Viljandi Folk Festival

Hasmik Harutyunyan and Karine Hovhannisyan Outdoor stages nestled in ancient castle ruins were the setting for concerts at the Viljandi Folk Festival in Viljandi, Estonia, July 23-27, 2003. Shoghaken Folk Ensemble was represented by vocalist Hasmik Harutyunyan, kanonist Karine Hovhannisyan, and blul/shvi/zurna/bku player Levon Tevanyan. The group performed the folk music of Old Armenia to receptive audiences during two concerts on the Kaevumgi Stage, set in a green meadow overlooking the river running past Viljandi.

The musicians presented songs and dances from the many genres of Armenian folk music, including epic songs, work songs, lullabies, love songs, songs of longing, and dance songs. Hasmik Harutyunyan also sang sacred songs of the Armenian Church, and delighted the audiences with a children’s song and an a capella version of “Vaviler Zulon,” a humorous song from Vasbouragan. Kanonist Karine Hovhannisyan mesmerized concert-goers with her renditions of Armenian dance songs, including Shalakho and the Dance of Trebizond, accompanied by Levon Tevanyan on the shvi, tav shvi, bku, and blul. The latter instrument was said by Komitas to be the true Armenian folk instrument. The concerts each began with Tevanyan’s zurna echoing the epic song “Movgats Mirza” through the starry Estonian nights, and concluded with his shvi and zurna accompaniment of “Lelum Le Le,” “Done Yar,” and other dance songs presented by Hasmik Harutyunyan.

During the group’s time in Estonia, Hasmik also conducted a workshop at the Viljandi Culture Center, where she taught the Armenian folk songs “Hoy Nar,” “Janoy,” and “Mur Tan Itev,” as well as the dances “Gyovend” and “Ververi.” Many of the workshop participants later attended the Shoghaken concerts and danced in front of the stage and through the audience at the concerts’ end, as Hasmik and the musicians performed folk songs and dances of Moush, Sassun, and Vasbouragan.

Shoghaken’s CD, Armenian Anthology, a recent winner at the Indie Awards for Best CD in the World Music category, was a popular item at festival music stores.

Hasmik, Karine, and Levon also participated in interviews conducted by Radio Free Europe, the Folklore Department of Estonia’s Tartu University, and other newpapers in Viljandi and Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn.

For more information about Shoghaken and a video link to their performance at the Kennedy Center, click here.
(Video link requires high speed Internet access.)

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Levon Tevanyan
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Karine Hovhannisyan
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Hasmik Harutyunyan
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Karine Hovhannisyan
Levon Tevanyan
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Viljandi Folk Festival
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