HOMAGE: A Tribute to Detroit Armenian Musicians
Homage features the Ara Topouzian Quartet live in concert recorded at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History as part of ArtX Detroit. Homage features a collection of traditional Armenian dance music. Ara Topouzian on kanun (76-stringed harp) leads the group including master musicians Mal Barsamian on oud (11-stringed lute), Leon Janikian on clarinet and Mike Shimmin on percussion.
Harmonic Classics is a compilation album of over seventy minutes of some of the finest music produced by American Recording Productions. This album features George Mgrdichian, Mal Barsamian, Ara Topouzian, Joe Zeytoonian and dozens artists that represent the Armenian and Middle Eastern music community.
Full Circle represents a collaboration of Joe Zeytoonian, Dick Barsamian, and Ara Topouzian. The instrumentation includes kanun, two ouds, and various middle eastern percussion permuted in ways that highlight each player’s voice. Vignettes of Middle Eastern and Armenian folk idioms are woven into a sonorous fabric. Parallel lines diverge and become parallel again, transporting the listener on a journey east.
Eastern Winds soar gracefully over the music of Armenia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The collection of pieces offers a faithful representation of traditional melodies with specifics origins, yet the innovative treatment and original arrangement of the material is a testament to the universality of the music. Musicians include: Ara Topouzian (kanun, clarinet, lead vocal on Hey Valla), Ben Temkow (violin, acoustic guitar, lead vocal on Erinaki), Doug Shimmin (acoustic guitar, bouzouki, bass,background vocals), and Mark Sawasky (percussion, background vocals)
Live from Detroit: Ara Topouzian Ensemble
Recorded in Detroit, Michigan, this entirely live recording represents traditional Armenian and Middle Eastern music performed at an Armenian American event held in 1999. The featured performer of the group is Leon Janikian on clarinet, along with Ara Topouzian on kanun. Other musicians on this DOUBLE CD are Dick Barsamian on oud, Jay Baronian on dumbeg/ vocals, Ken Kalajian on guitar, and Stepan Megerdichian on bass.
Near Eastern Ride
Ara Topouzian, Dick Barsamian and other superb Armenian musicians have, in their latest recording, Near Eastern Ride, surpassed the expectations of even the most discriminating listener. They have integrated their unique talents to create a collection of traditional Armenian songs / dances that make you jump up and dance. Each piece is a musical gem that, in its own distinct way, reflects the brilliance of the ensemble, so savor this album; kick-back, turn up the volume and take the ride…
The ensemble, lead by kanun player Ara Topouzian, consists of some of the finest Armenian musicians today. This recording features traditional Armenian and Middle Eastern dance songs that were brought to the United States by immigrant musicians. John Harotian preserves the folk sound of the clarinet with his improvisational tones. Bruce Gigarjian and Stepan Megerdichian provide the rhythmic sounds necessary for this recording. Oudist, Dick Barsamian displays his talents as one of the lead musicians, providing the drive for the ensemble. Jay Baronian on dumbeg displays the Middle Eastern percussion sounds that are essential to this type of recording. He also the vocalist. Special guest artist George Stringos can be heard on the Greek Medley track playing the Greek bouzouki.
Chick Ganimian LIVE
Charles ‘Chick’ Ganimian was an Armenian-American musician known mostly for playing the oud. His oud style was unique and he was known for playing Turkish, Armenian, and Arabic music in the “kef” (party) style of the Armenian immigrants from Turkey to the US. He played at Armenian-American dance parties as well as belly dance shows in the Manhattan ethnic nightclubs and elsewhere. The basic repertoire he used throughout his career was molded by the music he heard and learned in his youth. This CD is the only recording available to include this legendary oud player. Famous for his unique singing and style on the oud, Ganimian is presented here in a rare form – recorded live at Cape Cod, MA during a Kef weekend.
Ara Topouzian and Dick Barsamian come together to demonstrate their skills on the oud and kanun presenting a collection of classic Armenian folk songs for your listening pleasure. This is the first time two musicians have come together to create a ‘concert’ of songs for one’s listening enjoyment. Each song is of a traditional background, with original arranging by both Dick and Ara. An excellent album for all occasions! Portions of this album appeared in the PBS documentary ‘The Armenian Americans’, which debuted in New York on March 22, 2000.
