Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Profiles: Aurelio Martinez

Aurelio Martinez

Following in the footsteps of the legendary Parranderos from the Caribbean coast of Central America, and the great Andy Palacio, with an enchanting blend of African and Latin acoustic roots, Aurelio Martinez emerged as one of the most exceptional Garifuna artists of his generation.

Acclaimed for both his preservation and modernization of the Parranda musical tradition. In 2008, he was selected by the great African musician, Youssou N’Dour, to join the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

Aurelio Martinez was born into a family possessing a long and distinguished musical tradition in the small Garifuna community of Plaplaya in Honduras. He began playing guitar as soon as he was old enough to hold the instrument.

By the age of six he was regularly playing drums at social gatherings. Inspired by his grandmother and his father, he gathered a vast repertoire, which later enabled him to develop his own style.

He was an original member of the Garifuna All Star Band and worked and recorded with the legendary Andy Palacio. Along with Palacio, Rolando Sosa, Lugua Centeno, Chela Torres, Justo Miranda and others he recorded the Garifuna Soul album produced by Ivan Duran, a worldwide hit.



In 2017, Aurelio released Darandi, a selection of Aurelio’s favorite songs from his career, newly recorded. The CD is packaged as a 24-page hardback book with extended liner notes, archive photographs and illustrations.



Garifuna Soul (Stonetree Records, 2006)
Laru Beya (Sub Pop/Next Ambiance NXA 002, 2011)
Lándini (Real World Records, 2014)
Darandi (Real World Records, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Astor Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla – Photo by Charles Reilley.

Astor Pantaleón Piazzolla was born in the coastal city of Mar Del Plata, Argentina, in March of 1921. His parents were immigrants from southern Italy. Astor Piazzolla’s father, Vicente “Nonino” Piazzolla, was a storekeeper and craftsman. His mother, Asunta Mainetti, was a hairdresser and seamstress.

When he was three years old, he moved to New York City with his father. He lived there between 1924 and 1937, with a brief return to Mar del Plata in 1930. At age 9, his father gave him a bandoneon, which he had bought at a pawn shop for 19 dollars, as a birthday present. His father missed Argentina and its memorable tangos so he was interested in having his son learn how to play this popular musical style.

The young Astor Piazzolla learned how to play the bandoneon by himself, while he was living in the Bronx, in New York City. At the time, he played harmonica and his favorite musical genre was jazz. One of his neighbors, Hungarian pianist Bela Wilda (a disciple of Rachmaninov), introduced him to the music of Bach. Piazzolla liked that music so much that he tried to play with the bandoneon. Since he did not know how to read music, Wilda taught him to how to read and compose music. During the next four years, the only music Piazzolla played was classical music.

He was only thirteen years old when Carlos Gardel, the great Argentine tango singer and composer, heard him in New York and asked him to play in several recordings for his movie “El Día Que Me Quieras.” Gardel was so impressed with Piazzolla’s performance that he offered him the opportunity of touring with him throughout South America. Piazzolla rejected the offer and in 1937 he returned to Buenos Aires.

At 18, Piazzolla started playing the accordion and worked as an arranger for Anibal Troilo’s orchestra. In 1940 he composed a piece for Arthur Rubinstein, who was in Buenos Aires on tour. Rubinstein recognized Piazzolla’s talent and encouraged him to study composition with Alberto Ginastera, a famous Argentine classical music composer. Piazzolla studied eight years with Alberto Ginastera.

It was in 1946 when Piazzolla formed his own group to express his radical musical ideas, while at the same time he composed for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Astor Piazzolla started an important revolution in the world of tango between 1946 and 1948, by taking it from the dance floors to the concert halls. 

In 1950 Piazzolla left the orchestra to dedicate himself exclusively to composing. He started to win numerous composition awards in Argentina, the United States and France, where he was granted a scholarship to study with Nadia Boulanger. It was Boulanger who advised Piazzolla not to abandon his folk music roots. After returning from France, Piazzolla formed the famous Octeto (Octect) that revolutionized the music scene in Buenos Aires.

