Armenian traditional folk songs
A Kerovpyan trio from the Kotchnak Ensemble (France)
Virginia Kerovpyan, vocals;
Aram Kerovpyan, kanoun;
Vahan Kerovpyan, percussion.
This concert is dedicated to the collectors of Armenian folk music, personified by Father Komitas, on this 150th anniversary of his birth.
It is also dedicated to those who preceded him and those who continued this work, even until today.
About the Kotchnak Ensemble
Armenian folk song finds its source in the peasant’s experiences with nature and community. It is the affirmation of his existence through an artistic expression. In time, the song is spread and transformed, losing the stamp of the individual who created it, and becoming a folk song. This process occurs when the song has an immediate link with the lives and feelings of other individuals. If this link doesn’t exist, the song dies.
The musical structure of the folk song is in close harmony with the text. Using few words, yet words with multiple meanings, the peasant describes his inner and outer world with the depth of his verses. This depth is animated by a simple, sometimes exceedingly simple, but always refined melody.
Armenian folk music, with all of its melodic simplicity, remains the expression of man united with nature. This simplicity represents at the same time a complex system, like nature itself.
The Kotchnak Ensemble, formed in 1980 in Paris, is specialized in Armenian folk and troubadour music. Its work is based both on tradition and the research carried out by its members. The tradition being perpetual recreation by means of improvisation, each performance is a unique moment.
About the Performers
Aram Kerovpyan was born in 1953 in Istanbul, Turkey. He has lived in Paris since 1977. He is co-founder of the Ensemble Kotchnak, founder and director of the Centre for Armenian Modal Chant Studies of Paris and the Ensemble Akn, and, since 1990, Master-singer of the Armenian Cathedral of Paris. He holds a PhD degree in musicology. He has published several books and articles on Armenian modal music, History of the Armenian church singing and its transmission system. He directs workshops of Armenian modal chant with Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan, and works regularly as a concert artist and in theater.
Virginia Pattie Kerovpyan was born in Washington, D.C. and moved to Paris in the 1970’s. She has performed and recorded with various early music ensembles, as well as contemporary music. Soloist of the Kotchnak and Akn ensembles, she has specialized in Armenian song since 1980. Her interpretation brings to the forefront the essence of this music making its discovery and transmission more accessible.
Vahan Kerovpyan was born in 1985 in Paris. He is musician, instrumentalist and composer, and plays percussion and piano since childhood. For several years he followed courses of dehol with Edmond Zartarian, also zarb and dap with Madjid Khaladj. He is a member of the Akn choir and the Kotchnak ensemble since 2003 and a musician of the Medz Bazar collective, formed in Paris in 2012. He collaborates with theater and dance artists, composing music for performances, also playing and singing with them on stage. He also leads rythym workshops for children and for adults.