Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Sound of Beauty, Strength and Melancholy. The Duduk.

"Still-Life with Armenian Musical Instruments Duduk Thar and Qyamancha" by Meruzhan Khachatryan

I left Artsakh with a piece of music running through my head - it's been continuously looping in my hours for days now!  It's because of an instrument that I was introduced a few days ago when I was in Garni.

Walking towards Garni Temple, I heard the melancholic strains of a musical instrument that I had never heard before. It was such a beautiful sound, I literally stopped walking to listen to it.  I asked Arshak what produced the sounds and he told me that the instrument was a duduk.  I had never heard of the instrument before so I did some reading on Wikipedia.  It's a 3,000 year old woodwind instrument that is indigenous to Armenia and it produces such a rich sound that gives me chills every time I listen to it being played.

The melody, I heard at Garni, one that is instantly recognizable but with the rendition with the duduk sounds even sadder than when it was sung by Céline Dion.  Here it is the breathtaking rendition as performed by Djivan Gasparyan, a master of the duduk.


Gasparyan also plays the duduk on a hauntingly beautiful song on the soundtrack of the movie, Gladiator that was composed by Hans Zimmer.  I literally get goosebumps each time I hear this song.  At times, it sound so gentle yet there is a palpable feeling of pain, sorrow and suffering.  You want to cry just hearing the music. 


Today, Gurgen played a CD and immediately, I recognized the distinctive musical tone of the duduk.  I fell in love with the song and had Gurgen play it several times.  The song is titled, "Artsakh", the album is called, "Ani" and the performer is Ara Gevorgian.  The tune is bold and strong - very appropriate for Artsakh.  Fast forward to  the 4:00 minute mark to here the duduk solo.


I may not have heard of the duduk until just a few days ago but it is a celebrated instrument beyond the boundaries of Armenia.  In this video, a Venezuelan duduk player by the name of Pedro Eustache performs a magnificent piece along and Armenian violinist named Samvel Yervinyan.  This is in performance with Yanni.  Eustache may not be Armenian but he really does do the duduk justice.


To say that I am obsessed with the duduk is an understatement.  I would love to write more about the duduk but I'd rather just go off and listen to some music.

Update April 28:  Today, Gurgen gifted Pat and I the Ani CD by Ara Gevorgian.  I can now feed my duduk craving as often as I need to :-)  Thank you Gurgen!