In 1956 he started performing tango concerts, developing a new perspective based in traditional tango. His concept was that tango is music to be listened to, not just music for dancing. This “Tango Nuevo” (New Tango) is a unique mix of traditional tango and the classical tradition. Astor Piazzolla took a folk music genre and created a complex interaction with classical music and jazz, creating forms such as contrapunto (counterpoint), fuga (fugue), and improvisation. 

Astor Piazzolla composed soundtracks for movies, operas, and music for television. He recorded over 40 albums and traveled throughout the globe, playing at some of the most important performing arts centers in the world.

Astor Piazzolla suffered a brain hemorrhage in Paris in 1990. He never recovered and died in Buenos Aires on July 4th of 1992.

In 2000 Oxford University Press published Astor Piazzolla, his Life and Music. The book was translated to Spanish and published in 2002 by El Ateneo de Buenos Aires. In 2003 Amadeus Press published A Memoir by journalist Natalio Gorin, who was Astor Piazzola’s friend for nearly two decades.

Partial Discography:

* El desbande (El Bandoneón EB-CD 2, 1947, remastered in 1989)
* Se armó (El Bandoneón EB-C 31, 1946/48, remastered in 1991)
* Adios Nonino (1960)
* Tiempo Nuevo (1962)
* La Guardia Vieja (1966)
* María de Buenos Aires (1968)
* Roma (1972)
* Libertango (1974)
* Reunión Cumbre (Summit), with Gerry Mulligan (1974)
* Piazzolla & Amelita Baltar (1974)
* Tango nuevo (WEA Music GmbH 250 168, 1974)
* Buenos Aires (1976)
* Il Pleut Sur Santiago (1976)
* Suite Punta Del Este (1982)
* Concierto de Nácar (1983)
* Aconcagua Tres Tangos, with SWF Rundfunkorchester (1983)
* The Vienna Concert (1984)
* Enrico IV (1984)
* Teatro Nazionale di Milano (1984)
* El exilio de Gardel (soundtrack, 1985)
* Tango: Zero Hour (American Clave 79469, 1986)
* The New Tango, with Gary Burton (1987)
* Sur (1988)
* La Camorra (1988)
* Bandoneón sinfónico (1990)
* The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango apasionado) (1991)
* Five Tango Sensations, with Kronos Quartet (1991)
* Original Tangos from Argentina (1992)
* The Lausanne Concert (Milan, 1993)
* Astor Piazzolla: The Central Park Concert (Chesky, 1994)
* Live At Bouffes Du Nord, con Milva (Polygram, 1998)
* Astor Piazzolla & Robert Goyeneche (RCA Victor, 1998)
* En Vivo En El Regina (1999)
* The Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night (Tango Apasionado), reissue (Nonesuch, 2000)
* Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival (Milan 35936, 2001)
* Live in Colonia, 1984 (Intution, 2003)
* Live in Tokyo 1982 (2004)
* The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzolla (World Music Network, 2005)
* Conciertos En Tokyo Por Segunda Vez 1984 (2006)


* Astor Piazzolla in Portrait (Opus Arte/BBC, 2005)
* Next Tango (Deutsche Grammophon, 2007)
* Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival (Milan Records, 2008)


* Piazzolla – Vuelvo al Sur: 10 Tangos and Other Pieces for Piano
* Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla by Maria Susana Azzi
* Astor Piazzolla – A Memoir by Natalio Gorin


Artist Profiles: Asleep at the Wheel

Asleep at the Wheel

Based in Austin, Texas, and propelled by fiddles, steel guitar, and the warm, smooth vocals of Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel is the United States’ longest-lived western swing band, the reigning kings of this jazz-infused, danceable style. They’ve honored western swing founder Bob Wills by performing his music even longer than he did.

Asleep at the Wheel is much more than a dance band. They’re an institution: an ever-shifting lineup (80 members to date) of like-minded musicians united under Ray Benson’s drive to carry the torch of big band Western Swing music far into the 21st Century. It is a mission that has won the band and Ray nine Grammy awards to date.

