Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan; Music for Armenian Duduk

 |   |  1 min read

Havik
Arsen Petrosyan: Charentsavan; Music for Armenian Duduk

The acknowledged master of the Armenian duduk — a double-reed flute capable of deep emotional expression in the right hands — is Djivan Gasparian, but already the young Petrosyan is spoken of as being in the same league.

He is already acknowledged as a prodigy in Armenia and this deep, resonant and moving album of traditional music is the soulful evidence.

Somewhat oddly the US-based label Pomegranate Music bills this debut as “world fusion” which suggests some dilution of the tradition he explores in favour of some contemporary hipness.

Nothing could be further from the truth (although he does play in some fresh contexts) and this album mostly sounds as ancient as the 1500-year lineage of the instrument he plays.

The minimalist Havik here was written over 1000 years ago, but Petrosyan makes it as relevant as any spiritually imbued album on ECM.

To the more contemporary centerpiece Lullaby for the Sun, he brings an aching resonance and the melody makes oblique reference to the traditional music of Central Asia.

Other than the somewhat boisterous ensemble piece Javakhki Shoror and the romantically sentimental Kessabi Oror, there is a deep and innate melancholy at the core of most of these pieces. And with stately reflectiveness Petrosyan lets the wordless stories be told.

Petrosyan, barely into his 20s, found most of these pieces in archives and — sometimes with empathetic accompaniment from harp, acoustic guitar and soft percussion — he explores them with mature restraint, letting the music and melancholy speak for itself.

At just 29 minutes this may seem short but it makes up for it in beauty, focus and intensity.

Well worth locating.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Bellydance (Rough Guide/Southbound)

As has been noted previously at Elsewhere, anyone interested in world music learns quickly to never judge an album by its cover. In many countries the cover is just the thing you wrap around the... > Read more

Planetary Coalition: Planetary Coalition (ArtistShare)

Planetary Coalition: Planetary Coalition (ArtistShare)

And here's what happens when a Californian thrash metaller -- in this case guitarist Alex Skolnick of Testament  --  turns the volume all the way up to . . . 5? Skolnick (who has... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Far North Queensland, Australia: The writing's on the wall

Far North Queensland, Australia: The writing's on the wall

If you're heading south on the Mulligan Highway from Cooktown in Australia's Far North and turn off onto Shiptons Flat Rd towards Lion's Den Hotel, chance are you're going to the Lion's Den... > Read more

House of Shem: Island Vibration (Isaac)

House of Shem: Island Vibration (Isaac)

If it's true, as I am told, this album went to number one on the New Zealand charts it confirms two things: in this part of the Pacific we love them familiar summertime reggae grooves; and also... > Read more