Harout PamboukjianView in iTunes
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Gifted with an ultra-smooth vocal range, Harout Pamboukjian has taken the music of Armenia to the international stage. According to the L.A. Weekly, Pamboukjian's "husky tenor has a softness that coos and quivers when he does the syrupy love songs with sweeping keyboards that sound as if they're aching along with him." The son of a vocalist, Pamboukjian studied guitar, bouzouki, saz, dhol, and piano as a teen. As the leader of a band, Erebouni, he traveled throughout his homeland performing pop tunes at weddings and universities. The struggles of living under communist rule, however, resulted in Pamboukjian leaving Armenia in 1975. After residing in Lebanon for a year, he continued to the United States and settled in Los Angeles. It took little time for him to resume his career. Within two months, he had recorded his debut album, Our Eyir Asivats (Where Were You, God?). Pamboukjian has been embraced by Los Angeles' Armenian community, the largest Armenian diaspora in the world. After building an audience with his weekly performances at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, he continued to hone his skills at Armenian engagement parties, baptism, weddings, and dinner dances. While the traditional music of Armenia continues to be the foundation for his repertoire, Pamboukjian has taken a modern approach to his music. Instead of the somber tones of the double reed duduk, he's framed his music in a swirl of clarinets, organ, and bass. In a mid-'90s interview, he explained, "The real sound is lost. If you're going to do something Armenian, do it right. Our music and poetry are so rich; there are songs written hundreds of years ago that are still untouched. Go and find them, take them, and make them your own." ~ Craig Harris