Tag Archives: duduk

Duduk Quartet Depicts the Armenian Spirit

Jivan Gasparyan Duduk Ensemble – Yeraz (Buda Musique, 2017)

On Yeraz, Jivan Gasparyan presents a new, remarkable perspective of the ancient Armenian duduk. The album was recorded in Geghard, a medieval monastery in the Kotayk region of Armenia that is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The lineup on Yeraz is an all-duduk quartet that performs evocative and bittersweet musical pieces representing the agony, optimism and vivacity of the Armenian people.

Personnel: Jivan Gasparyan on duduk; Jivan Gasparyan Jr. on duduk; Armen Ghazarian on duduk; and Vazgen Makaryan on duduk.

Yeraz is an outstanding recording by the great maestro of the duduk joined by three equally talented duduk players.

Buy Yeraz in Europe

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Artist Profiles: Jivan Gasparyan

Jivan Gasparyan

Jivan Gasparyan (his first name is also spelled Djivan) was born in 1928 in Solag, a village near the Armenian capital Yerevan. He began to play the duduk at age 6, gaining much of his knowledge by listening to the great masters.

In 1948 he joined the Tatoo’ Altounian National Song and Dance Ensemble, and also had his first professional engagement as soloist with the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra.

Most of Gasparyan’s repertoire features traditional Armenian folk songs. He also is an accomplished composer and a singer in the folk tradition. In addition to his original compositions and arrangements of traditional songs, he has written love songs based on the poetry of Vahan Derian.

Gasparyan won Gold Medals in four worldwide competitions organized by UNESCO (1959, 1962, 1973, and 1980) and is the only musician ever to be given the honorary title of People’s Artist of Armenia, received in 1973 from the Armenian government.

A professor at the Yerevan Conservatory, Gasparyan has prepared more than 70 duduk musicians for professional performance. He greatly enjoys teaching, and it brings him joy to know that through his efforts the tradition of duduk playing will not be lost.

Gasparyan has toured Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In the United States, he has performed extensively in New York and Los Angeles, appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and has received exposure to Western audiences through performances with the Kronos Quartet.

Gasparyan’s album of Armenian folk songs and ballads, I Will Not Be Sad In This World (All Saints, 1989), dedicated to victims of the Armenian earthquake, received worldwide recognition. He has collaborated with Lionel Richie and Peter Gabriel.

Jivan Gasparyan and Michael Brook

His contribution to the soundtrack of Gladiator is only the latest of his continuing collaborations with the film industry both in Hollywood and in Europe: The Russia House, The Siege and The Crowand Atom Egoyan’s film Calendar, as well as for the American-Hungarian cable television co-production Storm and Sorrow.

At the age of 73, Jivan received the WOMEX (World Music Expo) lifetime achievement award of 2002.

Discography

* I Will Not Be Sad in This World (Opal/All Saints)
* Moon Shines at Night (Opal/All Saints)
* Ask me no questions (Traditional Crossroads 4268, 1996)
* Apricots from Eden (Traditional Crossroads 4276, 1996)
* The Crow, soundtrack
* Black Rock, with Michael Brook (Realworld 46230, 1998)
* Djivan Gasparyan Quartet (Libra Music 1998)
* The Seige, soundtrack (1998)
* Heavenly Duduk (Network 1999)
* Armenian Fantasies (Network 34801, 2000)
* Gladiator, soundtrack
* Fuad, with Erkan Ogur (2001)
* Art of the Armenian Duduk (Arc Music, 2002)
* Endless Vision, with Hossein Alizadeh (World Village, 2006)
* Penumbra, with Michael Brook (Canadian Rational/bigHelium, 2008)

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Armenian Minstrels and Armenian Echoes, Treasure Trove of Delights

Hagop Goudsouzian – Armenian Minstrels and Armenian Echoes (Hagop Goudsouzian Productions)

When was the last time you had a hostess sit before a neatly set table, complete with floral china cups, and offered her guests a charming, a cappella folk song while wearing a lime green Nestlé Frutina T-shirt? Probably never would be my guess. But that’s exactly what you get and so much more with Armenian and Canadian filmmaker Hagop Goudsouzian’s collection of films Armenian Minstrels and the three-part series Armenian Echoes.

Producer and director of a bevy of television programs, as well as the films Apricot Armenian Gold, Armenian Exile and My Son Shall Be Armenian produced by the National Film Board of Canada, Mr. Goudsouzian has set his sights on capturing Armenia’s musical soul by way of Armenian Minstrels and Armenian Echoes. Maybe some have caught these gems on your local PBS stations, but for those who haven’t these films they are not-to-be-missed glimpses into the riches of the heart of the often overlooked Armenian people.

