Djivan Gasparyan - The Soul of Armenia
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Djivan Gasparyan
The Soul of Armenia
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Seldom is a particular musician considered the absolute, peerless master of his chosen instrument. But so it is with Armenia's Djivan Gasparyan, genius of the apricot wood oboe known as the duduk. It's difficult to describe the sound of the duduk- alas, I can only fall back on shopworn words like "exotic," "haunting," etc. Thanks largely to Gasparyan, though, it's become more familiar in recent years. You might have heard its unforgettable tones in movies such as "Gladiator," "The Last Temptation of Christ" or "Dead Man Walking." Or perhaps on Gasparyan's collaborations with musicians as diverse as Andreas Vollenweider, Michael Brook, Jessie Cook, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Lionel Ritchie and Brian Eno. But if you've been entranced on any level by Gasparyan's work, invest in this amazingly rich 2-CD overview that includes some of his finest recorded moments. He brings his duduk magic to musical settings ranging from duos to orchestras, traditional pieces to spirited improvisations to jazzy excursions. In every instance, whether his is a lead or supporting role, Gasparyan coaxes sounds from the duduk that can seem like the sonic equivalent of nearly any emotion imaginable. And while the music's got you captivated, try to focus some of your attention on the accompanying booklet, which tells in great detail of Gasparyan's 60 years of making music and how it fits into his country's history of geographic, political, religious and cultural struggles. There's over two hours of music and a lot of background information here, so you may want to take it a little at a time, but it is worth it. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdRoots

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CD available from cdRoots

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