If you want to learn more about contemporary Armenian Music, you could hardly avoid Karen Asatrian and his group "THE ARMENIAN SPIRIT". His tunes tap the potential of Armenia's soulful folklore. Combining it with jazz and elements of classical music he creates an oeuvre of "avantgarde-falk-jazz".
This encounter of "old" and "new" doesn't create a universal musical hotchpot, but open an access to surprising musical world in-between, without denying the Armenian roots. Asatrian demonstrates his incessant prospection of the historical roots of his personal and of Armenia's identity, which boosts his creativity. Thus tradition becomes modern again: Asatrian doesn't see Armenia's musical tradition as a museum piece, but uses it to develop new as well as unique worlds of sound.
"We Armenians are scattered all over the world. Actually, we are home everywhere" says Karen Asatrian, the band-leader and mastermind of "The Armenian Spirit". "My music is to pass on the vitality and zest for life, which are inherent to us as Armenians" - he and his congenial musicians are successful in doing so. The said synthesis of contemporary jazz and Armenian folk music will transform a concert to a journey of discovery into new worlds of sound, which include oriental as well as occidental elements.
The provenance of the band's members from different corners of the world (Armenia, Iraq, Croatia and Austria) contributes to the band's success. They appear to be of spiritual kinship - otherwise it would be difficult to understand the harmonies of these melancholic as well as joyful tunes.
This unique ensemble is underpinned by a powerful rhythm and by the punchy voice of Rita Movsesian, the singer of Armenian-Iraqi background. She sings of joy and humanity, but also of grief and desire. She is familiar with oriental as well as Western sound scales, and you feel it. That gets under your skin. Punchy and tender at the same time - that's the music of "The ARMENIAN SPIRIT". Learn - and hear - more about Karen Asatrian and his projects here.