Posts Tagged ‘armenian music’


[Web Wrap]: Rock ‘n Roll Rebels – Bambir go from Strength to Strength.

September 22, 2010

By Onnik Krikorian via Oneworld Multimedia Blog

YEREVAN, Armenia – It’s well past midnight when Narek Barseghyan and Arman Kocharyan, lead guitarist and bassist with the Armenian rock band Bambir, return home. For once, they’ve decided to call it an early night, providing me with the opportunity to interview them over a bottle of vodka diluted down with orange juice.

Please continue reading here.


Credit: Onnik Krikorian / Oneworld Multimedia


[Armenian Landscapes]: Yeraz im Erkir HAYASTAN!

September 22, 2010

[Listening to Armenia]: John Psathas’ A Cool Wind

July 27, 2010

By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

“I have always been drawn to the duduk because of its supreme ability to give voice to grief…‘crying through music’ but at the same time…comforts and soothes.” – John Psathas

New Zealand-based composer of Greek origin, John Psathas, was learning about the tragic events of 1915 when he wrote the piece, A Cool Wind, for string quartet. Despite the distance in time and geography, he was digesting the horrors of Armenian history, having also affected his Greek ancestors in the 1920s. The piece, whose sound is influenced by the Armenian wind instrument, the duduk, grew as a journey of personal, cultural, and national grief, both mourning the past and breathing life into the present.

Composer, John Psathas

John Psathas.jpg

Credit: Nina Pearson

The emotions provoked a creative process of pen to music staff in which he aimed to emulate the singing human qualities of the duduk while letting the essence of the composition lead him onto the next note, through the next rhythmic pattern, into the creation of the next measure, until the life of the piece, as he said, would “communicate to me what it wants to become.”

I happened upon the premiere of A Cool Wind like a stroke of unavoidable fate shared between two people with common history. Commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand for the Takacs Quartet, the piece was premiered in the US at Carnegie Hall. I was there for the standard quartets of Schumann and Beethoven so thoughtfully and gently evoked by the Quartet’s famously mature and fluid sound. But nestled unexpectedly between two Western greats, A Cool Wind’s layered silky texture immediately pulled me into a different realm of mystery, question, and elusive answer.

The piece not only carries the duduk’s singing quality of elongated, thoughtful and sorrowful tones (Psathas was influenced by the mesmerizing aura of Djivan Gasparyian’s playing) but captures at the same time a feeling of forward movement. Listening, I felt the past as an entity always present, reminding us, like a wind wafting over and passing on, while always subtly propelling us forward.

“More than anything, this small piece of mine, so tiny in the scale of human experience, is an offering: of remembrance, of hope, of sadness and suffering but mostly of solace.” – John Psathas

Here is a midi rendition of the string quartet, A Cool Wind.


[Armenian Life]: Aram Khachaturian & The Rolling Stones.

July 22, 2010

By Celine Kaladjian

For years I’ve known that our personal interests have paths that will often never cross. Sometimes, however, they do. I admit it. I am and will always be a rock ’n’ roll fan. I am talking about real rock ’n’ roll here — not popish-californian pseudo punk rock. As Keith Richards put it, “Everyone talks about rock these days; the problem is they forget about the roll.”

Aram Khachaturian


Credit: Unknown

To my greatest surprise, during my stay in Armenia last year, I discovered that I have a real enthusiasm for this type of music. Let me just say that the wonderful Beatles bar on Pushkin Street and the Irish Pub on Parapetsi Street in Yerevan became my nightly headquarters.

The Rolling Stone Mobile Studio


Credit: Unknown

But what would you say if I told you The Rolling Stones and Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian have something in common? Believe it or not, they do. In 1968, The Rolling Stones, tired of not being able to record tracks whenever and wherever they wished, conceived their own Rolling Stone Mobile Studio. Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, The Who, among others, recorded albums in this high-tech facility.

The Rolling Stone Mobile Studio


Credit: Unknown

Initially brought to Europe in 1971 for the Montreux Festival, eight years later this studio was transported to the USSR (now Latvia). The purpose of this trip was to record Khatchaturian’s ballet Gayaneh, performed by the Latvian ballet company Riga. And this was one year after Aram Khachaturian had passed away. This ballet became famous worldwide when it was used for the soundtrack to “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

So now if you hear this live record, think of The Rolling Stones. Or vice-versa.

The Rolling Stone Mobile Studio


Credit: Unknown


[Web Wrap]: The Remarkable Duduk.