Mr. Goudsouzian is generous as he introduces viewers to the Sayat-Nova Minstrel Song Ensemble in Armenian Minstrels and to artists like Minstrel Andranik Ujanci and Minstesl Makhmour, as well as the studio work of the group and the students of the Jivani School of Minstrel Art.

We get a listen to the vocals of Tovmas Poghosyan, a professor and the artistic director and president of the Sayat-Nova Cultural Union in the recording studio, a peek into Garine Haroyan’s archival work for the center and a behind-the-scenes look as the ensemble prepare for a concert.

The interview with Minstrel Kochar as he explains his early singing roles during his Soviet era school years and his backyard performance at his village home in Yeghis is indeed a delight. It also leave the viewer wanting, because, hey, what are these fruits that the bears eat in the mountains?

It’s easy to fall headlong into the kaleidoscope of colors and sounds with the trilogy Armenian Echoes as the films follow the work and artists of the Aram Merangulyan Folk Instruments Ensemble and its kamancha maker, player and concertmaster Onik Galstyan, the deeply lovely vocals of National Chamber Choir under direction of Robert Mikeyan and collaboration with composer and musicologist Arthur Shahnazarian, the reverence of song of the Choir of the Mother Cathedral of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the bright work of the Naregatsi Folk Instruments Ensemble.

What’s easier is to fall under the spell of is the elderly minstrel Edik Safaryan as he sings one his songs dedicated to his wife Knarig, the dancers of the Vardanyan Sisters Dance Troupe and Edmon Safaryan playing the duduk along with fellow musicians Khatchik Sogoyan, Gargan Hakopyan and Ura Hakopyan.

Perhaps my favorite is Bogdan G. Hovhannisyan, amateur folk song collector and khachkar (an Armenian stone carving with origins dating back to the 9th century) carver and engraver. Amid the jumble of his workshop, Mr. Hovhannisyan treats viewers and his assistant to a song before he explains his passion for folk songs that began under the Soviets when it was not encourage and his founding of a folk choir in the Lori region of Armenia.

https://vimeo.com/195574555

Despite all the charms of the landscape Mr. Goudsouzian offers, the smiles of dancers and joyful offerings of song throughout these films, viewers are reminded of the seriousness with which all these artists have devoted themselves.

There are reminders of a sometimes harsh reality as the director of the Sayat-Nova Cultural Union struggles with financing now that the state no longer provides funds, the sorrow that many Armenians simply emigrate to other countries to find better lives, the remaining scars of lands that once belonged to the Armenian people, a genocide and the horrific ravages of the 1988 Armenian earthquake that killed some 50,000 people and destroyed nearly 500,000 buildings. But there is a stubborn perseverance to keep going and to take the business of cultural preservation seriously. Nothing could sum up this sentiment better than a young singer from the Surb Tiramayr Choir from Vanadzor when she says, “Singing spiritual songs is a very difficult and a big responsibility. We have taken it upon ourselves, because they are the heartfelt songs of our people and they don’t take it very well if it’s poorly sung. You must sing it very well or resign.”

There are no slick rock star musicians, no big haired divas, no Dancing with the Stars anywhere in sight in Armenian Minstrels and Armenian Echoes – no, these small town dancers, striped shirted religious singers and mountain side saz players and minstrels are better. By way of Armenian Minstrels and Armenian Echoes, Mr. Goudsouzian had opened a treasure trove of the delights of the Armenian soul.

Purchase the videos at http://www.hagopgoudsouzian.com/world_music2

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Duduk Prodigy

Arsen Petrosyan – Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk (Pomegranate Music, 2015)

Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk showcases the talent of a young musician who represents the new generation of duduk players. The duduk is the wind instrument that represents the music of Armenia.

The music selection on Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk includes traditional pieces, compositions from the 1700s and 1800s and one contemporary piece by Ara Dinkjian.

Most of the tracks on the album feature Arsen Petrosyan playing evocative solo duduk accompanied by drone duduk, percussion and other instruments. On track 6, Petrosyan plays a lively dance featuring a larger ensemble with santur and percussion.

The producer intentionally made the album relatively short. The producer indicates that the average music listener wouldn’t be able to listen, retain, and eventually appreciate a traditional and standard 60 minute duduk (plus drone duduk) album. Additional instruments were added to recognize modern listening habits.

Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk presents the beautiful sound of the duduk, performed by one of Armenia’s finest players.

Buy Charentsavan: Music for Armenian Duduk

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Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Crete Announces Summer Seminar Program 2016

Labyrinth Musical Workshop, one of the most respected series of seminars and master classes in Europe, has announced its Summer Seminar Program 2016. The workshops target musicians of all levels who wish to study the modal musical traditions of the world.

Labyrinth is located in Crete (Greece) in the picturesque mountain village Houdetsi 20 kms from the capital city of Heraklion.