Benson’s love of music began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – far, far away from the city of Austin, Texas, which the Wheel has proudly called home for the last twenty-eight years. “I was born in 1951, and big band music was still very much around and in my community, it was still very much the thing,” Benson explains. “I played bass in my school stage band in tenth grade, and my musical director introduced us to Count Basie. And I knew jazz, because Philadelphia is a great jazz city. I was also into folk music, Chicago blues and country. My goal was to be more different than anybody, and that’s what Asleep at the Wheel was all about: doing roots music that was different and eclectic.”


* Comin’ Right at Ya (EMI, 1973)
* Asleep at the Wheel (Epic, 1974)
* Fathers & Sons (Epic, 1975)
* Texas Gold (Capitol, 1975)
* Wheelin’ & Dealin’ (Capitol, 1976)
* The Wheel (Capitol, 1977)
* Collision Course (Capitol, 1978)
* Served Live (Capitol, 1979)
* Framed (MCA, 1980)
* Asleep at the Wheel (MCA, 1985)
* 10 (Epic, 1987)
* Western Standard Time (Epic, 1988)
* Keepin’ Me Up Nights (Arista, 1990)
* Route 66 (Liberty, 1992)
* | A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys (Liberty, 1993)
* The Wheel Keeps on Rollin’ (Capitol, 1995)
* Back to the Future Now – Live at Arizona… (Sony, 1997)
* Merry Texas Christmas, Y’All (High Street, 1997)
* Ride with Bob (DreamWorks, 1999)
* Take Me Back to Tulsa (Evangeline, 2003)
* Wide Awake!: Live in Oklahoma (Delta, 2003)
* Live at Billy Bob’s Texas (Smith Music Group, 2003)
* Remembers the Alamo (Shout! Factory, 2003)
* Live from Austin, TX (New West, 2006)
* Reinventing the Wheel (Mega Force, 2007)
* Kings of Texas Swing (Cleopatra, 2007)
* Santa Loves to Boogie (MRI, 2007)
* Asleep at the Wheel with The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
* Willie and the Wheel, with Willie Nelson (Bismeaux, 2009)
* It’s a Good Day (Bismeaux, 2010)
* Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (Bismeaux, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Asika

Asika – Photo © for Sarawak Tourism Board

Asika is a group of contemporary traditional music, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Asika includes eight talented individuals dedicated to promoting Malaysia’s own brand of ‘world music’, in addition to contemporary pursuits.

“The musical elements that we produce based on Malay traditional music such as Zapin, Inang, Masri, Asli, Joget , Mak yong, Wayang Kulit and merge with modern composition for various musical expressions.”

Asika had performed nationally and worldwide such as New York, Los Angeles (USA) , Kobe (Japan), Tenerife Island (Spain), Venice (Italy), Jakarta (Indonesia), Albert Hall Lin ondon and many more.

All of Asika members graduated from National Arts Academy in various musical faculty. “The unique things about Asika is all of us can play other musical performances such as Wayang Kulit (Shadow Puppet), Mak Yong (a classical Malaysian theatre), Cak Lempong and Gamelan.”


Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin – Group leader. Gendang, Rebana, Serunai, Conga, Djembe, Darbuka, Vocal, Rebab and more.

Ismail Ahmed – Group Manager. Nylon guitar, Electric bass, Darbuka, & Vocal

Shamsul Zin – Instruments – Drum, Rebana, jembe, Darbuka, Piano, Cak lempong and more.

Mohd Fuad Mohammad – Piano & Accordion

Muhammad Radzi Abdul Wahid – Violin, Accordion & Modern Piano

Syarizan Sahamat – Djembe, Rebana, Conga, vocal, tabla and more.

Isyam Swardy Daud – Electric guitar, Nylon guitar & Gendang

Amira Sariyati Mohd Hatta – vocals

Web sites



Artist Profiles: Arsenio Rodriguez

Arsenio Rodriguez

Arsenio Rodriguez was a revolutionary figure in Cuban music during the 1940s. He was a bandleader, tresero (tres player) and percussionist, who developed the classic Cuban dance band. An expert in Congolese rhythms, he pushed African influences to the fore, refashioning the traditional septeto by adding the conga drum and two extra trumpets to give it much more power and scope, setting his syncopated tres style against the percussion.