June 21, 2010

Dating back more than 3,000 years, the Duduk is one of oldest double reed instruments in the world. It’s been called the only true Armenian instrument and a symbol of Armenian national identity. Listen to its beautiful sound here while played during a Yanni concert.


[Armenian Life]: Vahan Artsruni.

June 3, 2010

By Hasmik Manukyan

Vahan Artsruni is one of Armenia’s most prominent modern musicians. His rich blend of folk, academic, and rock music remains loyal to deep-rooted traditions and his concerts are compositions of progressive rock, chamber, choir, and symphonic music.

This year, Artsruni initiated an attractive array of concerts, including a few “underground” performances. The next one will be held on July 25 at Komitas Music Chamber Hall in Yerevan. These mark the rebirth of similar shows organized during the Soviet period when Artur Meschyan’s “underground” concerts were prevalent.

Vahan Artsruni



Born in 1965, Artsruni first came to attention in 1984 as a band member for legendary Armenian minstrel and rock musician Arthur Meschian. He graduated Yerevan State Medical Institute, earned his master’s degree in 1991, and in 1995 he entered the Yerevan State Conservatory. Since 1991, he has performed with the Narek Male Choir, the State Academic Cappella of Armenia, and Haysmavourk Medieval Choir. In 1997, he performed with the Armenian National Symphonic Orchestra with his instrumental cycle Ethnophonica at the Aram Khachaturian Big Concert Hall. In 1999, he completed his album Komitas: Ten Revelations, having composed the music based on the poetry of the great Armenian composer and ethnomusicologist Komitas Vardapet. In 2000, Vahan created his band Artsruni, whose members include guitarist Vahagn Amirkhanyan; flautist Arman Manukyan; bassist Artour Molitvin; drummer Levon Akhverdyan; and percussionist Lilit Akhverdyan.

A well-known creative director and organizer of numerous TV and radio programs, music festivals, and concerts, Artsruni has also recorded many CDs (some of which have been published in France, USA, Russia, and Australia), a DVD, movie soundtracks, and has participated in exhibitions and theatre performances.

“During all these years I worked with many people who left the country. All those musicians are not here any more. All they are leaving… Why should I go? This is my country…why do I need to leave it… I will stay as long as it is possible to live and breathe freely/peacefully.”

– Vahan Artsruni

I wish Armenian talents and devoted artists like Vahan Artsruni will never leave their homeland…

Vahan Artsruni Discography

Vahan Artsruni’s official blog.

Vahan Artsruni on Twitter.


[Listening to Armenia]: Ara Dinkjian’s 21st Century Oud.

May 27, 2010

By Daniele Faye Sourian Sahr

In a time when we are used to new gadgets coming into our lives on a yearly basis (iThis, iThat, iWant, iNeed), it is hard to imagine that our short insignificant lives characterized by the shortest attention spans ever known in human history have nevertheless managed to keep alive an interest in gadgets even older than the first popular PC (that would be the Altair 8800).

The Oud doesn’t come with any sophisticated apps, LED back-light display or even oleo phobic coating (that means no oily fingerprints!). But it does come with an extraordinary 3500+ year history of music making throughout the Middle East, just as alive today as it was deep in the BC years. And with the help of sophisticated players, like the renowned Ara Dinkjian, this fret-less ancestor of the Western lyre can quickly distract a 21st century iEquipped audience and hold them in a reverie.

Ara Dinkjian on Oud at Alwan for the Arts

Ara Dinkjian_Calista DeJesus.jpg

Credit: Calista DeJesus

In a recent performance at Alwan for the Arts in New York City, Ara performed with friends in a jazz-crosses-Middle-Eastern-folk set of works. New tunes and standards were weaved intricately with threads of improvisational turns passed between hypnotizingly expert players. Alwan’s unassuming gimmick-less 4th floor room was packed with a hooked audience either clapping to complex enlivened beats or leaning in transfixed to a sorrowful melody. We were captured in a timeless moment of old meeting new. We were living together the enduring musical expression of the human condition, BC through AD, sans iPad.

Of course, I wouldn’t necessarily give up the new gadgets just because the ancient are so engrossing. After all, without my PC, digital camera, and a little broadband, I wouldn’t be able to share this part of the evening with you, here. Along with Ara Dinkjian on Oud, the video features Tamer Pinarbashi (Kanun), Ismail Lumanovski (Clarinet), and Seido Salifoski (Percussion).