On February 20, 2006, more than 1,000 Parisians of French and Armenian descent were treated to the music of the Shoghaken Ensemble at the prestigious Theatre de la Ville, known throughout Europe for presenting premiere folk musicians from around the globe. The concert of traditional Armenian song and dance was attended by folk musicians, journalists, and artists from the local Armenian community, as well as Parisian music-lovers and representatives from area press and television outlets.
Shoghaken’s program took listeners on an emotive journey through the historic regions of Old Armenia, including Taron (Moush and Sassoun), Kharbert (Agn), Vaspurakan (Van and Shatakh), Zangezur, and Karabagh. Gevorg Dabaghyan mezmerized the crowd with a stunning version of the classic duduk solo “Hovern Enkan,” accompanied by Grigor Takushyan on dham duduk, and kanon player Karine Hovhannisyan performed “Shalakho” with stunning speed and virtuosity.
Carefully maintaining the regional dialect of each song, vocalist Hasmik Harutyunyan treated the audience to several lullabies and a powerful performance of “Gorani,” a song about the lost lands of Moush. The ashoughagan genre was represented by Aleksan Harutyunyan, who sang Sayat Nova’s “Kani Voor Jan Im,” as well as “Gharabaghi Horovel” and the lively “Im Khorodik Yar,” which Harutyunyan learned from his teacher, the late eminent folk master, Hayrig Mouradian.
After improvisational solo performances by shvi and blul player Levon Tevanyan, kamanchist Vardan Baghdasaryan, and dhol player Kamo Khachatryan, Shoghaken concluded the concert with a series of songs and dances of Taron and the raucous dance of unity, “Yarkhooshta,” much to the delight of Armenians in the audience.
After the concert, Shoghaken vocalists Hasmik Harutyunyan and Aleksan Harutyunyan were interviewed by Radio France, representatives of local Armenian journals and newspapers, and by Theatre de la Ville for inclusion on the venue’s website, where a live broadcast of the concert was also featured. The live concert recording was also aired worldwide by the special cultural television show “Mezzo.”
For a French-language review, video, interview, gallery, and music samples, click here.
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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