Arsenio was born August 30, 1911 in Guira de Maricujes, in the Province of Matanzas. A tragic accident -he was kicked by a horse- as a young boy left him blind. He became known as “El Ciego Maravilloso,” the Blind Marvel.

His father gave Arsenio a small guitar when he was a young child. At the age of 15 years, Arsenio met Victor Feliciano, a carpenter who manufactured musical instruments. Victor taught him how to play guitar, maracas and bongos.

In the early 1930s Arsenio started his first group, Sexteto Boston, in the Hornos district. In 1937 Arsenio left the band to join Septeto Bellamar, which was led by Jose Interian, a trumpet player. This was an important step in Arsenio’s career. Several of his songs were recorded. Miguelito Valdes sang “Bruca Manigua” and “Funfuñando” with Orquesta Casino de Playa. Arsenio formed his own band in 1939. It was an innovative line-up, featuring tumbadora (conga), a piano, and trumpets. This format was named conjunto (ensemble).

During the 1940s some of Arsenio’s most famous compositions were recorded, including “A Belen le Toca Ahora,” “La Yuca de Catalina,” “Juventud Amaliana,” and La vida es un Sueño, his best-known bolero. His innovative use of the piano began with a young Ruben Gonzalez, who played on Rodriguez’s first recording in 1943, and developed over the years with Lili Martinez.

In 1948 Arsenio moved to New York. Most of his All Star band went to play with trumpetist Felix Chappotin. That group became the now legendary Conjunto Chappotin.

The period in the United States, the 1950s and 1960s, found Arsenio struggling to find radio hits. He experimented with jazz and had some success in New York.

Sadly, he died a poor man in Los Angeles in 1971, just when Cuban-inspired salsa was starting to become popular in New York and other cities.

Partial discography:

Errante y Bohemio
Cumbanchando Con Arsenio, Fiesta en Harlem
Como Se Goza En El Barrio: Havanna & NYC Recording
Perlas Cubanas: Necesito una Mujer Cocinera
Viva Arsenio
Ibrahim Ferrer y Chappottin vs. Miguelito Cuní y Arsenio Rodríguez
Dundunbanza 1946-1951


Artist Profiles: Arve Moen Bergset

Arve Moen Bergset was born in 1972. He grew up in Vinje, Telemark, an area with a rich folk music tradition. He studied the kveding vocal tradition with Sondre Bratland.

Bergset’s debut was unusual: in 1987, at the age of 15, he performed at the Spellemannpris awards ceremony.

His first solo CD was released later that year, and won the prestigious Spellemannpris award in 1988. The follow-up recording, “Religiøse folketoner” (Religious Folk Songs) was released in 1997, and illustrates his superb development as a kvedar (traditional vocalist), accompanied by the violin and organ.

Bergset is also a member of the group Bukkene Bruse. He is a trained violinist, and has performed as a soloist with various orchestras and ensembles.


* Litle Fuglen (Buen Kulturverkstad (MC) BKMC 8, 1986)
* Arvesølv (Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD 68, 1987)
* Fjøllmanntonar, with various artists (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7083, 1993)
* Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4053, 1993)
* Åre, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4100, 1995)
* Religiøse folketonar, with Kåre Nordstoga and Geir Inge Lotsberg (Grappa Musikkforlag GRCD 4114, 1997)
* Steinstolen, with Bukkene Bruse (Grappa Musikkforlag HCD 7145, 1998)


Artist Profiles: Arto Tunçboyaciyan

Arto Tunçboyaciyan

Arto Tuncboyaciyan was born in 1957, in Galataria, a town outside Constantinople. He is the youngest child of an Armenian family, with roots from Anatolia. Arto’s family had financial problems that were solved when the elder brother Onno, became a musician.

At the age of 11, Arto started his professional music career playing and recording throughout Turkey and Europe. One of his main influences was his brother Onno, who helped him not only as a brother, but also as a friend and fellow musician.

In 1981, Arto moved to the United States to explore new musical directions. Since then he has recorded with Gerardo Núñez, Al DiMeola , Joe Zawinul, Bob Berg, Mike Manieri, Chet Baker, Marc Johnson, Dino Saluzzi, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Eleftheria Arvanitaki and many others.

