Douduk: The Sound of Armenia
"Douduk: The Sound of Armenia" was released on Jun 15, 2004 on the Naxos World label.
From the liner notes:
"Armenian folk-music has come down to us from ancient times, continually influenced by and influencing the musical cultures of other Middle Eastern peoples...
The art of the gusans and ashugs, medieval Oriental minstrels, played an important role in the development of (this) folklore. They used a variety of musical instruments: string-bow (kamancha and bambir), string-pizzicato (tar, saz, kanoon), wind (sring, zourna, douduk) and percussion (dhol, tmbuk).
The music itself is fundamentally monophonic. Musical intevals are based on diatonic scale, like the old Greek modes as well as non-diatonic mugam intervals. Rhythmically, Armenian music is very free; one can hear metical changes, asymmetric rhythms (5/8, 7/8, etc) and syncopations.
The whole of the Middle East has for a long time expressed itself in dialects of one and the same musical language, using very similar instruments. But at the same time each nation has its primordial, main instrument, the living essence of the soul. One of them is the douduk: it is the quintessential Armenian instrument.
The origins of the douduk predate Persian-Arabic traditions...The douduk has its own special voice, of inimitable beauty: soft, with a slightly nasal timbre... (and) has a 1500-year-old history and is considered the most "Armenian" of all folk instruments.
The douduk is a cyclindrical instrument made of apricot wood, typically 28, 33, or 40 cm in length. It has eight or nine finger holes and one thumb hole which together provide a range of one octave. The double reed, also known as ramish or yegheg in Armenian, is typically 9-14cm in length and surrounded by a thin flexible wood binding that slides along the length of the reed. This binding is used for tuning the douduk by controlling the opening and closing of the reed. The reed itself grows plentifully along the Arax River in Armenia...
In the life of the people, the douduk is heard as often at wedding and other cheerful celebrations as at solemn occasions such as funerals. For dances, the rhythmic music of the douduk usually involves one of two other douduks, as well as the dhol. It is equally effective as a solo or ensemble instrument. The child of an ancient pagan culture, the douduk has survived, in the manner of an old proverb, captivating with its simplicity and tonal beauty...
Having kept its expressive empathy with the human soul,the douduk has now become an instrument of the world. The soulful sound of the douduk was recently in the world music spotlight thanks to musical artist Peter Gabriel. Gabriel has integrated the douduk into several recordings including the soundtrack to "The Last Temptation of Christ". Armenian douduk master Djivan Gasparyan has also recently recorded with guitarist Michael Brooks for the Hollywood blockbuster "Gladiator". I am sure we'll hear its mellow, feminine voice in new and unexpected contexts."
A performance of the Armenian folk song "Sari sirun yar" which appears on album:
Armenian artist Sirusho performing a pop version of "Ser, im sirun es", which appears on the album:
Armenian songstress Nune Yesayan ft. douduk master on Djivan Gasparyan on "Dle Yaman":
Douduk player Gevorg Dabaghyan performing his jazz-tinged composition "Anurjner":
A tribute to douduk virtuoso Vache Hovsepyan, ft. an excerpt from "The Last Temptation of Christ":
More from the master, Djivan Gasparyan--performing live in 2007: