Seattle debut/US tour
The octet Shoghaken (Show-gah-ken) Ensemble from Armenia makes its Seattle debut on its second stop of its 17-city U.S. tour. Drawing upon Armenian ancient traditions, Shoghaken renders lullabies, folk dances and love songs from Armenia’s various regions. And the ensembles’ array of Armenian folk musicians promises to capture its audiences with virtuoso performances and music from the
famed Silk Road. Shoghaken will be performing at the Meany Theater at the University of Washington (Seattle) on Saturday, April 3, 2004 at 8 p.m. (Information is provided at the end of this preview).
The Shoghaken Ensemble has already captured the ears of North American audiences. The Ensemble made their debut U.S. appearance in 2002, on an invitation by cellist Yo-Yo Ma when they performed at an elaborate festival featuring music of the Silk Road, hosted by the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
At the same time, the ensemble released their debut CD, Armenia Anthology, which received the AFIM award. And the ensemble’s music was featured on the soundtrack of Atom Egoyan’s film, Ararat.
The Shoghaken Ensemble’s 2004 U.S. tour coincides with the release of two more CDs, Traditional Dances of Armenia and Shoghaken vocalist Hasmik Harutyunyan’s Armenian Lullabies. Both CDs chronicle the ancient history and more recent events associated with Armenia. Informative liner notes and archival photographs embellish the recordings. Equally important is the lush music performed on the recordings that features the kamanche (spike fiddle), ud (lute), duduk (double reed pipe), zurna (double reed obo), kanon (zither), dhol (drum), a shepherd’s flute and other traditional instruments. The music draws comparisons and influences from neighboring countries Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran and the Middle East in general.
The Shoghaken Ensemble features performances by renowned vocalist sister and brother, Hasmik and Aleksan Harutyunyan as well as, some of the finest Armenian instrumental talent, including the ensemble founder and duduk virtuoso, Gevorg Gourgeni Dabaghyan. Other members include, Tigran Ambaryan (kamancha), Artur Arakelyan (ud), Karine Hovhannisyan (kanon), Kamo Khachaturian (dhol, percussion), Grigor Takushian (second duduk, dham) and Levon Tevanyan (shepherd’s flute). Apart from the ensemble the musicians have released numerous solo recordings between them and have made several noted radio and movie soundtrack appearances.
According to the ensemble’s record producer and general manager of Traditional Crossroads, Harold Hagopian, “No group has done as much to preserve Armenian music. Though they perform folk music, they were trained in Soviet times with the same rigorous focus as any classical musician. Each member can read music and interpret any style of Armenian music. That training and discipline has helped them explore and develop their own style. As a classical music producer at RCA Victor for more than ten years, I never saw more inspired or virtuosic musicianship.”
Information about the ensemble’s Seattle appearance can be found at www.uwworldseries.org or calling the UW Arts Ticket Office (206) 543-4880.
The Shoghaken Ensemble 2004 U.S. Tour Dates:
April 1 Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA
April 3 Meany Hall, Seattle, WA
April 5 Oregon State University, Eugene, OR
April 7 Sacramento, CA
April 8 UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
April 10 UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
April 12 California State University, Fresno, CA
April 15 Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
April 17 Old Town School of Music, Chicago, IL
April 18 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
April 20 Kimball Theatre, Williamsburg, VA
April 21 Kennedy Center (Millenium Stage), Washington, DC
April 22 Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC
April 24 Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
April 30 Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
May 2 Symphony Space, New York, NY
May 4 Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
May 8 The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, PA