In 1985, Keytone released two solo CDs by Arto: “Virginland” and “Main Root. He then started a creative collaboration with the Armenian ud player Ara Dinkjian, with whom he recorded in duo Tears of Dignity and Onno for the Greek label Libra Music. Onno was in fact an homage to Arto’s beloved brother, who was killed tragically in a plane crash in 1996.

With Ara Dinkjian, Arto was a member of the group Night Ark and recorded Picture, Moments, Wonderland and Petals On Your Path. In 1998 he participated in the Italian project Triboh, conceived and co-led with the vocalist Maria Pia De Vito and the piano player Rita Marcotulli, recording the CD Triboh for the Italian label Polosud.

He is a member of the group Walking Fish together with Matthew Garrison, Jim Beard, Gene Lake and Bob Malach. His album with Paul Winter, Every Day is a New Life, was released by the Living Music label.

Currently, Arto is working with Armenian musicians with whom he founded his group The Armenian Navy Band, a small orchestra rooted in Armenian and Anatolian traditional music inspired by contemporary life. The project was conceived in 1998 after a meeting in Yerevan with young Armenian musicians from different musical backgrounds including ethnic and contemporary Armenian music. Since then, the idea to create a group to represent the sound of Armenia today was realized.

The two albums that represent the current aspects of Arto’s musical discovery are Aile Muhabbeti, a movie soundtrack composed by the artist, and Bzidik Zinvor.

Bzidik Zinvor was recorded in Armenia and is the result of the very first meeting with several musicians from Yerevan. Arto’s original compositions express the sounds of generations past alongside those of modern life: this is what he calls “avant-garde folk”. Of his music, Arto also says, “//Without losing your identity you extend your imagination//.”

During 2000 and 2001 The Armenian Navy Band toured Europe to great acclaim from public and press alike. This experience is reflected in the CD “New Apricot” recorded in Istanbul for the Turkish label Imaj Müzik.

Arto can be heard on various recordings including those of Chet Baker The Best Thing For You, Arthur Blythe Hipmotism and Night Song, Jim Pepper The Path, Marc Johnson Right Brain Patrol and Magic Labyrinth, Dino Saluzzi Mojotor, Al Di Meola World Sinfonia, Heart of the Immigrants and Kiss Me Axe, Bob Berg Virtual Reality and Riddles, Hank Roberts Little Motor People, Mike Mainieri An American Diary, Joe Zawinul Stories of the Danube and My People, Oregon Oregon 97, Paul Winter & The Earth Band Journey With The Sun, flamenco guitar master Gerardo Núñez Calima and many other great recordings.

In 2002 he formed Serart, a collaboration with System of a Down’s Serj Tankian. Serart released an album on Serjical Strike and Columbia Records on May 20, 2003.

It’s not a rock album, it’s not a band, it’s not a solo album for me,” sayd Serj Tankian. “It’s a collaboration that I was compelled to do with a very creative artist. It’s a very special type of album.”

It is important to note that Serart is not at all similar to a SOAD album – it’s a departure away from SOAD’s progressive-metal barrage. Serart finds these two, seemingly disparate, creative artists joining for a new vision. Serj describes the album best, “It’s really crazy world, jazz and experimental with some rock and hip-hop beats, dance beats, and electronic beats. Arto plays the Coke bottle, water droplets, an ancient flute, percussion of all sorts, little toys and shakers.”

The music on Serart is both “cross genre and cross cultural,” an exotic and eclectic blend of electronica, poetry, Middle Eastern melodies, Pan-African rhythms, classical motifs melded with volleys of percussion. In addition to the 16 musical tracks on the album, Serart comes with a DVD component, the 14 minute experimental film, “Sun Angle Calculator,” directed and edited by Matthew Amato. “The film is a visual collage,” says Serj. “The name, ‘Sun Angle Calculator,’ is a funny way of saying ‘let me help you see the light.‘”

The Armenian Navy Band’s 2004 album Sound of Our Life – Part One: Natural Seed is a nearly 50-minute-long composition in eleven parts, which is dedicated to nature. Natural Seeds takes the listener along part of the path of life that Arto Tuncboyaciyan and his musicians have traveled.

