtê Xaço: Voice from the Past (Belgium: Medya TV, 2000).

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