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: Brazil 70: After Tropicalia (Soul Jazz)

Various: Brazil 70: After Tropicalia (Soul Jazz)

The earlier Tropicalia collection of revolutionary Brazilian music from 1968 posted some months ago (see tag) will set you up for this excellent 19 track compilation subtitled "New Directions... > Read more

Goran Bregovic: Champagne for Gypsies (Cartel!)

Goran Bregovic: Champagne for Gypsies (Cartel!)

If everything on this album were as flat-tack as the boisterous opener with guests the Gypsy Kings, then you'd be breathless well before the midpoint. And, just a guess here, when Bregovic and His... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . Lizzy Mercier Descloux

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . Lizzy Mercier Descloux

So who was it rocked into downtown New York in the mid Seventies with her head full of Rimbaud? Who fell in with the CBGB crowd, had Richard Hell as a partner who saw her as his muse, and whose... > Read more

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

When Justin Bieber seemingly appeared out of nowhere to the soundtrack of cute r'n'b pop and screaming girls, people who should have known better -- especially those media commentators who had been... > Read more