The recording equally represents the return to the origins of the musical ‘seed’ of The Armenian Navy Band; the tremendous joy and affection which the band?s musicians feel with and for each other in the here and now of their life together ? also outside the recording studios and stages; as well as the hopeful, self-confident view to the future. For Arto Tuncboyaciyan, the project Sound of Our Life is a never-ending musical documentation of the future.

When asked about the meaning of music, Arto replied: “Music is the sound of my life. I don’t pretend to lead anyone. I leave it up to one’s imagination. What I try to express is love, respect and the truth.”

Two new albums by Arto Tun?boyaciyan came out in January of 2005, Love Is Not in Your Mind (Heaven and Earth CD HE 19) and Artostan (Heaven and Earth CD HE 19).

Love Is Not in Your Mind is a duo project with the dazzling pianist and keyboardist of the Armenian Navy Band (Arto’s band) Vahagn Hayrapetyan. It features Tuncboyaciyan’s engaging vocal style and fiery percussion along with Hayrapetyan’s outstanding keyboard work. All songs on Love Is Not in Your Mind are never ending love stories. It is Tuncboyaciyan’s very personal declaration of love, dedicated his mother. “Taking care and sacrificing. That is what I have seen at my home and that is my mama. I never see her sleep before me or wake up after me. A ways feeling her love being there for you, making balance at home gives you great confidence and positive power. I am proud to have mama like you, and also my wife and my sister for being great mothers. When I lost my mother on May 17th 2003,1 was 46 years old. At that moment I realized that there is no age difference between a mother’s and a child’s love.”

Artostan is described as avant-garde folk and the description is pretty accurate. On Artostan, Tuncboyaciyan focuses on vocal experimentation, with his characteristic rhythmic vocal pieces as well as digitally manipulated vocals, accompanied by percussion solos and effects. He also plays a small lute called bular. The album is a trip to Arto Tuncboyaciyan’s philosophical homeland: Artostan. “Because of what’s going on in the world today with my human rights, dignity and power, I declare my own country in me. Artostan.”


* Virginland (Keytone, 1989)
* Main Root (Keytone, 1994)
* Tears Of Dignity (Libra, 1996)
* Onno (Libra, 1998)
* AVC1 (Imaj Müzik, 1998)
* Triboh (Polosud, 1998)
* Armenian Navy Band (Svota Music, 1999)
Bzdik Zinvor (Svota Music, 1999)
* Every Day is a New Life (Living Music / Earth Music Production, 2000)
* New Apricot (Imaj Müzik, 2001)
* Picture (RCA / Novus)
* Moments (RCA / Novus)
* In Wonderland (Polygram)
* Petals On Your Path (Universal Music)
* Serart (Serjical Strike/Columbia, 2003)
* Sound of Our Life – Part One: Natural Seeds (Heaven and Earth HE 14, 2004)
* Love Is Not in Your Mind (Heaven and Earth CD HE 19, 2005)
* Artostan (Heaven and Earth CD HE 19, 2005)
* How Much Is Yours? (Svota Music, 2005)
* Under Your Thoughts (Svota Music, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Armenian Navy Band

Armenian Navy Band

Music is considered a crucial means of communication by the founder of The Armenian Navy Band, Arto Tunçboyaciyan, a percussionist and vocalist of Armenian descent. Arto claims music as his instrument of choice to express his highest aspirations: love, respect and truth.

The Armenian Navy Band’s compositions are all originals of Arto Tunçboyaciyan which, he insists, “have the sound of my life“. This music is founded on Armenian and Anatolian musical traditions and infused with jazz and contemporary culture.

Arto’s compositions embrace sounds from generations past as well as present this is what he calls “avant-garde folk”. As such, the Armenian Navy Band represents the synthesis of Arto’s musical journey and life experiences.

The Armenian Navy Band is composed of twelve of the finest of Armenia’s contemporary musicians, ranging in age from 20 to 45. The instruments include the traditional: duduk, zurna, kemanche, kanun; and the contemporary: trombone, alto sax, tenor, soprano sax, trumpet, bass, drums, keyboards and piano. Together with the unique vocals and percussion and sazabo of Arto, the band’s sound is a sort of aural journey from the past to the future.

