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the project

The folk music of Armenia is so diverse that a single recording is not enough to encompass it. Rural work songs, urban folk songs, contemporary protest songs from the disputed Karabakh region, laments for lost parts of Western Armenia, songs of emigration, and of course, the universal topic of love and love lost. With such a range of songs to cover, producer David Parsons needed three full recordings to document the current state of Armenian folk music. This volume contains two of the three; the contemporary folk music of the Nagorno-Karabakh region takes up a volume by itself. Unlike the earlier volumes in this series, which have featured a single ensemble or soloist, the folk songs and dances in this collection are performed by no fewer than two ensembles and a number of vocal soloists. As with all folk music, these songs and dances reflect the people's own history and their land. Songs about the landscape and the various rivers, mountains, and regions of Armenia comprise one of the most distinctive parts of their folk repertoire; the plowing and farming songs are especially haunting and memorable. The area known as Western Armenia has proven to be a particularly fertile ground for folk song and dance. This region is the subject of much nostalgic and patriotic song. The music of the ashugh, the wandering poet/minstrels of Armenia, is also part of the folk music tradition, although, typically for Armenian music, it can also be considered a type of classical music tradition.

the artists

Founded in 1991 by reed virtuoso Gevorg Dabagian, the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble uses only the traditional instruments of Armenia. The group aims to recreate the authentic sound of Armenian music as it was performed in past centuries, without external instruments or influences. Musicians of the ensemble include Gevorg Dabagian, playing duduk, zurna and shevi (also the featured performer on The Music of Armenia, Volume Three: Duduk (13117); Karineh Hovhannessian on the kanon (the featured performer on The Music of Armenia, Volume Four: Kanon (13118); Kamo Khachaturian on the dhol; Hakob Khalatian on the kamancha; Eduard Harutunian and Grigor Takushian both on duduk dam (drone).

The vocalists with the ensemble are all noted soloists in their own right and include: Hasmik Harutunian specializing in the songs of Western Armenia; Lida Zakarian specializing in both Armenian folk music and contemporary music; and Artavazd Voskanian who sings classical, sacred music and folk music. The Sasun Folk Group was founded in 1988 in the village of Nerkin Bazmaberd by Andranik Manukian. The group specializes in the folk songs and dances of Mush and Sasun in Western Armenia, maintaining a more regional, authentically vernacular or popular sound. Vocalists include Tsovinar Manukian, Norair Manukian, Sedrak Harutiunian, Harutiun Harutiunian, Artiom Hakobian, Astgik Hakobian, Liana Makhsudian, Gayaneh Khachaturian, Hasmik Khachaturian, Inga Gazarian, and are accompanied by Ara Mkoyan and Samvel Grigorian on the duduk dam (drone), and Gourgan Manukian on the dhol.


  Disk 1:  
1 Jeirani pes (Graceful like a deer.) 3'14"
2 Imal enim (What can I do?) 3'45"
3 Hoviv kanch (The call of the shepherd.) 3'19"
4 Msho geghen (From a village of Mush.) 3'01"
5 Medley 4'44"
6 Dle yaman 6'01"
7 Aparani par 3'10"
8 Akh lele, vakh lele 2'33"
9 Arshaluis noren batsvan (Dawn opened again.) 3'28"
10 Armenian Dance 4'11"
11 Aravotun lusn erevats (In the morning the light came.) 2'01"
12 Arabo 2'14"
13 Siretsi yares taran (They took my lover away.) 4'11"
14 Artsakhi par (Dance from Artsakh.) 2'36"
15 Esor arazn es gnatsel (Today you were at Araz.) 4'40"
16 Gulo 4'43"
17 Bakhtavari 4'13"
18 Tsovun havkem kar (There was a bird on the sea.) 4'19"
19 Mekn im yari neman chi (No one is like my lover.) 4'49"
20 Traditional Dance 2'16"
  Total Time: 75'12"
  Disk 2:  
1 Erva yes (I am burned by love.) 3'10"
2 Nazov akhchik (Shy girl.) 3'14"
3 Nani bala (Sleep my baby.) 2'11"
4 Kani vor jan im (As long as I am alive.) 3'03"
5 Hai merik (Hey mother.) 1'42"
6 Haireniki jur (The waters of my Motherland.) 4'15"
7 Giamin ver tsovun (Wind on the sea.) 2'56"
8 Ashkharumes akh chim kashil (I will not be sad in this world, as long as I have you.) 4'47"
9 Naz par (Shy dance.) 3'01"
10 Gorani 4'38"
11 Dances of Sasun 4'04"
12 Lusniak gisher (Full moon night.) 3'09"
13 Katot (Longing.) 2'23"
14 Uzundara 3'50"
15 Khorotik (Beautiful.) 3'05"
16 Ashkharhes me panjara ye (The world is a window.) 3'02"
17 Vai merik (Oh mother.) 2'39"
18 Machkal es (You are Machkal.) 3'26"
19 Im im Muradin (To my Murad.) 3'39"
20 Sasno ahegh krvin (During the hard battle of Sasun.) 2'08"
21 Yarem ker (There was a lover.) 1'45"
22 Anoush garun (Sweet Spring.) 2'49"
23 Zurni trngi (Dance of the zurna.) 3'04"
  Total Time: 73'38"