In addition to helping students learn the necessary technical and theoretical skills of each musical idiom, the seminars and master-classes encourage students to come closer to the spirit of the tradition they are studying, and to eventually enter into this world where musical language is just one of many other intertwining elements.

Throughout the seminars, teachers and students become part of one big “parea” (company in Greek). Aside from the time spend in the classes, teachers and students play music together, eat together, talk about matters of common interest, share stories etc.

Summer Seminar Program 2016

June 13-18, 2016

Efrén López – Music Group, An introduction to Modal Music.

June 20-25, 2016

Efrén López – Hurdy Gurdy (zanfona)

Giorgis Manolaki – Bouzouki

Ross Daly – The structure & phrasing of Makams

June 27- July 2, 2016

Ido Segal – Improvisation in North Indian classical music

Ciro Montanari – Tabla and the rhythmic cycles of North India

Giorgis Xylouris – A journey into Cretan music

July 4-9, 2016

Evgenios Voulgaris – Yayli Tanbur & Makam

Murat Aydemir – Tanbur Through The Ages

Patrizia Bovi / Peppe Frana – Medieval Music

Pavlos Spyropoulos/Theodora Athanasiou – Accompaniment in modal music

July 11-16, 2016

Martha Mavroidi – Motif & Rhythm

Senih Űndeğer – Turkish style violin

Muhittin Kemal Temel – Ali Ufki, Dimitri Kantemir and 17th century Ottoman Music

Manos Ahalinotopoulos – Modal music in the world of the Greek clarinet

July 18-23, 2016

Tigran Aleksanyan – Armenian Duduκ

George Papaioannou – Violin 2nd Part

Uğur Önür – The music & instruments of the nomads of South West Anatolia

Yiorgos Mavromanolakis – Oud for less advanced students

July 25-30, 2016

Kourosh Ghazvineh – Kurdish Makam with Tanbur

Arslan Hazreti – Kamancha

Ivan Varimezov – Gaida, Balkan rhythms and repertoire

Tzvetanka Varimezova – Bulgarian choral singing

August 1-6, 2016

Hooshang Farahani – Iranian Tar & Radif

Daud Khan Sadozai – Afghan rabab

Periklis Papapetropoulos – CİHAN TÜRKOĞLU- Saz

Djamshid & Bijan Chemirani – Τhe poetry of rhythm

August 8-13, 2016

Yurdal Tokcan- Turkish Oud (Master Class)

Göksel Baktagir – Kanun

Eleonore Billy – Nyckelharpa

Christos Barbas – Music Group: The Instrument as a Voice

August 15-20, 2016

Ahmet Erdoğdular – Classical Ottoman Singing

Ömer Erdoğdular – Ney

Derya Türkan – Kemençe

Periklis Papapetropoulos – Lavta

August 22-27, 2016

Ross Daly – Modal composition

Kelly Thoma – Lyra with sympathetic strings

George Papaioannou – Violin 1st part

Adel Sαlameh – Arabic Oud

August 29- September 3, 2016

Zohar Fresco – Frame Drums (Master Class)

Harris Laμbrakis – Rhythmic improvisation

Vagelis Karipis – Percussion in Greek tradition, Rhythms & Techniques

Peppe Frana – A modal perspective

Anna-Maria Hefele – Over-tone singing (Master Class)

September 5-10, 2016

Zacharis Spyridakis – Cretan Lyra

Michalis Kontaxakis – Cretan Mandolin

Giorgis Manolakis – Cretan Laouto

Fragiskos Baltzakis – Askomantoura

More information at http://www.labyrinthmusic.gr/en

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Adana Wins Octaves de la Musique 2016 Award

Armenian-Turkish-Belgian ensemble Adana is the winner of Octaves de la Musique 2016 award in the world music category. The band aims to reconcile Armenian and Turkish cultures and is led by Armenian-Belgian Vardan Hovanissian (duduk) and Turkish-Belgian Emre Gültekin (saz, vocals). The rest of the ensemble includes Belgian musicians Joris Vanvinckenroye on double bass and Simon Leleux on percussion.

Adana recently performed at Babel Med Music world music showcase in Marseilles, receiving a standing ovation from the audience. People stood up at the end of the showcase to give them an ovation. An exceptional performance that shows the interest in this project reconciling Armenian and Turkish cultures.

Octaves de la Musique are the awards presented every year to artists living in Belgium (Wallonia-Brussels). They are handed out by professionals (booking agents, artist managers, record labels, artists, institutions).

