Djivan Gasparyan
Armenia: Heavenly Duduk
World Network

The 20th century's musical Diaspora are many, but few are more tragic or unrequited than that driven by the genocide perpetrated against Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1916. For many, the duduk is the voice of persecution and longing for the western Armenian homeland. A refined version of the shepherd's flute, the duduk is a double-reed wind instrument with a warm, evocative tone that western ears may identify with the clarinet. In traditional settings, the duduk is typically accompanied by the dhol or other percussion. It also is played in ensemble, with second treble and bass duduk providing an underpinning drone, often with a solo vocalist, as here. Duduk master and singer Djivan Gasparyan was born in the Russian Republic of Armenia and trained in the Komitas Conservatory of Yerevan, going on to teach and perform there. Apart from extensive concert work in the former Soviet union, Gasparyan has played internationally with the Kronos Quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and others. Combining traditional Armenian songs and dances with the plaintive ashugs or ballads of the Armenian troubadours, this is a rare and subtle, uncommonly meditative work. - Michael Stone

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