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From the Soil

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Album Review

When Djivan Gasparyan's music first came to the attention of westerners with the reissued masterpiece I Will No Longer Be Sad in This World on Brian Eno's Opel label in the 1980s, we heard a music so far out of time and space there was no reference for it, yet it immediately resonated deeply within the heart as a true expression of its deepest longings in flesh and spirit. Since that time, Gasparyan has issued a number of discs for various labels and collaborated with Peter Gabriel and Michel Brook. He dropped out of sight in the late '90s until Movses Panossian picked up the ball and began issuing his records again on the HMC label. From the Soil is the third. For fans of Gasparyan's doudouk, the 4,000-year-old music sounds as haunting and mournful as it probably did then. Gasparyan, other than recording in front of a microphone, has allowed no other production touches to adorn his music here; he is accompanied only by another doudouk playing a series of drone notes to add timbral space and dimension to his compositions, traditional songs, and improvisations. So constant is the "song" in his music and so deeply does it resonate within the listener that when the space between tracks appears, it feels almost like a fissure, a crack in time, space, and the material earth. This is truly music of the soil of Armenia and the sound of a tradition that somehow we are all part of being given back to us through this vibrating timbral tenderness that spans the external vistas of the continents and the internal landscapes of the soul.


Born: 1929 in Solag, Armenia

Genre: World

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The acknowledged master of the Armenian reed instrument known as the duduk, Djivan Gasparayan was born just outside of the nation's capital city of Yerevan, first picking up the instrument at age six. After joining the Tatool Altounian National Song and Dance Ensemble in 1948, his first professional engagement was as a soloist with the Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra; Gasparayan later went on tour extensively throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States, and in 1973 was the first...
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From the Soil, Djivan Gasparyan
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