For The Children of Armenia
Originally produced as a fund raising tool for the Armenian Relief Society and their prenatal clinic in Armenia, this recording has been rated number one at Amazon.com. Featuring Ara Topouzian, Mark Gavoor and Tom Zakarian, this recording contains Armenian folk instrumental music. This CD has become one of ARP’s most popular sellers.
Whispers of Ellis Island
Over 100 million Americans trace their ancestry through a passage of Ellis Island, New York. In the beginning of the 20th century, the island became synonymous with freedom for waves of immigrants fleeing Europe and Asia Minor because of oppression and war. Armenians escaped ethnic cleansing and genocide from Ottoman Turkey in 1915. The American immigrant Wall of Honor lists the names, cities, and villages of these brave souls. This recording is dedicated to these people. Including some of the most beautiful Armenian music ever heard from Joe Zeytoonian on oud, jumbush, and various percussion and Ara Topouzian on kanun percussion.
Faces of Bravery
Faces of Bravery is dedicated to the thousands of children that have been saved by the Nork Marash Medical Center in Yerevan, Armenia. Their bravery of facing life-threatening surgery at such a youthful age is truly remarkable. Armenian folk music has been part of the lives of Topouzian, Gavoor, and Krepelka for many years. The passion of playing the different ethnic instruments combined with the great sense of pride in playing this music has made such recordings simple and pleasurable. The music performed on this recording will include traditional Armenian folk songs that were composed both the Western and Eastern Armenian tradition. The songs represent the joy and sadness of the Armenian people. Several songs will be recognizable to the Armenians living throughout the Diaspora.
George Mgrdichian: American Oud Master
He was not born into a family of musicians. Yet music filled his life and dreams ever since he was a young teen. Over his lifetime, George Mgrdichian did a lot more than dream about music. He became an acclaimed musician on the Oud (a Middle Eastern lute), leaving behind a rich legacy, highlighted by numerous recordings, hundreds of solo and collaborative performances all over the U.S. , including off Broadway, and with a variety of well-known jazz artists. Upon his passing, in 2006, at age 71 due to cancer, George’s illustrious career had become an inspiration and a beacon for other aspiring musicians. This production includes many rare and never-before-heard audio performed by Mgrdichian. Also included is an 8-page biography with photos and drawings from Mgrdichian’s personal collection.
Echo of the Mountains
Yeghish Manoukian is one of the most prominent Armenian duduk players in the world today. Recorded live in Detroit, MI, this unique recording includes his group of musicians. Professionaly trained artists perform on the duduk, kanun, shvi and davoul. Special vocal appearances from the youthful sounds of Gagik Badalian and Hovannes Shahbazian are also included. Favorite folk and dance songs are included on this album. If you have not journeyed to Armenia, hear the next best thing. These musicians are remarkable and have rarely been heard performing authentic Armenian folk songs in this special combination!
Featuring: Yeghish Manoukian (duduk), Norik Manoukian (shvi), Henrik Avoyan (dhol), Gregory Beylerian (dam Duduk), Armen Stepanian (duduk)
The duduk has its origin in Armenia. This wind-blown instrument has an exceptionally large double reed, and has a human-like mellow tone.
Manoukian is highly regarded as one of the top duduk players in Armenia and the United States. Music heard on this recording consists of compositions by Sayat Nova and Komitas.
Armen Stepanyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia in 1962. His entire family is comprised of accomplished musicians and teachers. In 1970, Stepanyan began his musical tutelage in the piano department of the Haykanush Danieylyan School of Music. Ten years later he entered the prestigious Komitas State Conservatory, specializing on the Armenian duduk. In 1985, after graduating with honors, Stepanyan went on to his master’s degree for Armenian music. Since 1988, Stepanyan has been teaching in the folk instrument department of the Komitas State Conservatory, occasionally traveling throughout the world performing the Armenian duduk. Stepanyan currently resides in his birthplace of Armenia.