Upcoming concerts:

Sines Festival (Portugal)
Philharmonie du Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
Rumi Fest (LV)
Festival Parfums de Musiques (France)
Le Salon du Bleu Café (Switzerland)
Ethno Port Festival (Poland)
Festival de Wallonie (Belgium)
La Chapelle de Verre (Belgium)
Düsseldorf (Germany)
Köln (Germany)
Brugge (Belgium)
Bern (CH)
Gent (BE)

Photo credit: Adana photo by Fabienne Pennewaert

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Cascade Folk Trio Plays the sounds of the Armenian Diaspora

Cascade Folk Trio – Old Street

New York, USA – On their new CD, Old Street (Bandaz Records), the Cascade Folk Trio evokes a rebirth of Armenian folk music with a modern twist.

Folk music underwent a prior renaissance in the early 1900s thanks to renowned musicologist Komitas. His contribution was to articulate the true essence of Armenian music. Komitas penned over 3,000 compositions and nearly cracked the “code” of the khazer, a lost, ancient form of musical notation.

We always start with the melody line,” says Cascade Folk Trio’s Arman Aghajanyan. “The melody must be Armenian.” Many dispersed cultural groups struggle to maintain ties to their heritage. So this is no surprise considering the wave of genocide that forced millions of Armenians into exile in the early 1900s. But the Trio—one of the best in the Armenian Diaspora—was affected as much by more recent history.Armenia has struggled to survive as a viable independent nation for many years.

In 1988, an earthquake left 25,000 people dead and 500,000 homeless. When Armenia seceded from the Soviet Union in 1991, a war with Azerbaijan erupted in the East, while in the West, Turkey established a blockade, and from Georgia in the North, gas pipelines were cut off. The mid-’90s saw brutal winters with weeks without gas or electricity. Only in recent years has the economy finally
turned. Out of this setting a musical renaissance, differentiating the emerging nation’s soul from the outside powers that have dominated daily life for decades.

Early in the 20th century Armenia fell victim to a horrible genocide, brought on by a nationalist government in Turkey, bent on uniting the region under their newfound dictatorship. Artists, writers, and priests were the first targets.

After massacres in 1915 and the burning of almost all of his work, Komitas succumbed to mental distress and never recovered. Many Armenians fled their homes for safer cities like Beirut, Alexandria and Paris. In the late 1990s, nearly a century after this violence, vocalists Arman Aghajanyan (composer), Ohanna Mtghyan (lyricist), and Armen Papkiyan (vocal arranger) left for the United States in a new wave of dispersion.

The Cascade Folk Trio, which keeps one foot in this profound history and one foot on the pulse of the future, joined forces in New York City. Although inspired by the diverse rhythms of the city, the group found relief from their homesickness through Armenian music. In Armenia, they listened to the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Earth, Wind and Fire, and each experienced
individual success as pop stars. They joined Artur Grigoryan’s State Theater of Song—which cultivates new music whose essence is Armenian.

Nine of the songs on Old Street are original, but all of the arrangements balance preservation and contemporary creation, many of which are credited to one of Armenia’s most acclaimed arrangers Karen Margaryan. The Trio pays tribute to the historic voice of their folk music, uniting it with the sounds of American R&B, Jazz, and other worldly voices.

The group’s name is from a district in the capital city of Yerevan, known as a meeting place for young lovers. “Cascade is one of our favorite areas. The falling water from the cascade fountain produces a certain breath and sound that creates its own melody” says Aghajanyan. “Falling in love is a significant theme in Armenian music” says Aghajanyan, as is evident on the CD.

“Gentle Boy, Graceful Girl” tells of two young people meeting and falling in love. “Lingering Return” finds the girl longing for her lover’s return. In “You are a Doe” the man yearns for the grace of his lover, and when he finds her, greets beauty with beauty, picking for her a bouquet in the song “Garden Flowers”—a song written in the style of the great troubadour Sayat Nova. Now known as the King of Songs, the music of this “peasant” born in 1712 became so influential that he negotiated a coalition between Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan against Persian domination. Never before has anyone attempted such a gospel-tinged arrangement of “Bad Days”—written by folk singer Djivani (1846-1909)—as is featured on this CD.

Complementing the deft use of their 5000-year-old language is the prominence of essential Armenian instruments. The duduk—one of the world’s oldest double-reed instruments—has been around for over 2000 years. Its melancholic sound came to prominence in America thanks to Peter Gabriel, Jivan Gasparyan, and the hit TV series Xena, Warrior Princess. With centuries of cross-cultural sharing in the region, the duduk is one of the only instruments to have truly Armenian origins.

Armenian duduk-makers use apricot wood to produce a tone that mimics the human voice, whereas elsewhere it is made to produce a nasal sound. Armenian weddings and celebrations are not complete without a duduk or the zurna—another instrument prominent on the CD, along with the sounds of the dhol, zarb, shvi, kyamancha, and kanun.

With Old Street, the Cascade Folk Trio keeps Armenian culture strong. Says Arman, “we want to provide descendants of Armenia with what they had forgotten about Armenian folk music.”

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