The band’s first European tour in February/March 2000 was successfully received in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain. Their next tour, later that year, included Sardinia (Italy), France, Belgium and Holland, ending with a stop in Istanbul (Turkey) for the recording of the album “New Apricot”under the Turkish label “Imaj Müzik”. This was followed by another brief tour in March 2001 and an extended European Summer/Fall tour through to November 2001.

The Armenian Navy Band’s 2004 album Sound of Our Life – Part One: Natural Seed is a nearly 50-minute-long composition in eleven parts, which is dedicated to nature. Natural Seeds takes the listener along part of the path of life that Arto Tuncboyaciyan and his musicians have traveled. The recording equally represents the return to the origins of the musical ‘seed’ of the The Armenian Navy Band; the tremendous joy and affection which the band’s musicians feel with and for each other in the here and now of their life together, also outside the recording studios and stages; as well as the hopeful, self-confident view to the future.

For Arto Tuncboyaciyan, the project Sound of Our Life is a never-ending musical documentation of the future.

Musiciansin 2009:

* Arto Tunçboyaciyan – percussion, vocals, sazabo
* Anahit Artushyan – kanun
* Armen Ayvazyan – kemanche
* Armen Husnounts – tenor &soprano saxDavid Minasyan – trombone
* David Nalchajyan – alto sax
* Tigran Suchyan – trumpet
* Norair Kartashyan – blul, duduk, zurna
* Vartan Grigoryan – duduk, zurna, clarinet
* Arman Jalalyan – drums
* Vahagn Hayrapetyan – piano, keyboards
* Vartan Arakelian – bass


New Apricot (Imaj Müzik)
Bzdik Zinvor (Svota Music, 1999)
Sound of Our Life – Part One: Natural Seeds (Heaven and Earth HE 14, 2004)
How Much Is Yours? (Svota Music, 2005)
Under Your Thoughts (Svota Music, 2009)


Artist Profiles: Ariadna Castellanos

Ariadna Castellanos – Photo by Jorge Calvo

Spanish pianist and composer, Ariadna Castellanos Rivas is currently one of the top rising and most promising Flamenco artists. She combines Flamenco and Jazz in order to create a new language, a unique identity.

Ariadna was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1983. She began her music studies at age six. When she was 17 she won a full scholarship to study classical piano at the Guildhall School of Music in London, where she graduated after four years. Throughout her education she has been close to flamenco music. After graduation she returned to Spain to work with famous flamenco figures such as Jorge Pardo, Jesus Del Rosario, and Agustin Carbonell (“El Bola”) and toured the world with flamenco dance companies like Los Vivancos 7.

Ariadna Castellanos

After four years of work exploring new paths for piano in flamenco, she was signed by the production company Casa Limón for her first album. In 2009, after an impromptu audition in Madrid with Berklee faculty, she won a full Presidential Scholarship to Berklee, , becoming the first Spanish musician to receive this recognition. At Berklee she concentrated on skills specific to improvisation and jazz. In May of 2010, at the college’s commencement exercises, she was chosen to lead the tribute performance for flamenco legend Paco de Lucía, who was in attendance. She is a dual major at Berklee, in both professional music and performance.

Based on her technique, acquired with classical piano training, and her natural sense of improvisation, Ariadna’s performances achieve the highest artistic quality. Ariadna Castellanos has appeared all over the world, bringing her innovative style to such venues as the Palacio de las Artes de Valencia, Monterrey Jazz Festival, Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Heineken JazzFest in Puerto Rico, where she shared program alongside legendary artists such as Paco de Lucía and Michel Camilo.

She recorded her first album for Casa Limón, which was produced by the Grammy Award winning composer and producer Javier Limón (Paco de Lucía, Bebo Valdés, El Cigala, Buika), released in 2012. She has also collaborated with top Spanish artists, including Jorge Pardo, Niño Josele, Agustín Pardo “El Bola”, Sandra Carrasco, Javier Limón, José Mercé, and Alejandro Sanz.


Flamenco En Black & White

Web site


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.


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)