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The Music of Armenia, Volume 5: Folk Music
The Shoghaken Folk Ensemble, The Sasun Folk Group
The Music of Armenia, Volume 5: Folk Music
Genres: World Music, Special Interest, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #2

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 ...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: The Shoghaken Folk Ensemble, The Sasun Folk Group
Title: The Music of Armenia, Volume 5: Folk Music
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Celestial Harmonies
Release Date: 2/4/1997
Genres: World Music, Special Interest, Pop
Styles: Europe, Eastern Europe, By Decade, 1990s
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 013711411928

Synopsis

Album Description
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.
 

CD Reviews

East meets West...
stonechat | hyperspace | 01/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nobody's reviewed this yet? How strange! This is a superb collection of fascinating music. Apart from anything else, it's an excellent introduction to Armenia's traditional instruments: including the duduk (a "double-reed instrument made from apricot wood"; now widely used on film soundtracks), the kanon (a zither), the kamancha (a three-string fiddle, often with a rather East European sound), the zurna (a wailing Middle-Easterny oboe-like instrument), the shevi (a reed flute) and the dhol (a hand drum). Many of the tracks are songs, for male and/or female voice, typically accompanied by one of the melody instruments, plus drone (i.e. a single note, typically played on duduk) and dhol. There are a variety of combinations, but they hold together well as a unified whole: some with a rather Middle Eastern sound, others more reminiscent of medieval European music. East meets West indeed! In general, it's probably best classifiable as "folk": but it's a serious sort of folk, verging on what might be called "classical". According to the (voluminous) liner notes, the Armenian musical tradition is perhaps the oldest written tradition in the world; and as with other related traditions (e.g. Central Asian; see the excellent compilation on Ocora), there's no sharp distinction between "popular" and "classical". And then, of course, there are the melodies... one beautiful melody after another: I'm afraid "haunting" is the only word! The lullaby Nani bala, here sung unaccompanied by female vocalist Hasmik Haratunian, is just drippingly beatiful. In short, a superb collection: to my ears, rather better than the duduk solo disk in the same collection, which gets to be rather too much of a good thing. [By the way, if you want to learn more about Middle Eastern and Asian classical traditions, I would whole-heartedly recommend Todd McComb's highly informative web-page "Traditional World Music Recordings".]"
Absolutely stunning
C. Martin | DeForest, WI United States | 03/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This was my first, true introduction into Armenian music. I see why many artists are drawing so much upon the instruments and the unique arrangments found in this music. The haunting vocals, the sometimes overjoyous drumming and the rich use of both string (the oud) and woodwind instruments (the duduk) speaks of a great people and the pagentry of their culture. "Dawn Opened Again" and "I am Burned by Love", for me anyway, transcended languages and spoke to what is the common ground we all share as human beings. With this being a double CD set, I whole heartedly recommend this collection as a great introduction to Armenian culture."