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Kitka & Hasmik Harutyunyan in Concert; Gorani: Love Songs to Lost Homelands

  • Oakland, CA / St. Vartan's Armenian Church 650 Spruce Street Oakland, CA United States (map)

One of Armenia's leading folk singers, Hasmik Harutyunyan is world-renowned for her work with Yerevan's Shoghaken Ensemble and for her mellifluous renditions of Armenian lullabies, one of the most ancient and evocative genres in Armenian music. Her quietly passionate interpretations of lullabies from historical villages across the Armenian plateau offer a mesmerizing glimpse at a lost world. Hasmik Harutyunyan draws strength and inspiration from her ancestors in the province of Mush in Historic Armenia, especially her grandmother, Mafo, who sang to her as a child. In addition to songs sung by her family, Hasmik learned many of the songs in her repertoire from elder women who had emigrated from Anatolia to eastern Armenia before or during the Armenian massacres and genocide of 1915, as well as from their descendants and old song collections.

Hasmik Harutyunyan's first "Armenian Lullabies" CD (Traditional Crossroads, 2004) was praised in a New York Times review as "The best Armenian recording worldwide". This concert celebrates the release of "Ororotsayin", Harutyunyan's new book and CD anthology of 57 more Historical Armenian lullabies, most never previously recorded. It also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Armenian monk, composer, and folk song collector/preserver, Komitas Vardapet.

Joining Hasmik Harutyunyan will be Kitka, an American women's vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Kitka has earned international recognition for its distinctive sound, exploring a vast palette of ancient yet contemporary-sounding vocal effects. The ensemble's earthy to ethereal timbres evoke an astonishing range of subtle to extreme inner states, instincts and emotions. Kitka's commitment to presenting traditional song as a living and evolving expressive art form has led to adventurous collaborations with some of the world's most exciting indigenous musicians and contemporary composers ranging from Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares to Meredith Monk. Currently celebrating its 40th season, Kitka began as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, and resonant strength of traditional Eastern European women's vocal music. Since its informal beginnings, the group has evolved into an award-winning touring ensemble known for its artistry, versatility and mastery of the demanding techniques of regional vocal styling, as well as for its innovative explorations in new music for women's voices. The ensemble's wide-ranging performance, teaching, and recording activities have exposed millions to the haunting beauty of their unique repertoire. (www.kitka.org)

For additional information about Hasmik Harutyunyan visit: http://www.road-to-armenia.com/hasmik/hasmik.html

Hasmik Hartutyunan's Bay Area residency is supported, in part, by grants from WESTAF Tour West and the City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program.