Djivan Gasparyan

Djivan Gasparyan was born in Solag, a village just outside the capital city of Yerevan, Armenia. He began teaching himself the duduk at age six, gaining much of his knowledge by listening to the old masters. In 1948, he joined the Tatool Altounian National Song and Dance Ensemble and also had his first professional engagement as soloist with the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra. Gasparyan's duduk repertoire is primarily comprised of traditional Armenian folk songs though he has composed original songs based on the poetry of Vahan Derian.

 Gasparyan's other accomplishments include four Gold Medals awarded to him in the world-wide competitions organized by UNESCO. He has toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. In addition, Gasparyan is the only musician to be given the honorary title of People's Artist of Armenia which he received in 1973 from the Armenian Government.

 Gasparyan's exposure to western audiences escalated after the film sound-track of Peter Gabriel's The Last Temptation of Christ incorporated the duduk with classical-rock musical idioms. Since then, Gasparyan has provided the duduk soundtrack for the movie, The Russian House, and for the cable television production, Storm and Sorrow. In addition, Gasparyan has performed with the Kronos quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and in concerts sponsored by the World Music Institute in New York City. He is presented here performing Armenian folk songs and melodies from Armenia's ancient Pagan and Christian traditions.

 The duduk is a cylindrical wooden flute of Armenia. Western scholars trace its existence back 1500 years though Soviet Armenian musicologists have found evidence dating the instrument as far back as 1200 BC. It's range is only one octave, however, it requires considerable skill to play, its dynamics controlled by constantly adjusting the lips and fingers. It has eight finger holes and one thumb hole.

 In Armenia, the duduk is always made of apricot root and is built in three sizes. The smallest is 28 cm long, with a reed 9 cm long: the medium sized model is about 33 cm with a 12 cm reed: and the largest measures 40 cm with a 14 cm reed. The tuning is basically untempered and diatonic, though chromatic notes may be obtained by partially covering the finger holes. The instrument requires a specific type of double reed categorized as a split or slit-tube reed. In Armenian, the cane used to make the duduk reed is referred to as "ramish" or "yegheg" and grows abundantly along the Arax River.

 The duduk has a warm, soft, slightly nasal timbre and is used in both folk songs and dance music. At least two players are used together, the second instrument holding a tonic drone called the dam; its player is called the damkash.

 ==================================================================

Artist: Djivan Gasparyan (Armenia)

Djivan Gasparyan is unquestionably one of Armenia's greatest musicians, a living legend. He is the foremost virtuoso of the duduk, an oboe-like instrument dating back to Armenia's pre-Christian times that is made of apricot wood and capable of sustaining drone notes for long periods of time. The duduk's range is only one octave; however, it requires considerable skill to play - its dynamics are controlled by constantly adjusting the lips and fingers. The duduk has a warm, soft, slightly nasal timbre and is used in both folk songs and dance music. In the hands of the master musician the duduk becomes the vehicle for the haunting and meditative music that eloquently evokes the Armenian landscape and its people.

 Armenia's most famous folk musician was born in 1928 in Solag, a village near the Armenian capital Yerevan. He began to play the duduk at the age of six, gaining much of his knowledge by listening to the great masters. In 1948 he joined the Tatool Altounian National Song and Dance Ensemble and also had his first professional engagement as soloist with the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra. Djivan Gasparyan's duduk repertoire is primarily comprised of traditional Armenian folk songs. He is also an accomplished singer in the folk tradition and a composer. In addition to his original compositions and arrangements of traditional songs, he has written love songs based on the poetry of Vahan Derian.

 Gasparyan won Gold Medals in four worldwide competitions organised by UNESCO in which he competed (1959, 1962, 1973 and 1980). He has the unique distinction of being the only musician to be given the honorary title of People's Artist of Armenia, which he received in 1973 from the Armenian Government. A professor at the Yerevan Conservatory, he has prepared over 70 duduk musicians for professional performance. He greatly enjoys teaching and it brings him joy to know that, through his efforts, the tradition of duduk playing will not be lost.

 Gasparyan has toured Europe, Asia and the Middle East. In the USA he has performed extensively in New York and Los Angeles, where he appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and has since received exposure to Western audiences via performances with the Kronos Quartet. His recording of a selection of Armenian folk songs and ballads entitled I Will Not Be Sad In This World (All Saints, 1989), dedicated to the victims of the Armenian earthquake, has received worldwide recognition. He has collaborated with Lional Richie and Peter Gabriel and has recorded soundtracks for the movies The Russian House and The Crow and Atom Egoyan's film Calendar, as well as for the American Hungarian cable television co-production Storm and Srrow.

Courtesy of WOMAD

 

 

 

 

 

Hosted by uCoz