Artist Profiles: Ara Dinkjian

Ara Dinkjian

Ara Dinkjian is an Armenian born in the United States in 1958. His earliest professional musical experience was accompanying his father Onnik Dinkjian, a renowned Armenian folk and liturgical singer.

Ara learned several western and eastern instruments (piano, guitar, darbuka, clarinet) and in 1980 graduated from the Hartt College of Music, earning the country’s first and only special degree in the instrument for which he has become most well-known, the oud. For the past 35 years, he has continued his post as organist in the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Throughout his musical life, Ara has continued to develop his highly personal compositional style which blends his eastern and western roots. In 1985, to help realize these compositions and musical concepts, Ara formed his instrumental quartet, Night Ark, which recorded four CDs for RCA/BMG and Universal/PolyGram.

Night Ark’s recordings and concert tours were highly influential for musicians and music lovers throughout the world because they demonstrated how music can move forward while still retaining the dignity and soul of one’s culture.

These compositions have had a universal appeal; his songs have been recorded by world famous instrumentalists and singers in thirteen different languages, demonstrating that music does indeed unite people and cultures. His hit song “Dinata, Dinata” was performed at the closing ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Many of his compositions have appeared in movie and television soundtracks.

Ara is also considered one of the best oud players in the world, with a very personal style that emphasizes his uniquely beautiful tone. He has appeared throughout the world on concert stages, oud festivals, seminars, and master classes.

His CDs ‘An Armenian In America’, ‘Voice Of Armenians’, and ‘Peace On Earth’ were recorded live at the 2005, 2006, and 2007 Jerusalem International Oud Festivals.

In 2010, Ara Dinkjian formed The Secret Trio, along with clariner virtuoso Ismail Lumanovski (New York Gypsy All-Stars) and qanun maestro Tamer Pinarbasi. The ensemble performs Turkish, Balkan Roma (Gypsy) and Armenian music.

He continues to compose, perform, record, and teach, while creating his own unique musical landscape.

Discography

Moments (Novus, 1988)
Picture, with Night Ark (Novus, 1990)
In Wonderland, with Night Ark (Polygram Records, 1998)
Treasures, with Night Ark (Traditional Crossroads, 2000)
An Armenian In America (Krikor Music, 2005)
Voice Of Armenians (2006)
Peace On Earth (Krikor Music, 2007)
Soundscapes, with The Secret Trio (Traditional Crossroads, 2012)
Three of Us, with The Secret Trio (Traditional Crossroads, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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